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Catan» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review: Still fun after ten plays? My pros and cons rss

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Olaf Slomp
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Did this game need another review? Probably not. But my list of reviews would not be complete without a review of this long loved game.

Even though long extensive reviews seem te be the most popular reviews on BGG, I myself just don't have the time or the patience to read those.
I prefer quick overviews where I can get some insights into why this game may or may not be attractive to me.
My reviews are targeted at a similar audience, and just consist of my pros and cons coming from:
1) First impressions (before playing my first game)
2) Impressions after the first game
3) Current feelings (after at least 10 plays)

First impressions:
+ When a fellow student invited me to go play this at his house in my last year of college (all the way back in 1996), I was not sure what to expect. Before this, I used to think games existed in two categories:
1. Mass market games - can provide some fun, but nothing interesting if you like using your brain
2. Complicated games with a lot of rules, that I liked a lot, but were too complex to bring out to noobs and take hours to play (games like Civilization, Warhammer or Silent Death).
+ The trading of resources rule in this game reminded me of the trading in Civilization, which is a fun mechanic and made it sound more interesting to me than “just another mass market game with dice”
+ The game looked great on the table. Modular board... interesting! I was happy to give it a try

Impressions after the first game:
+ Setup and rules explanation took little time
+ I really enjoyed that! Here was a game that didn’t have a thick rulebook and was playable in a relatively short amount of time, and still offered a fun and challenging gaming experience. We even managed to get a second play in right away.
+ Plenty of interesting decisions to make, it definitly surpassed my expectations
+ I like that the mechanics fit with the theme, I am settling this island!

Current feelings (10 plays logged, but many more played before I started logging my games here):
+ The dice add a luck factor to the game, but the large number of dice rolls make it average out pretty OK, and if somebody does get a bit lucky the others normally will restore the balance by ganging up on him
- Dice are dice, though, and every now and then somebody will have a big series of lucky or unlucky dice rolls (making that 12 look really good or that 8 look worthless), I’m usually ok with this, but it can get frustrating at times
- A bad starting position or series of unlucky dice rolls at the start of the game can put you too far behind to have a chance at all (new players may need some advise as to where to place their first villages, to prevent them from having no chance at winning)
+ If you get your engine going, though, there is little stopping you (I would argue this is an engine building game, although it is not listed as such on BGG) - villages and cities produce goods, which you use to buy more villages and cities, and the winner is usually the one who can get that escalating the fastest
+ Well, that and trading. Trading is an important part of the game, and can make a big difference. I have seen people that thought it was a simple game light up once they realized they can make trades other than just “one for one”
+ The base game is good, but if you want more, there is a heap of expansions available, ranging from commonly available expansions like Catan: Seafarers to obscure variants like Catan Länderszenarien: Rickshaw Run
- Too bad it doesn’t work as a two player game, as that would have given me more opportunities to play this in the last twenty years

End conclusion (well, for now):
This is my gateway game. Not that it got me into gaming, but it introduced me to euro games, which have been a huge part of my hobby ever since.
I burnt out on this for a while, having played this A LOT between 1995 and 2005, but have played some games in the last couple of years and am enjoying it again (adding in some expansions helped to give it a fresh feel). Also have started introducing it to my kids now.
I think this had stood the test of time very well. It has held a solid place in my collection for 20 years now.
I would say it’s great to start new gamers with this game, but I havn’t met anybody that hasn’t played Settlers in a long time (well, other than my kids, but they learned gaming before I taught them Settlers).




If you'd like to read more of my reviews, check out Still fun after ten plays? - All reviews
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John Burt
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Quote:
but I havn’t met anybody that hasn’t played Settlers in a long time


Did you get your double negatives wrong here? Catan seems like a game that a lot of people enjoy at first and then move on to other things (i. e., a classic gateway), so there are probably plenty of gamers who "haven't played Settlers in a long time".

 
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Désirée Greverud
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quill65 wrote:
Quote:
but I havn’t met anybody that hasn’t played Settlers in a long time


Did you get your double negatives wrong here? Catan seems like a game that a lot of people enjoy at first and then move on to other things (i. e., a classic gateway), so there are probably plenty of gamers who "haven't played Settlers in a long time".

the "in a long time" clause relates to "I haven't met anybody"

so it's been a long time since he met anyone that hasn't played Catan
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Lance Harrop
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I'm not sure I can value the review of a player who has only played less than 250 time whistle
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Olaf Slomp
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DragonsDream wrote:
quill65 wrote:
Quote:
but I havn’t met anybody that hasn’t played Settlers in a long time


Did you get your double negatives wrong here? Catan seems like a game that a lot of people enjoy at first and then move on to other things (i. e., a classic gateway), so there are probably plenty of gamers who "haven't played Settlers in a long time".

the "in a long time" clause relates to "I haven't met anybody"

so it's been a long time since he met anyone that hasn't played Catan


Correct, but I can see why that sentence was a bit confusing as I wrote it.
 
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Mister P
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Catan hits the table a lot around my place because of its accessibility. I tend to be able to get people to enjoy Catan but struggle to take them further into the board game wormhole. When I think about what I’d rather play it’s always a different game but usually, once the game is on I enjoy it.

I fell in love with Cities & Knights, then came to hate it because it seemed to drag the game on. I realised Cities & Knights is too much at 5/6 players but nice at 3/4.
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Andrew Lawrence
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I like this game, but I prefer it with the support cards that came in the Star Trek version (I believe there is also a German language mini expansion with the support cards for the base game). For experienced players it really adds quite a bit and allows even more mitigation of the dice. Though I think most of the mitigation I've learned in the game comes in without them, from simply adding diversity of numbers into the calculation of what spots to settle.

Only problem is, since I have the Star Trek version, I don't have access to a overwhelming majority of the expansion content.
 
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Phil Hannay
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HallowedOri wrote:
I like this game, but I prefer it with the support cards that came in the Star Trek version (I believe there is also a German language mini expansion with the support cards for the base game).


These are available to buy cheaply in English, eg https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mayfair-Catan-Scenario-Helpers/dp/B... on Amazon UK
or for print and play in the files section of Catan Scenarios: Helpers of Catan

I've used them a couple of times, but they don't work with C&K, which is my preferred way to play.
 
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