The Settlers of Catan

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Anyone out there play this game? What are your favourite expansions, variants, etc? I've been getting more and more into it and I want to see what other people think of it? Do you enjoy it? Dislike it? Etc.

I don't get to play it much, but it's fun. My friends and I usually only play vanilla/large map vanilla.

I hang out with a lot of board game snobs and Catan is looked down upon. I like it just fine, but a lot of people don't like the randomness of rolling for resources. If you really do like it, though, then I would suggest using it as a jumping off point for trying more games with better mechanics and strategy.

Launcelot111:
I hang out with a lot of board game snobs and Catan is looked down upon. I like it just fine, but a lot of people don't like the randomness of rolling for resources. If you really do like it, though, then I would suggest using it as a jumping off point for trying more games with better mechanics and strategy.

Can you recommend some?

Seafarers is a pretty good expansion because you can do more with wool.

I used to like the game, usually play vanilla/big map, too bad the person whom introduced it to me was a prick about the game so I got turned off from too many games where he mostly ruined the game with poor sportsmanship.

Catan is AWESOME.
You can never make enough Wood jokes.

clayschuldt:
Seafarers is a pretty good expansion because you can do more with wool.

Picked up Seafarers last week and, honestly, I don't think I could go back to vanilla. It just adds so much to the core game without ruining any aspects. I will say this though, I don't like the scenarios where there are many little islands; I much prefer games where there is one big island that everyone has to start on and can then expand outward to the smaller islands.

Launcelot111:
I hang out with a lot of board game snobs and Catan is looked down upon. I like it just fine, but a lot of people don't like the randomness of rolling for resources. If you really do like it, though, then I would suggest using it as a jumping off point for trying more games with better mechanics and strategy.

Wow, god forbid there's any risk to a game. I wouldn't call your friends snobs in terms of "elite board gamers". It seems to me they just can't think critically and blame the game for it.

The random factor of what resources you get is what makes each game of Settlers you play to be unique and not focused on a single set of strategies. Say, if I can't get the resources I need to build roads and settlements, I focus on other areas of the game such as upgrading to cities or buying development cards. The game offers many different avenues of what you can do if you're blocked from doing something else, and the expansions add to those possibilities. Adapting to the game in front of you is what makes you a good player.

And, yeah, sometimes the dice are just not in your favor, even for an entire game. But it's something everyone is potentially subjected to and there isn't anything "unfair" about it. Hell, I've still won games even when I had jackshit the entire time since I could adapt to my current conditions. And even then, Settlers still gives you other options if you don't like the randomness of the dice! There's the Catan Event Cards that are used in place of the dice that guarentee each number is drawn at least once but in higher and lower frequency based on the probability of each number. There's a solution for your friends!

After all, if it wasn't for the many random elements of Settlers, it would take away the unique nature of each game you play since everyone would just result in using whatever is considered the "best" strategy.

Carbonyl:
Catan is AWESOME.
You can never make enough Wood jokes.

Oh my god, yes! The frequency of the phrase "Anybody got some wood?" will never get old...

Settlers is great fun! And this thread has reminded me of my idea to gather a few friends and get drunk whilst playing settlers, because wood jokes are actually funny again when you're drunk...

It is a highly enjoyable game with the most boring box art imaginable. For the longest time I judged the "book" (game) by its cover. It showed farmers tilling a field *yawn*. I ended up really enjoying it as there is strategy involved and not as much of a time investment as Risk or a pain to clean like Monopoly. Though I don't really have many in person friends to play board games with. I know that makes me sound pathetic -_-. I'd love to spend a day playing some of my old board games like Omega Virus, Stratego, or trying dnd again.

Don't get to play it as often as I want, but I do have the original version with the 5-6 player expansion. It's a really cool game, although I think I need more friends who approach resource trades both from their own and their opponents' perspectives. (Is it possible that your beneficial trade will help your opponent more than what is acceptable?)

I'm thinking about either getting another expansion this summer, or going for Small World instead.

Had a 3 and a half hour game just last saturday evening. With all the expansion sets. It was awesome. My brother's girlfriend won for the thirteenth time. But at least it was fair this time.

I really don't like Catan. Not because of the randomness, because it really isn't that random at all, but because the ending is so anticlimatic and often a player can be left in an essentially unwinnable position from the early game but be "forced" to continue playing for the sake of the other players.

7 Wonders is really good though, Carcassone too.

Oh man, that reminds me, I need to play it again some time.
Used to play it quite often as a child (itīs pretty much state-mandated here in Germany), but not in last 10 years of so.
Iīm sure the box must be SOMEWHERE at my parentsī....

