Monday, December 2, 2013

The Settlers of Catan = Awesome

OK, so here we go down the geek road again...

Got my first chance to play this board game (yes, board game) this weekend thanks to my brothers-in-law.  I had heard of it before but never paid much attention.  I should have.  Having had it recommended to me previously after expressing my love for electronic games like the Civilization series I stuffed its name in the back of my head but never sought it out.

More or less, it IS similar to Civilization but simplified and without the war or research projects.  First published in Germany in 1995 the point of the game is to acquire 10 "Victory Points" which are obtained via building "settlements" (one VP), cities (two VPs), or achieving other tasks (building the longest road, using certain "development" cards, etc.)  Terrain determines what kind of resources you have to work with and combining the various resources allows you to build said settlements and cities and obtain the "development cards".

The game starts out with a very basic set accommodating up to four players with (and this is the great business model part of Settlers) expansion sets allowing for greater numbers of players, additional resources, larger boards, expanded rules and exploration.  As anyone who is familiar with general geek culture (collecting of comics, intricate computer games, etc.) will attest, once introduced and involved with a topic, geeks tend to obsess over very quickly you can see the additional expansion sets purchased and custom boards and tokens on/with which to play becoming common.  There are Star Trek versions, versions based upon the geographic United States and Germany, and on and on....the permutations of the game seem to grow with its popularity--which is pretty darn high given that 15 million basic sets have been sold through '09 (likely doubling that again by now).  The fact that as the WSJ has reported, Settlers of Catan has become a hot item at parties and business events in Silicon Valley tells you a lot.

Regardless...I will buying my first new board game in quite some time in the immediate future.  For those of you who are familiar with and enjoy games like Civilization or even a more simple affair like Risk (which I fined intensely boring and without skill) you will likely LOVE Catan.  For a geek only at heart or in truth it is nearly irresistible.

Settlers of Catan Homepage... 

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