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The Settlers of Catan - MayFair Games

Posted by Linda | 6:01 AM

The Settlers of Catan - When you first open Catan game, you may be a little underwhelmed by the prevalence of cardboard pieces (I wish there was a more durable wood version of the board tiles) and the seemingly complicated rule book. I admit, there were a few minor questions it didn't answer that I had to go to the website to figure out from the Q&A section.

With that being said: Never fear! The positives far outweigh those criticisms.

The rule book covers all of the basics you'll need to know to start playing, and, after giving it a good read through, you should be ready to play, even if only one person has the time to read it. Everyone I've played with learns quickly from my basic description of the rules and picks up the rest naturally and intuitively throughout the game.

For some reason, the new person to play The Settlers of Catan game always seems to win in the games I play. Perhaps that speaks poorly of my Catan skills, but, on a positive note, it has contributed greatly to the game's popularity with my friends. You can use a suggested set-up for new players and then after a game or two you can try more advanced set ups... that is a random set up of the board. The coolest thing about Catan is simply that unlike Monopoly the board changes every time you play if you set up the tiles randomly (see the above illustration provided by Amazon). It makes each game challenging and unique and fun to play.

Warning, the game can be a little cutthroat as you vie with other players to occupy the best areas of the board and as you use the "robber" piece to steal cards from other players. Still, everyone's had fun with it and there are ways to adjust the game to make it suitable for kids to play too without hurt feelings.

The Settlers of Catan is the first "Euro" style strategy game I have ever played and I already think it is much better than Risk, though I'd still give "Diplomacy" the edge in terms of my favorite strategy board game. This game is hands down better than your typical American game, from Monopoly to Life, and a nice change of pace from the games that seem to be most popular with the 20s crowd these days: Cranium, Scene-It, and Banagrams.

Also, you can play The Settlers of Catan game with two players as there is an official variant designed by Klaus Teber himself available online with some searching. Still, I'd recommend playing with 3-4 if at all possible because the two player version is not as interactive in that the voluntary trading phase of each player's turn doesn't exist and is replaced by a forced trading mechanism using tokens.

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