Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Square 96: Catan

One of the hottest board games around is Settlers of Catan and its various expansions. My friends, Brenda and Judy, introduced me to it several years ago and I've been addicted ever since, sharing the joy with my friends and family. The basic idea is that you build settlements and cities around the island of Catan, produce and trade resources from the surrounding terrain, use them to build more roads and settlements to expand your influence and win the game. One interesting peculiarity of the game is that you cannot progress without cooperating (to some extent) with the other players by trading resources. Another interesting element is that when your turns ends you don't stop participating; During other people's turns you can produce and trade resources.

This square represents the colours of the terrain hexes in Catan: forests produce lumber, hills produce brick, mountains produce ore, plains produce wheat, and pastures produce wool.

The expansion Cities and Knights of Catan introduces more complex strategies to the game. In the variant Starfarers of Catan, you blast into outer space, colonize new planets and encounter alien races who offer strategic alliances. Starship Catan is a two-player version. These are the ones Danny and I own, but there are other variations as well. In each game you must beware of pirates who can steal your resources and even break down your cities.

Through a friend of a friend, I hooked into a group that gets together to play Cities and Knights of Catan one Monday evening a month. On long weekends we hold day-long tourneys, bring potluck and invite other friends and partners along, and play all the other variants. Danny and I play practically every weekend. There is a computer version you can play solo—it's my favourite way to kill time. I've introduced the rest of my family to it as well.

Everybody likes it except for Brenna. You see, some of my friends are too competitive.

Two years ago I had just acquired Starfarers of Catan before Christmas. I was driving home from somewhere with my daughters and two friends, and most of us were getting excited about trying the new game.

"I'll pass," said Brenna, sounding blasé.

"Oh come on," said her sister. "It's more fun if we all play."

"No thanks."

We tried to cajole her, to no avail.

Finally I said, "What don't you like about it?"

"I think," said Brenna, "I've been over-exposed to Lesbians of Catan."

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know you were into Catan Van! We should play sometime...

    Westley the dog