I couldn’t th…

I couldn’t think of a game I wanted to blog about, but luckily I remembered that we can talk about board games as well as video games.  My current favorite board game is Settlers of Catan.  In order to win the game, one has to achieve a certain number of victory points.  There are many ways to do this, which I will get into later.  In my opinion Catan combines the two most important aspects of card/board games.  It is a game of both strategy and luck.  The game begins by setting up the board, which can be set up differently each time, ensuring every time the game is played it is different.  There are five essential resources in the game.  The game begins by going around, and each player can place a settlement between resource spaces (so each settlement can be next to a max of three resource hexes).  Each player does this twice.  A big part of the strategy lies in this beginning stage of the game.  What resources you choose and the probability each is rolled is something you have to factor into what you are going to do, as well as what everyone else is going to do.  Each resource has a number from 2-12 (no seven), which you have to factor in to how you choose resources.  Everyone has a different strategy while picking settlements.  Is it better to have all the resources even if one of them is a 12, or is it best to take the most likely rolled numbers regardless of what they provide?  Questions like this make the beginning take a while and can cause it to be quite frustrating.  Once the game gets going, it can become chaos (especially when playing with family members).  Before your turn, you roll the dice, and everyone collects the resources of the number rolled if they have a settlement on it.  From there the player whose turn it is can trade and build.  One can build roads, so that they can build more settlements, or upgrade settlements to cities, which allow the player to get more resources when their numbers are rolled, or buy cards that do a variety of things (and can be victory points), and so on.  The aspect of the game that I really enjoy, other than the overall strategy, is the trading.  I think the player interactions of this game are what set it apart from many other board games I have played.  Monopoly is the only other one I can think of where trading plays such a big role.  I like catan a lot more than monopoly because I feel that monopoly is almost entirely luck.  Whoever lands on the best spaces the first time around usually wins the game (or whoever gets the first monopoly).  You can usually tell who will win fairly early, while the game lasts for a very long time.  Catan on the other hand provides very unpredictable endings.  Overall Catan is a very enjoyable experience and I would suggest it to anyone who enjoys board games.


  1. khausoul said:

    I have never heard of the game before but from the description I think it sounds like a hybrid mixture of Monopoly and Risk. Games like these show how the process of taking other games’ concepts can blossom into a new idea. It resembles the trading aspect of Monopoly and the building/developing aspect from Risk. However, I disagree with luck being one of the most important factors in making a card or board game. Granted, it will always play a role, but often times I think luck gets way too much credit. For example, take Texas Hold’em, one of the most popular card games around. Many people attribute this game to pure luck and it is only a matter of what cards you receive. This is not true because the World Series of Poker final tables see many of the same faces over and over again. If luck were such a big factor, we would see a variety of faces. Luck will always play a role but I think well-executed strategy will always reign as most important.

  2. spenway said:

    I am going to have to agree with the comment above. While I do think luck is involved in games, I do not see luck as the only cause of success. Strategy is crucial and when used correctly can make a difference between a good player and one that is simply “lucky”. As for Catan, I think it sounds like a great game. While it incorporates aspects of trading from games like monopoly, the lengthy-ness of the game does not seem to pose a problem (as it does in monopoly). Hybrid games are becoming more and more popular as games evolve into the digital atmosphere and Catan seems like a great example of the hybrid idea, yet in a more original gaming form!

  3. jmtroop said:

    Settlers of Catan seems like a really interesting game, though I have never personally played it. Most popular board games that one would play does involve a certain amount of luck, usually through the dice mechanic of the game. Reading this blog post reminded me of Risk, which also involves a certain level of luck as well as strategy. This can be true with most board games, like Monopoly as you said. Usually the more popular games have struck a good balance between luck and strategy, as this pleases the players. The luck leads to a certain amount of uncertainty, or chaos, in the game. While the strategy gives you a certain level of control and interactivity with the other players. Catan sounds like one of these games that strikes a good balnce between strategy and luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: