About BoardGameGuru

BoardGameGuru is a UK based online retailer, specialising in board games.

To use the shop, please follow the link below:


To read the full articles below, please follow the link to their own pages.

Our Favourites: Settlers Of Catan

Ask many gamers what their first experience of Eurogames was and more often than not you will hear this classic mentioned.

Now in its Fourth Edition it is one of the most enduringly popular games on the market, and along with its expansions such as Cities & Knights Of Catan or Seafarers of Catan it provides scope for you to customise your own favourite way of playing.

On reflection it is easy to see why this title has been so popular, since it features many of the best features for new gamers, many of which were introduced in yesterday's "What Are Eurogames?" article, such as no player elimination, shorter playing time and several ways of scoring.

The game is extremely simple to play, and set up is easy, either using the suggested arrangement for your first game or randomly setting up in future.

The board is made up of hexes, made into a circular island shape - each player starts with two settlements and two roads along the edges of certain hexes. In the suggested set up the decision is made for you, but in later games you can choose your starting location.

On each hex is a picture showing what resource is harvested from it. That may sound intimidating ("harvesting resources? Oooo er...") but it takes the form of a dice roll - each hex has a number placed on it during set up and it produces goods whenever the number is rolled. Simple.

Anyone who has a settlement bordering the hex(es) that show the right number gets a card representing that resource whether it is their turn or not. These cards can later be traded for more roads, upgrading your settlements to cities or new settlements etc. The reason for expansion is simple - with expansion you get new resources and trading opportunities as well as those all important victory points.

There is a problem to be overcome before you get to confident, and that is that it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get all the resources you need without help. To get every bit of brick, stone or grain you need, you'll have to be prepared to trade cards with your opponents. This can lead to some intense wheeling and dealing as players try and balance the benefits of gaining goods in trade against the benefit of what they are giving their opponents - you must be careful not to help them more than you help yourself!

The winner is the first to get to 10 VPs, and this can be scored in many ways; each settlement is worth 1 vp, each city is worth 2 vps and there are bonuses for certain cards (1vp each) and having the longest road (2vps) and largest army (2vps).

While it has been around for a long time this game still feels fresh and exciting every time, partly due to the random set up and partly due to each group you play with having different dynamics when you try and trade. One player may be very hostile to trading at all, preferring to be aggressive in their expansion and gain independence that way, but others may prefer the softer touch approach of mutual assistance - you get to find this out as you go.

I have a soft spot for Settlers Of Catan anyway for a couple of reasons - first, it was my Gateway Game - the game that opened the door to other great experiences. Secondly, it was the game with which I got many of my friends to play with me - an easy to teach game that still gave an excellent challenge to all concerned.

I highly recommend this game to not only anyone who is wanting to get into gaming but also to everyone. It can be played by 3-4 players straight out of the box, though I purchased the 5-6 player expansion to give my bigger game group a chance at it.

Add to this excellent system the new ways of playing introduced in Seafarers, which allows you to play across a series of islands instead of one big one - with ships to build and pirates to worry about and the mutual fight against the Barbarian hordes in Cities And Knights, and you have many games all using similar systems that will bring fun and excitement to your home for game after game.

And who could ask for more than that?

...keep playing!

The BoardGameGuru team

No comments:

Post a Comment