TheDrunkNinja:

Carbonyl:
Catan is AWESOME.
You can never make enough Wood jokes.

Oh my god, yes! The frequency of the phrase "Anybody got some wood?" will never get old...

You know, I really donīt see what is supposed to be funny about this.
Sometimes, you simply desperatly need some wood.
I, for example, often find myself not having enough wood in my hand.
And if one of my fellow players happens to have wood, maybe even massive amounts of wood, he could help me out.
With his wood.

TheAmazingHobo:

TheDrunkNinja:

Carbonyl:
Catan is AWESOME.
You can never make enough Wood jokes.

Oh my god, yes! The frequency of the phrase "Anybody got some wood?" will never get old...

You know, I really donīt see what is supposed to be funny about this.
Sometimes, you simply desperatly need some wood.
I, for example, often find myself not having enough wood in my hand.
And if one of my fellow players happens to have wood, maybe even massive amounts of wood, he could help me out.
With his wood.

You're right... I'm... sigh... I'm sorry. I was acting childish. I should have been more considerate of others that might not have as much wood as I do or as much wood as they used to. Sometimes it's hard to get some wood.

But that's not to say I'm not generous with the wood I have in my hand. If there's a player who needs some wood in their hands, I'm always glad to lend them mine. It's a good way to build friendships. :D

I've played Catan a fair amount and I do enjoy it, though I dont enjoy winding up with a tonne of sheep when nobody needs it.

I like the harbormaster variant, but as a whole Catan isn't one of my favorites. I'm more into Ameritrash (Cosmic Encounter, Battlestar Galactica, etc)

I've been playing this game for 15 years now and it never gets old. Although there are lots of games that are similar in some ways now and equally awesome. Like Dominion or Keltis.

By the way, has anyone of you ever played "The Starfarers of Catan"? THAT was really awesome! :D

I've played it once. And won.

I've only played the vanilla game, but it is great. Sadly, I don't know many people with an interest in simple board games, so I haven't played it in a long time. :(

Catan is one of those "rite of passage" games folks play when they leave the world of games like Monopoly and Scrabble to see what else is out there. It's fun and simple. I like it as an "introduction" game for folks who haven't really played many table top games.

Catan has a few expansions, but in my opinion, whether you think they are worth it depends on if "the same, but more" is worth your hard-earned currency.

Might I suggest the original poster check out boardgamegeek.com?

The original poster asked for recommendations, so here's a question for the original poster - what do you like? Without knowing what sort of mechanics, settings, conflicts, and so on you care to join in, without knowing what sort of skill level you and the people you play with have, and without a clear understanding of what you want out of gaming, there's really not much advice anyone can give you except, "I think so-and-so game is awesome!"

Speaking of: Betrayal at House on the Hill is awesome. It's a mostly cooperative game where the players are exploring a randomly generated haunted house and struggling to stay alive and sane. Then a key event called a haunt is triggered, which (usually) leads to one player betraying the whole group and everyone scrambling to stop some horrid thing from happening. The re-release version has 50 scenarios which are balanced mostly because the random element is so high, there's no favorite. The game requires modest reading skills and has a medium skill level. The random factor is high. Re-playability is very high, as there are fifty scenarios with a randomized "traitor" mechanic. It's a great party game that hardcore gamers can still have fun with non-gamers because it's quite approachable. Besides, who doesn't like the idea of turning out to be a werewolf and eating your friends? Cost: $35. Producer: Avalon Hill / Wizards of the Coast

themyrmidon:
I like the harbormaster variant, but as a whole Catan isn't one of my favorites. I'm more into Ameritrash (Cosmic Encounter, Battlestar Galactica, etc)

Hooray Ameritrash! Eurogames tend to cost double for tiny wood-paste pieces, then apply a disparaging label to rival games which frequently have nicer tokens and parts. I tend to be very disappointed when a Eurogame comes out with very simple mechanics (which I don't mind - that can be fun when mechanics are simple but deep) and an incredibly simple board that should have cost less than half what I wound up paying. At least the more expensive Ameritrash games have content and a mass of pieces that justify some of the price.

Two questions: have you checked out Twilight Imperium and Cheapass Games?

TheDrunkNinja:

Launcelot111:
snip

Wow, god forbid there's any risk to a game. I wouldn't call your friends snobs in terms of "elite board gamers". It seems to me they just can't think critically and blame the game for it.

