I want to preface by saying this is somewhat of a session report but more of a review of the game towards the end...so skip to the end if you don't want to read through it all
It took me a long time before finally purchasing this game.. but I was looking for a two player game that was more involved and finally decided to jump the gun and get it. I, probably like many others, got this because I enjoy Settlers and was looking for something for two people.
On my first game, it seemed to last forever, and it was just a race for resources to build whatever we could to get more VPs. And we decided to play only to ten. So when I reached the points before my friend, she said "NO! Let's go to 12!!" So I said "Okay why not?" Well, the game ended with 11-12. Me being the winner of course
But our initial thoughts on the game were that it was too long.. complicated.. etc. It is overwhelming at first because there are so many cards, and to set up, and it's very different from actual Settlers of Catan in terms of gameplay because a lot of it ends up being based on your buildings.
My friend seemed to hate it for this, because she is a light gamer. I thought it was decent..it probably wouldn't be something that would get pulled out a lot.
A few days later, we decided to play again. This time, the game went much quicker with a little more strategy in my opinion because this time we were more familiar with the cards. The game went by significantly faster and didn't feel so dragged down. But even so, I keep looking back to the rule book because I think I am missing some of the gameplay mechanics.
This leads me to conclude that perhaps people don't like it because it does take a long time, especially the first go around, there aren't any particular strategies you can pick out, as opposed to other games, like the original Settlers, where you could go for more oftenly rolled numbers, etc. It takes awhile to be more familiar with all the cards, but once you've got that down the game itself is very enjoyable! So I just want to suggest trying to give it another go if you didn't enjoy it so much the first time.
The game itself is very nicely done. The graphics are really nice and the mechanics work well (with the resource counting) which I thought was a clever mechanism. It can be confusing at first but you just need to keep track of what you have turned first.. and your partner's!! I also really like the wooden components of the game. The only thing I wish Mayfair did was make these cards w/ linen finish..which would last longer, especially since the resource cards get a lot of use b/c of the turning mechanism, but hey, at ~15$ it's a great buy and definitely worth a try.
8/10--in short: a worthwhile and involved two player game that is fun for two players, whose victory still feels very rewarding and losing isn't so bad!
I really enjoyed this game a lot when I bought it 10 years ago. But with games like Race for the Galaxy, Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization and Caylus Magna Carta, it's hard to get the Settlers Card Game to the table in our house. I think my wife and I just grew into heavier games. It's a shame, I like the feel and the look of this game, and there are lots of great ideas in there, but unfortunately they were only thought half way through. Well, at least the box can be used as a nice looking dust collector