Today we give our review on an award winning strategy game, Settlers of Catan by Mayfair Games.
An island lies before you, unsettled and unexploited. You must settle the island, building up towns and settlements by exploiting its natural resources and trading with other players.
Settlers of Catan is a game-changer. One of the most popular strategy board games with children and adults alike. Catan has sparked a revolution, with numerous expansions to the original game and other spin-offs. On Amazon.co.uk the game has about 400 reviews, rating the game overall five-star. On Amazon.com the game has over 2000 reviews with the same rating. That’s not something to be sniffed at!
A complex game of strategy, quick-thinking and the unexpected, Settlers of Catan is different from your typical board-game, rolling a dice to get round the board. It’s cleverer than that.
Overall feel & gameplay
The standalone game is designed for 3-4 players, with a recommended age of 10+, providing an average of 45-60 minutes of gameplay (although it goes very quickly!). A unique hexagonal board, made up of 19 region tiles represents the island of Catan. The map can be arranged differently each game; this is a game you will want to play again.
Each region produces a particular resource, grassy hills for sheep to roam on, thick forests from which to extract lumber, clay pits, stony mountains producing ore, and wheat fields producing wheat (funnily enough!).
Players take turns to roll the dice; the resulting number determining which region(s) produce resources for all players. This game encourages interaction; nobody will be bored waiting for their turn. Once enough resources have been accumulated, construction of roads, settlements and cities begins. This is where tactics and strategy come into play, do you build near the sea, to trade with merchants at a fixed rate, or do you open up more options by moving inland. Some regions produce much less than others, do you want to balance your resource production out?
Settlers of Catan incorporates a variety of features, making the game diverse and exciting. A special focus is on the trading and building components. With the possibilities of monopolising trade of different resources, as well as an element of uncertainty with the robber character, the game offers a unique set of options for its players.
The design and feel of the cardboard and wooden pieces and game cards is good; although they can be a little fiddly, overall the game is well put together & adds to the whole experience.
Whilst there are large requirements of skill and the ability to pay attention, it is a game anyone can win, making it all the more exciting. There is a fair amount of luck involved, but forward strategic thinking will still make all the difference.
Final thoughts on Settlers of Catan
Catan is a fun family-friendly game that offers a lot of fun. It is complicated and confusing at first, but after you’ve played it once or twice you’ll have no trouble. It’s good to start out with somebody who already knows what to do; otherwise you might well be clueless. Settlers of Catan high replay value, making it a game that should reside in every family’s cupboard.
A thoughtful game; balanced and dynamic in its approach. It’s different, exciting and engaging. I highly recommend it.