Catan (Settlers Of Catan)
Strategic Depth - Beginnner
Setup Time - 10 mins.
Play Time - 45 - 60 mins.
Players - 3 to 4 (Best with 4)
Mechanics - Hand Management, Trading, Navigation
Production Info - 1995 | KOSMOS | Kalus Teuber
You and your people have started a colony on an island named Catan. Unfortunately, you are not the only group who has discovered this fruitful island. You must work fast to establish settlements across Catan's many terrains and strategically seek out a combination of resources that will allow your colony to flourish. Be careful not to hoard too many resources though, as there are thieves who will seek out colonies with lot's of resources. Ultimately, the leader who can build, trade, and gather resources the most efficiently will grow his/her clan to rule Catan.
- The Good -
Great Intro to The Euro Genre
Euro games consist of play where players are each creating their own figurative "engine" that whose output will grow throughout the game and eventually generate enough points to win. This is a more passive style of gameplay in comparison to a lot of other games where you are directly attacking and killing off your opponents.
Catan is a great introduction into this style of gameplay as it has a little bit of luck (dice rolling), engine building, navigation, negotiation, and resource management mechanics. Combinations of all of these mechanics are used in Euro games with varying levels of difficutly, but Settlers of Catan does a great job of incorporating them all with without the complexity that might cause new players to give up.
Your Strategy Can't Always Be The Same
What keeps Settler's of Catan interesting in my mind is your game strategy can be influenced by a number of different factors including the setup of the board, where you start, and how you are able to negotiate with the other players.
You first game strategy might have you working towards building the Largest Army bonus as a way to obtain victory, while your next game strategy might rely on you trying to collect as much wood as you can to take advantage of a 2:1 wood trading port. The fact that you are always needing to analyze what your most opportune strategy will be each and every game, keeps even veteran players intellectually challenged at times.
- The Bad -
Sometimes Luck Isn't On Your Side
The one thing I hate about games that incorporate dice, is that sometimes Lady Luck is not going your way. There can be games where one player is going through round after round not receiving any resources, and that can be demoralizing because it hinders you from doing anything. It is also heartbreaking because sometimes that player can realize early one that they have no chance at winning the game but end up having to go through the motion anyways.
I'll just say that your starting two settlements are probably the most important strategic part of the game. So make sure you emphasize the importance to secure high yielding landing and diversify what resources you are bringing in!
Modular Board Is A Pain!
My largest complaint about this game has nothing to do with the gameplay, rather how the board is constructed. The boards frame and the hexes that fit inside it are all made of cardboard. Unfortunately, the pieces don't fit inside the frame very well and usually pop out or are uneven causing a mess. Also, over time your board pieces will warp and add even more frustration to setting up the game. I wish Catan would have upgraded the card stock thickness for the board to make it more durable. My solve for this since I have loved playing this game for so long has been to purchase a wooden hex holder which cuts the setup time in half and also allows for a much more stable board to play on.
Lack of Strategic Depth
When you really get into Euro Games it will become very evident that from a complexity standpoint, Catan becomes a very basic game. While Settlers of Catan is a great game to introduce to all types of skill level, if you enjoy more advanced gameplay, you are going to figure out the overarching strategies of Catan fairly easily and may grow tired of this game due to the lack of strategic depth.
- Overall -
Definitely Need In Your Collection!
Settlers of Catan is indeed a classic and allowed the genre of Euro games to grow exponentially into what it is today. Catan is a perfect game to introduce folks new to board gaming and gives a diverse taste of a variety of different game mechanics (engine building, navigation, negotiation, resource management, etc...). Not only is there strategic thinking that goes into playing this game, there is also strategic interactions (mind games if you will) that can play a vital part in contributing to a victory...and may contribute to a quarrel or two after the game has ended.
While Settlers of Catan is not going to scratch a more advanced euro gamer's itch, in my opinion it is a must have game for your collection as it is a very easy Euro Game to teach others who are new to the board game hobby.
GAME PLAY REFRESHER
The following rules are meant to be a high-level reminder of how to play this game. If this is your first time playing, we highly recommend that you read your board game's included rule book which will go into much more depth. You can download a digital PDF copy of the official rules by clicking the button below.
- Setup -
- Randomly place hexes within the board frame
- Place number tokens on each hex (excluding the dessert hex) in alphabetical order
- Place Robber on dessert hex
- Role to decide who goes first
- The first person lays down a settlement and a road connecting to it and then it's the next person's turn
- The last person places two settlements and a road connected to each settlement then the second settlement for each player gets laid working back to the first player
- Pick up resource cards that correspond with each hex terrain touching your last constructed settlement
- Game Play -
To start a turn, you must roll two die to see which hex tile(s) will produce resources for that turn. Each player who has a settlement or a city built that touches a hex producing resources gets either 1 (for a settlement) or 2 (for a city) corresponding resource cards.
If a Seven is Rolled:
- If any player has more than 7 cards, the player must get rid of half, rounding down (ie if you have 9, you get rid of 4)
- The Robber must be moved to a different hex tile. If the robber is moved to a hex tile with a building touching it, the player may choose one of the buildings and randomly take one of the owner's resource cards.
Trading With Others
After resources have been produced the person whose turn it is can begin negotiating trades for resources (if he/she so chooses). There are no rules for trades, so you can be as creative as you would like.
- Any player can turn in four of the same resource for any other resource during their turn (ie submit 4 sheep for 1 ore).
- Players can also utilize ports they have buildings on to convert resources. For example the 2:1 wood port would allow you to submit 2 wood resources for another resource of your choosing.
Building/Purchasing Development Cards
Finally, you can turn in your resource cards to build roads, settlements, or cities. You can also purchase Development cards which may provide you with Knights, Monopolies, free roads, or victory points.
Buildings that are built must be separated by two road lengths and must be connected to roads you have built.
If you purchase a Development Card you cannot play it until your next turn. All Development Cards providing you with additional victory points are kept secret and are not played until the end of the game.
- End Of Game -
The game ends after a player has earned 10 victory points.
- Great Instructional Videos -
Here's a few helpful instructional videos you or your group can watch to learn how to play this game visually.
Can A Settlement be built between two opponents roads?
Yes, as long as you have a road connected to the newly buil settlement and the settlement is two roads away from any other building. This would also break up an opponent's attempt to make the longest road.
Can you play a Development Card you just purchased?
No, you must wait until your next turn to play a purchased Development card
Can you play more than one Development Card in a turn?
No, you may only play one Development Card during your turn and that card must have been purchased in a prior turn
Can you play a Knight Card before you role the dice?
Yes, you can play any Development card before you role the dice
If I purchase a Development card and it gives me my 10th VP, do I need to wait another turn to play it?
No, all Development cards giving you victory points are automatically revealed once you have achieved 10 VPs. This includes if you earn the 10th victory point on your turn through the purchase of a Development card.
BUY THIS GAME
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Highest Price: $48.99 (Apr 5, 2015)
Lowest Price: $25.93 (Apr 24, 2017)
Average Price: $32.63
*According to CamelCamelCamel.com (02/10/2018)
Expanding The Game
Expansions For The Base Game
These expansions require you to own the base game off Catan in order to play them.
These a games using relatively the same mechanics of the Catan series but are themed and have a couple added twists to the gameplay.
If you like how this board game plays, you'll definitely want to check out these great games which play similar.