Catan is a game that has been around for many years (and was formerly known as ‘Settlers of Catan’, but, just like many successful musicians, can now been known by a single word instead). The premise is simple – collect resources, build stuff, be the first to build enough stuff to achieve 10 victory points. Is it as simple as that sounds?
Players: 2- 4 (4 is best)
Play time: Around 1-2 hours
It comes in a big box, and has many different pieces, which at first glance makes Catan feel somewhat scary – especially when paired with the rulebook, which has several pages of eye-swimmingly complicated text to plough through. At least, that was our first impression, but then when you actually read the text it turns out only a couple of pages are required in order to understand play and get started with the game. Simpler than it seems!
The bits come together to create a far simpler seeming whole too – a hexagonal board made up of water and land tiles (each with a small round tile placed atop it), dice, development cards and little wooden shapes which form settlements, cities and roads. And ‘the robber’.
Each hexagonal land tile produces a different resource (stone, brick, wheat, sheep or logs), aside from the ‘desert’ tile which the robber begins his journey upon. Players can choose to place these tiles randomly, or, when playing for the first time, alternatively a suggested layout is depicted in the rulebook.
Each time the dice are rolled, the number generated shows which resources are produced by the island, according to the round number tiles which are placed, one each, on top of individual resource hexagons.
Each player begins the game with two settlements and two roads, which border the hexagonal tiles. If a player has a settlement which directly abuts the hexagon which is producing a resource once the dice are rolled, they receive a resource card (one resource card for each settlement around the hexagon in question).
These resources are collected, and can be used once the required quantity is achieved to build new roads, settlements or cities. Trading resources with other players is also possible, and necessary in many cases as often – depending on where your settlements are – you may find you continually get one or two types of resource and not much of the others.
The suggested age is 10+, but like a lot of games it’s entirely possible to play Catan successfully with kids a couple of years younger than that, especially if they’re strategically minded like Seb, who at age 8 has had no problem with picking up the rules and playing successfully.
I am a member of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club, we are sent one game a month to put through it’s paces before letting you know what we think of it.