The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is an award-winning strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. The board itself is variable, making each game a little different from the next. Each round of The Settlers of Catan is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes.
On the Road to Settlement
The game rules and almanac booklet sets out four pages of guidelines for getting started. Don’t worry, the rules are straightforward and the four pages include plenty of illustrations. There’s a starting map that shows a well-balanced set-up for beginners to follow and directions that allow more advanced players to lay out the map of the island at random. You’ll have to pop the die-cut components of the game out of their cardboard holders before you play your first game.
The almanac portion of the booklet is laid out alphabetically, so while playing you can find answers to specific questions quickly. Useful entries remind you exactly what role pieces like the robber play, how actions like maritime trade work, and how to set up the board or finish the game.
Exploring and Developing Catan
The board consists of 19 terrain hexes surrounded by the ocean. Each type of terrain produces a different type of resource: brick, wool, ore, grain or lumber. There’s also a desert hex that produces no resources. As the game progresses, players use resources to build roads along the edges of these hexes and settlements or cities on the intersections where three hexes meet. Each player begins the game with two settlements and two roads.
Each player’s roll of the dice causes certain hexes to produce resources, which you collect if you have a settlement on one of them. On your turn, you’ll use various combinations of the resources you’ve acquired to build new roads and settlements, upgrade settlements to cities, or purchase development cards. The ability to trade resources with other players adds a new level of strategy and ensures that the game includes lots of interaction between players. You can also trade without worrying about other players using an unfavorable maritime trade rate. Elements including a robber piece that lets you steal from other players and a variety of development cards add intrigue to the game.
The objective of The Settlers of Catan is to be the first one who collects 10 victory points. Each settlement is worth one victory point and each city is worth two victory points. You can also earn victory points by holding the “Longest Road” card, the “Largest Army” card, or special victory point development cards.
Best-Selling Game of the Year
It’s easy to see why The Settlers of Catan has been recognized as a best-selling Game of the Year in both Germany and the U. S. We found this game to be fun and engaging for both children and adults, and the variable nature of the playing field really made us want to play again and again. When we started pausing to contemplate our opponents’ strategy and factoring the probability of different dice rolls into our moves, the game sometimes took longer than expected, but we were so engrossed we didn’t even notice until it was all over.
Due to the widespread popularity of the original game, several expansion sets (sold separately) are available that allow you to explore new aspects of the game or add more players. The only downside to this game is that you need to have either three or four players to play, so it’s great that expansion sets are available that will allow you to add players.
What’s in the Box
Six sea frame pieces, 19 terrain hexes, nine harbor pieces, 18 circular number tokens, 126 game cards, 16 cities, 20 settlements, 60 roads, two dice, a robber and a rules and almanac booklet.