Designer: Klaus Teuber
Publisher: 999 games and more
Number of Players:3-4
Price (approx.): 40 Euro
You are trying to colonise an island, by building roads, villages and cities. To do so, you need raw materials, namely ore, grain, wood, stone and sheep. On every resource tile lies a number, if you role that number and your village or city is located next to this tile, you get the goods. Every player starts with two villages on the board. If you can’t get the right resources to build something you want, you can trade your resources with other players or with or with the game itself. You can also buy development cards and these can provide you knights, points or other niceties. If someone rolls 7, he can place a thief on a tile and that tile doesn’t produce anything until it is removed. A village and city gives you points. The longest route and the largest military force, do too. The first player who has 10 points, wins.
Well there’s no theme here at all. You can put any theme on the game and it still works and feels the same (or maybe better).
To start with, the rules are easy. No difficult decisions to be made, but you can plan everything you want, but if the dice do not favour you, you won’t win. The thief is a nice ‘take that!’ element and the resource negotiations make the game lively. Experienced players most of the times bash the newbie, but on the other hand, in this case the dice can also throw a spanner in the works.
The game looks pretty colourful. And when the game is over it looks even better, with all the different routes and cities on the board. The plastic bits in the new version look better then the wooden ones. The illustrations themselves are not that special though.
Quality of the components
The quality of the game parts is good. Most Catan parts are used many times and they stood the test of time pretty well. The wood pieces are a bit sturdier than the plastic ones. The cards are a decent quality too.
This game is just not for me. The randomness of the dice and the fact that I, as a beginner, did not had the feeling I had a winning chance, made me come to this conclusion. No theme is not always a problem, but this game just feels bland. I only play it if I really must.
I’m in the minority though (or maybe nowadays not so much any more), many people have this game in their collection or sometimes this is the only game they own. The simple rules make it a good gateway game, but I think there are better ones.