As I said, I enjoy Catan, but there are other games that offer better resource systems than catan. For instance, instead of rolling for resources, there is a space to take wood/sheep/etc and you have to put a worker there, so if someone else has already taken the sheep for the round, then you have to wait and hope for next round or change your strategy or maybe even choose to pass but go first next time. And to add a new wrinkle, if no one takes a sheep for one turn, then there will be two sheep available next turn. Or some games let you choose the resource, but the randomness comes from rolling to see how many resources you'll get, and there will usually be a system in place where you can forgo actions to get tokens or something which will let you manipulate the dice and get more resources. There's plenty of room for critical thinking in these other systems, where in Catan, if the rolls really aren't going your way, then you have nothing to trade, exchange, build, or get cards with, so there's essentially no critical thinking going on. Also, a good game doesn't need to have a random element like dice to be unique every time.

dagens24:
Can you recommend some?

Sure thing. Ones I like with some similarity to Catan are:
Alien Frontiers: Using dice as workers to gather resources and build the most moon colonies
Lords of Waterdeep: D&D themed game where you gather troops to complete quest cards and score points
Agricola: You're a farmer, you gather resources, crops, and animals, plow fields, build houses and stables, and grow your family. There are lots of systems like a cooking system and a harvest cycle, so it's a little complicated for your first go
Stone age: You have a bunch of workers competing in a village for resources that they'll exchange for technologies and huts and stuff which score you points.
Castles of Burgundy: You have a plot of land and you roll for the opportunity to collect buildings and place them on your land, while other players are also trying to take your land. The strategy comes in when there are many different types of buildings that all have different effects when built, which allows you to change turn order or take free actions or buy special technologies

Board games with less similarity to Catan that I still recommend:
Game of Thrones (2nd ed): I have little knowledge of the show/books, but I love this game. It's military conquest, but with a big element of diplomacy/backstabbing, lots of room for creative play, and a different experience every time.
Invasion from Outer Space: One player is a Martian leader terrorizing Earth, everyone else is circus workers using their bizarre skills (contortion or firebreathing or being a human cannonball) to fight them off. There are lots of different characters and scenarios to play.
Chaos in the Old World: It's a Warhammer game where you play as a bunch of chaos gods who fight each other while trying to spread discord in a bunch of different regions
Cyclades: Set in ancient Greece, you bid against your opponents for the favor of different gods which allow you to build troops or buildings (eg Ares gives you soldiers, Poseidon gives you boats) in a race to build the most metropolises in the world.
Robo Rally: It's like Battlebots, but a board game. Super random, but goofy fun and there is skill in making the most of a bad situation or planning ahead through your turn

Launcelot111:

TheDrunkNinja:

Launcelot111:
snip

Wow, god forbid there's any risk to a game. I wouldn't call your friends snobs in terms of "elite board gamers". It seems to me they just can't think critically and blame the game for it.

As I said, I enjoy Catan, but there are other games that offer better resource systems than catan. For instance, instead of rolling for resources, there is a space to take wood/sheep/etc and you have to put a worker there, so if someone else has already taken the sheep for the round, then you have to wait and hope for next round or change your strategy or maybe even choose to pass but go first next time. And to add a new wrinkle, if no one takes a sheep for one turn, then there will be two sheep available next turn. Or some games let you choose the resource, but the randomness comes from rolling to see how many resources you'll get, and there will usually be a system in place where you can forgo actions to get tokens or something which will let you manipulate the dice and get more resources. There's plenty of room for critical thinking in these other systems, where in Catan, if the rolls really aren't going your way, then you have nothing to trade, exchange, build, or get cards with, so there's essentially no critical thinking going on. Also, a good game doesn't need to have a random element like dice to be unique every time.

dagens24:
Can you recommend some?

Sure thing. Ones I like with some similarity to Catan are:
Alien Frontiers: Using dice as workers to gather resources and build the most moon colonies
Lords of Waterdeep: D&D themed game where you gather troops to complete quest cards and score points
Agricola: You're a farmer, you gather resources, crops, and animals, plow fields, build houses and stables, and grow your family. There are lots of systems like a cooking system and a harvest cycle, so it's a little complicated for your first go
Stone age: You have a bunch of workers competing in a village for resources that they'll exchange for technologies and huts and stuff which score you points.
Castles of Burgundy: You have a plot of land and you roll for the opportunity to collect buildings and place them on your land, while other players are also trying to take your land. The strategy comes in when there are many different types of buildings that all have different effects when built, which allows you to change turn order or take free actions or buy special technologies

