Until last week, the last time I had taken up Settlers of Catan for a spell had been on my Xbox 360. And then Tuesday night happened and I remembered why this game is just so damn awesome to play with real people who are sat in front of you.
For the many who don’t know – The Settlers of Catan is a tabletop game where you try to establish your presence on an island – with a race to achieving 10 points. Points are won through various actions and tasks that you can complete.
The island of Catan (in the basic game) is divided into a series of hexagons, with all (bar one) of the hexagons representing one of several resources: corn, sheep, ore, bricks and wood. Each resource hexagon is assigned a number. Combinations of these resources enable you to build and craft several things, such as basic settlements and towns, roads and special cards that allow you to different things.
From having settlements on these hexagons, you’re able to benefit from receiving these resources when their numbers are rolled. There’s also a system involving a robber, which can be activated through several means and can mess up attempts to build-up resources.
But basically – all of your actions are meant to help you move towards getting those 10 victory points and being the first to do so. And a lot can happen along the way, as it’s perfectly acceptable form and break alliances with other players, trade resources with players and ports, dominate the production of certain resources (the game featured above saw me controlling most of the sheep on the island, which went well in the beginning…) – and actually build a narrative that goes beyond the reasonably simple rules.
And of course you can end up trading wood for sheep and have all the jokes that go with this. Though last week our jokes were about much horse meat came with our sheep.
There’s definitely a lot more chaos involved compared to playing a game of Monopoly. And you should try playing The Settlers of Catan sometime.