Conventions, Discussion, Signal Boost, Tabletop Games, Tabletop Tuesday

Tabletop Tuesday: Settlers of Catan

Hey all, Sam and David here today.

Welcome back to Tabletop Tuesday, the series on this blog where we discuss something to do with tabletop gaming…whether that’s a board game, a dice game, a card game, a TTRPG, or some sort of tabletop gaming accessory. Last week we talked about a really cool couples RPG, and so this week we’re going to switch gears and talk about board games, very specifically a modern classic game.

In The Settlers of Catan, players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources (cards) – wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone – to build up their civilizations to get to 10 victory points and win the game.

Setup includes randomly placing large hexagonal tiles (each showing a resource or the desert) in a honeycomb shape and surrounding them with water tiles, some of which contain ports of exchange. Number disks, which will correspond to die rolls (two 6-sided dice are used), are placed on each resource tile. Each player is given two settlements (think, houses) and roads (sticks) which are, in turn, placed on intersections and borders of the resource tiles. Players collect a hand of resource cards based on which hex tiles their last-placed house is adjacent to. A robber pawn is placed on the desert tile.

A turn consists of possibly playing a development card, rolling the dice, everyone (perhaps) collecting resource cards based on the roll and position of houses (or upgraded cities – think, hotels) unless a 7 is rolled, turning in resource cards (if possible and desired) for improvements, trading cards at a port, and trading resource cards with other players. If a 7 is rolled, the active player moves the robber to a new hex tile and steals resource cards from other players who have built structures adjacent to that tile.

Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 points (some of which may be held in secret), he announces his total and claims the win.

For Ages: 13+

WARNING: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not for Children under 3 yrs.

Our Thoughts

Okay, well, I’ve (Sam) been playing Catan for something like seven years now, and it’s an enjoyable resource management game. And it’s easy to play, and replay over and over. My favorite games are ones that have great replay value.

For David though, when we got together with friends last week for a game night, it was his very first time playing Catan, despite having heard about it quite a bit.

Yeah, and I (David) was nervous about trying it because I thought it would be hard to learn.

What’s nice is that each player has a cheat sheet card that lets you know what it costs to build a road, a settlement, upgrade to a city, or buy a development card to help achieve victory by collecting victory points. It makes it very easy to remember things, although I always think it’s better to have at least one person who has either played the game or at the very least watched a playthrough of a game to understand how it works.

Speaking of, a decent number of games that have been added to my-now-our collection, I found from watching Geek & Sundry’s web series “Tabletop,” hosted by Wil Wheaton. You can find all the episodes on YouTube, and there’s some wonderful games covered over the seasons.

So Settlers of Catan, at least the base game, is fairly simple to play, and because the board can get set up differently each time, it means that no two games will ever be exactly alike. The base game is made for up to 4 players, but they have an expansion to add 5 or 6 players. Then there are expansions to add in seafaring or other civilization development options. Plus there are other base games of Catan that have different options, like Catan: Dawn of Mankind which takes players back to the days of cavemen basically and the winner of the game is the person who can advance their civilization the fastest. I would love to play that one sometime.

Oh, and there’s a 3D version out there as well, which I (David) would love to have. I’ve done some searching and I think I can get files so I can print them out myself. It might be worth it, especially if we plan on playing the game more.

It’s a fun game. There’s a reason why I’ve been playing it for so long, and why I keep it on my game shelf. I don’t keep games that I don’t enjoy playing.

Wait…but you keep Dungeons on the shelf.

Look, David, sometimes you need to keep a game around that makes you want to rage, but I’ll talk about my issues with Dungeon in another post. Just like we could spend time talking about the video game “Tiny Barbarians” sometime. It’s a nice rage-inducing game.

Okay, that is all from us for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.


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