In this past year, my friends have introduced me to the world of board gaming. Before this, my board game knowledge was stuck on Monopoly (which I hate) and scrabble (which I suck at). I thought, without a doubt, board games are boring and things we’re forced to do at Grandma’s house because she doesn’t have TV. Now however it’s a completely different story. I love board gaming and I even bought my little sister Ticket to Ride for Christmas and I’m planning on starting my own board game collection.

Settlers of Catan box and board with cards on display

Today I will be reviewing a great game that many consider essential to any boardgamer’s collection. What I love about these two games, and the reason why they’re my first to review, is because they are so easy to learn, perfect for beginners, but still fun even for experts. It’s one of the first games that I was introduced to and without a doubt it sucked me into the board gaming world.

The Settlers of Catan:

This, funnily enough, isn’t a game I haven’t played with much amongst my friends really. I played it with one friend and two strangers at a board game cafe in Hoxton, and the two strangers spoke very limited english. They were however extremely competitive.

A simplified explanation of game play would be this.

  • The board is made up of hexagonal tiles which represent a land resource type, and one tile represents an empty dessert.
  • Players pick points between tiles on the board to start their settlements.
  • The first player rolls two die. The numbers on the dice correspond to numbers on tiles. If they number shows up, then anyone who’s settlements touch that tile gain resource cards.
  • Resource cards are used build roads which go along the hexagonal outlines of the tiles. Settlements and cities can also be built to expand your settlement as well as gain victory points.
  • There is a “Robber” in play. If the dice roll a 7, then the robber is moved to a tile of that players choosing. Until that robber is moved, no resources will come from that tile. At the same time, when the robber is first moved, anyone who has more than 7 resource cards must discard half of their hand.
  • Knight cards are played so that anyone can move the Robber without rolling a 7. In this case, the card discarding rule doesn’t apply.
  • 10 Victory points are needed to win the game. They can be gained by building settlements, cities, for having the longest connecting road or the biggest army (number of knight cards played)

That might sound complicated at first, at least, more complicated than Monopoly. However the game is crazy easy to pick up. There’s a lot of room for strategic planning, such as where you plan to build your roads or settlements, or how can you block of someone else’s roads and settlements. It’s a great game for competitive people as well as strategists.

Because the layout of the board can be changed a number of times, there’s really no for-sure-win formula. Your gameplay changes depending on the board and your opponents, meaning it can be great fun to try playing it with new people. I’ll be introducing this game to my foster family, who I can easily divide into 1) super competitive or 2) super strategic.

If you don’t feel like running out and buying the (relatively expensive board-game), then why not play it online first? You can play it online with players from around the world here, although you will need to register. It’s free though, and if you see HarrietSugarcookie online, be sure to say hi and play a game with me.