This past weekend at NorWesCon 38, I passed by a grizzled & heavily bearded man in a bandana playing Catan on his laptop via Steam. I wasn’t even aware this game had made it to Steam, but it goes to show how this game is a standard in the way that Monopoly and Clue are. It also makes a great gateway game to hook traditional board game fans into the diverse and rich world of Tabletop.
Publisher: Mayfair Games
# of Players: 3-4 Players
Best with: 3 players
# of Expansions: Way too many to list. Check out a list here.
General Mechanics: Settlers of Catan is a resource management game. Your main goal is to keep a balance of resources (sheep, wood, grain, brick, and stone in the base game) so that you can build settlements, cities, and roads before other players. Doing so gains the player victory points.
The board contains hexagonal tiles, and each one is given a randomly generated number at the beginning of the game. Players also begin with 2 settlements and roads. The settlements get placed at the intersection of the hexagonal tiles, and the roads are placed along the lines created by the hexagonal shapes. Players begin with a set number of beginner resources as well, and lastly, a robber is placed on the 1 desert tile.
In a turn, a player may:
- play a development card
- roll the dice & collect resources (determined by number on each hexagonal tile)
- turn in resource cards for improvements/buildings
- trade cards at ports
- trade resource cards with players
- move the robber & steal resources
For example, if a 5 is rolled, whatever resource tiles have a five on them will produce a resource. If a player has a settlement or city on that tile, they would gain that resource. They could then trade those resources to build or improve their areas or gain a development card. Building long roads and gaining folks for your army can also help players.
How to Win/Lose: The first player to gain 10 victory points wins. Victory points can be gained via development cards, having the longest road, having the largest army, and building settlements and cities.
What I Liked: I like how easy it is to learn this game. It makes a great introduction into games beyond Monopoly and Clue.
What I Didn’t Like: After you’ve played this a few dozen times, it grows somewhat repetitive and boring. Too much luck in the dice roll.
Overall Rating/Impression: 8/10 for its ease and great introduction to Tabletop.