Time Waster Tuesday: Settlers of Catan

Little change of pace this Tuesday. Instead of explaining a game that merely involves thought as in previous entries, this will be a review of a fairly well established board game. Still, it is a great time waster, and something I suggest you pursue if you are willing to try a bit of group time wasting with manufactured supplies.

Recently, I fell into a circle of people who like to play strategy board games. (Believe me, I’m quite thrilled!) However, they are all rather seasoned and have played together for years whereas I’m just a newbie. So, at times these fun gaming sessions can be a bit intimidating for me. One game that I had heard much about but never played myself was Settlers of Catan.

When I first arrived at a game night with this as the choice, I was rather nervous that I would be a miserable failure due to my lack of previous game knowledge. Luckily, it did not turn out that way at all. Although the game is a bit complicated at first, the rules are fairly simple to get down and they give you a nice cheat card for remembering the most important ones. So, if you are invited to join into a round of Settlers of Catan, I really recommend that you do.

The game basically is about settling an island by building roads and structures using resources, and the goal is to obtain 10 points by these means before anyone else can do so. It is a true strategy game that involves coming up with and implementing a plan and rolling with the inevitable bumps that will come along throughout the game play.

Here are some of my tips to make your first experience even better if you decide to try it out:

The game doesn’t have a board per se, but rather it is created from random pieces. As the board is being laid out, I recommend that you ask your companions to explain what each piece and element means. This will keep you from the awkwardness of having to interrupt game play later with such questions.

I also recommend choosing to focus on just a few elements of game play at a time when you get started. During my first game, I concentrated on just targeting certain resources and building settlements rather than worrying about how development cards work or how to best use ports. You can definitely ignore some parts of the game as you are learning and still play competitively.

Each time you play a new round, you can focus on something new and soon you will have incorporated more and more elements into your strategy.
This really is a great game because of the complexity, randomness, and re-playability. Just don’t let it overwhelm you from the start and have fun time wasting!

Have you played Settlers of Catan? Let us know what you think in the comments!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 11:07:39

    I haven’t. I’m trying to find a time to play with one of my friends. I’m also thinking about sitting down some slow night or weekend to play the online version for beginners to see if I can learn.


  2. Aradia
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 11:11:27

    I LOVE SETTLERS! Did you know that you can play online for free? Join Games.Asobrain.com- it’s a free membership, no spam, and you can play in ranking or non-ranking lobbies. The game there is called Xplorers, but it’s the same game with very minor differences. My favorite reason for playing online is the variety of maps available- about 50. I also love playing with people from around the world, and of course it’s great that there is no cleanup or having to remember that the bit of pencil really represents that piece of green road that was vacuumed up last year.


  3. Gina
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 15:09:25

    Oh, man. That game is amazing. I keep tying to get people to play with me, but so many people seem to have a fear of strategy board games…

    I play Catan Online World sometimes. It’s free and you download the program, but after that it’s really a pretty simple setup. There are great options for limiting the number of players (2,3 or 4) and if you’re playing with a friendly robber or not.

    The best though was teaching my sister how to play over vacation. She’d had a bit too much wine and still managed to beat me after a few rounds. We’ve got a bit of a healthy rivalry going now πŸ™‚


    • girlsaregeeks
      Apr 27, 2010 @ 16:26:35

      Hehe, well, that’s my sister writing the review, so if someone brings the game to Thanksgiving/Christmas this year, I can imagine we can start a rivalry too! Our family is very competitive (thus, all the games). I still need to learn Settlers though!

      – Rosalind


      • Gina
        Apr 28, 2010 @ 13:31:26

        I keep trying to get the rest of our family hooked as well, but my parents haven’t moved past Boggle as the family game of choice. You’d think Boggle would be a nice friendly game…

        Settlers is pretty easy to learn – you’ll love it!

  4. GeekInsight
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 18:58:31

    Get the Cities and Knights Expansion. It takes Catan to a whole new level. I never play the basic game any more πŸ™‚


  5. cheem
    May 04, 2010 @ 12:30:53

    I recently just introduced a bunch of friends to the game as well. And I have created MONSTERS! They were so hooked onto the game, we played till 5am a few nights in a row. And just like you, most of them are girls! πŸ™‚ But am glad that I’ve more friends to join in now!


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