Board games have faded away in recent years due to the advance in electronics having more people play games on televisions, computers, smartphones, and tablets. However, nothing beats sitting down with family and friends around a table to play a board game since it is a more wholesome experience compared to facing off over a smartphone/computer/etc. Settlers of Catan is a perfect game capable of satisfying many different types of game players and also many different age groups. Whether you love to play video games or are someone who has never touched a game outside of monopoly or connect four, Settlers of Catan has something to offer for you.
This review will go over the standard Settlers of Catan version and will not include the several expansions of Settlers of Catan that add more elements to the game. If you are looking to pick up Settlers of Catan it is always best to start with the standard version and play that several times to decide if you want to pick up one or more expansions.
Design, Game Pieces, and Price
Settlers of Catan is built to last with the game board pieces made out of sturdy cardboard with the illustrations printed nicely on both sides. Game pieces are mode out of wood instead of plastic and unless if you lose pieces(be careful not to since they are small) they will hold up well over thousands of matches. The box is also built to last and you can tell once you pick it up that it is built out of good materials and you will not be dealing with taping/patching a torn box unless if you intentionally do it.
The reason why this review starts with the game design, construction quality, and price is because many people may be turned off by Settlers of Catan since it costs more money than most other board games. The standard Settlers of Catan game without any expansions or the 5 & 6 player expansions costs around $30-$40 USD which is a hefty penny to some for a board game. The price is justified since the quality of the materials is excellent and also because Settlers provides an endless amount of options to setup the board, create scenarios, and will easily cover the cost in the game for the hours you will put into the game.
Fun Factor and Accessibility
What makes Settlers of Catan a great board game is that its accessibility is great and appeals to a wide range of people. It is recommended that players are at least 10 years old before playing Settlers since it does require learning several keywords, rules, and also requires strategy to win. No matter whether you are 16 or 57 Settlers of Catan will provide a fun experience since it can be as shallow or deep as you wish. You can spend each turn planning ahead, keeping track of other players cards, and refining your strategy if you are a serious player. On the other hand a player looking to play primarily for fun can grasp the basic aspects of the game and still do very well in the game and even win just by knowing the basics.
The best part of Settlers is that the game is simply downright fun and isn’t frustrating to play. Each match depending on the amount of players can take 30 minutes and can last as long as 1 1/2 hours if you play different scenarios. The game also promotes trading and interacting with other players and is less about screwing over other players which leads to people getting frustrated. Adding expansions such as Seafarers, Cities & Knights, and Traders & Barbarians add more depth to make the game even more richer in content and can provide more enjoyment. The standard Settlers of Catan without expansions is an excellent game in its own right but at times if you are well in last place it can be impossible to climb out of a hole. Expansions help to solve this issue but in the standard version you will have little options to make a late game comeback.
Most board games have a preset board where you roll dice and move your game piece around a predefined path. The limit in flexibility and what you can achieve is predefined and board games like this can grow to be very boring overtime. Settlers of Catan fixes this by providing preset scenarios to help players learn the game mechanics and the basics before setting them free. With the board pieces being separate you can setup your own scenarios, game rules, and game board which provides a new experience each match. Adding expansions further adds more options and game pieces to add to your game board and will keep you and your Settler group occupied for a very long time.
Unlike other board games Settlers of Catan doesn’t have pre-set paths to trudge down or a typical board game setup. In Settlers you build yourself an empire starting with settlements and ending with cities. By having the core mechanics revolve around players deciding where to place roads, settlements, and cities each play through is different than the last. If you make the step to expansions you unlock game pieces such as ships, metropolises, knights, city walls, barbarians, and merchants. The game is excellent at allowing players decide what experience they wish to get out of Settlers of Catan and no combination of the standard game and expansions is wrong.
If you are looking for a board game to learn and to keep you occupied for years to come then Settlers of Catan is a great option to look into. The game is very unique and while it might be harder for new players to learn the game is very fun and rewarding to play. Starting with the standard Settlers of Catan version and deciding whether or not one or more expansions is right for you is the way to go. The greatest thing about Settlers of Catan is its ability to appeal to a wide audience and also to give players much more control over their game experience than other board games out there.
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