Bring. It. On.
The festive season is almost in full-swing with appetites to venture outside fast approaching the temperature: zero. Consumption of food and alcohol is on the rise, in parallel with body-fat percentages, whatever you must do to stay warm. Forgotten relatives are now returning to the scene, poking their noses around and inviting themselves in for dinner. Do not fret. I have the answer.
If passing out on the sofa seems inappropriate and conversation even less desirable, this competitive strategy game has your back.
Catan is a four-player game with a separate expansion pack that accommodates up to six players. Taking about 90 minutes to complete, it’s more than enough to have shown your guests a decent time and send them off in a taxi once the game is up.
Catan doesn’t take long to teach.
Old fogeys, airheads and drunks alike can learn to play, although you will almost certainly beat them. The aim of the game is to reach up to 10 victory points, achieved through building roads, cities and settlements – these are the three pieces you have to play with – as well as possible points from development cards.
Each player begins with one settlement and two roads placed onto the board.
This starting position is essential, as it determines your access to the five available resources – wood, wool, brick, grain and ore – of which various combinations are needed to buy the roads, cities and settlements, or trade in for a development card. No two boards are the same, resulting in unique game play every time, as the board is made up of hexagons, randomly placed at the start.
Access to resources is determined by your starting position and the turn of the dice.
You are permitted to haggle and barter for resources you lack. Be careful, if you are perceived to be winning, the other players will cease trade with you. Outmanoeuvre these goons by trading with the bank, or setting up near a strategic port, where you can trade on better terms.
Do not get overwhelmed by the rules, these are picked up quickly enough.
A nice rule is when you roll a seven, any player holding more than 7 cards has to lose half of his, and the one who rolled the 7 can move the “robber” and steal one resource card from whoever is positioned on where the robber is placed.
It’s an exciting game about strategy and resource management.
It’s also about negotiation, ability to sell and sometimes, to deceive. This best-selling game is played worldwide, ever since German dental technician Klaus Teuber published the game in 1995. Millions of copies have since been sold in over 30 languages. The epicness of the game is somewhat reflected in the price, starting at around £40 from Amazon.
There are a number of expansions and versions available.
For example, Seafarers, Cities and Knights, Traders and Barbarians, each add new dimensions to the game. There is also a ‘Kids of Catan’ set available for players under 8 years old, useful for training and preparing the young ones for their Catan playing future.
Check out their official website http://www.catan.com for all your Catan-related questions.
And if you’re serious about destroying your opponents, perhaps read up on these keys to winning the game.