Board games with less similarity to Catan that I still recommend:
Game of Thrones (2nd ed): I have little knowledge of the show/books, but I love this game. It's military conquest, but with a big element of diplomacy/backstabbing, lots of room for creative play, and a different experience every time.
Invasion from Outer Space: One player is a Martian leader terrorizing Earth, everyone else is circus workers using their bizarre skills (contortion or firebreathing or being a human cannonball) to fight them off. There are lots of different characters and scenarios to play.
Chaos in the Old World: It's a Warhammer game where you play as a bunch of chaos gods who fight each other while trying to spread discord in a bunch of different regions
Cyclades: Set in ancient Greece, you bid against your opponents for the favor of different gods which allow you to build troops or buildings (eg Ares gives you soldiers, Poseidon gives you boats) in a race to build the most metropolises in the world.
Robo Rally: It's like Battlebots, but a board game. Super random, but goofy fun and there is skill in making the most of a bad situation or planning ahead through your turn

Awesome, thanks! I'll have to look into some of these.

thedoclc:

themyrmidon:
I like the harbormaster variant, but as a whole Catan isn't one of my favorites. I'm more into Ameritrash (Cosmic Encounter, Battlestar Galactica, etc)

Hooray Ameritrash! Eurogames tend to cost double for tiny wood-paste pieces, then apply a disparaging label to rival games which frequently have nicer tokens and parts. I tend to be very disappointed when a Eurogame comes out with very simple mechanics (which I don't mind - that can be fun when mechanics are simple but deep) and an incredibly simple board that should have cost less than half what I wound up paying. At least the more expensive Ameritrash games have content and a mass of pieces that justify some of the price.

Two questions: have you checked out Twilight Imperium and Cheapass Games?

I've played Twilight Imperium once, way too long for me. Thanks for showing me Cheapass Games.

If you're looking for a couple more in the "a bit more advanced that Catan" field, I highly recommend Power Grid or Puerto Rico.

That being said I absolutely love Catan, though I strongly prefer it vanilla. I think that part of the genius of the original game was how beer and pretzels it was. You could sit down and play it with very little extra going on beyond the core strategies, and I think the expansions took away from that quality to a degree.

I play Catan with my gf all the time she owns almost all the expansions. I find I am more into Twilight Emporium than Catan however because of the more complex strategy.

Settlers of Catan is one of the first games I got to go beyond the basic boardgames (Monopoly, Scrabble, etc) and I am loving it.

I also agree it's very relaxed, so we can all chat about something else, make jokes and whilst there is strategy, there's no need to have to think too hard about it.

TheDrunkNinja:

TheAmazingHobo:

You know, I really donīt see what is supposed to be funny about this.
Sometimes, you simply desperatly need some wood.
I, for example, often find myself not having enough wood in my hand.
And if one of my fellow players happens to have wood, maybe even massive amounts of wood, he could help me out.
With his wood.

You're right... I'm... sigh... I'm sorry. I was acting childish. I should have been more considerate of others that might not have as much wood as I do or as much wood as they used to. Sometimes it's hard to get some wood.

But that's not to say I'm not generous with the wood I have in my hand. If there's a player who needs some wood in their hands, I'm always glad to lend them mine. It's a good way to build friendships. :D

Is anyone sitting on some wood?

OT: I used to play it fairly often when I was younger, but now I haven't got time, nor enough friends who enjoy boardgames.

Yeah, it's pretty fun. I don't play it a whole lot, but when I do, I mostly play an expansion my friend has called Knights and Cities, or something like that.

TheDrunkNinja:

Launcelot111:
I hang out with a lot of board game snobs and Catan is looked down upon. I like it just fine, but a lot of people don't like the randomness of rolling for resources. If you really do like it, though, then I would suggest using it as a jumping off point for trying more games with better mechanics and strategy.

Wow, god forbid there's any risk to a game. I wouldn't call your friends snobs in terms of "elite board gamers". It seems to me they just can't think critically and blame the game for it.

The random factor of what resources you get is what makes each game of Settlers you play to be unique and not focused on a single set of strategies. Say, if I can't get the resources I need to build roads and settlements, I focus on other areas of the game such as upgrading to cities or buying development cards. The game offers many different avenues of what you can do if you're blocked from doing something else, and the expansions add to those possibilities. Adapting to the game in front of you is what makes you a good player.

And, yeah, sometimes the dice are just not in your favor, even for an entire game. But it's something everyone is potentially subjected to and there isn't anything "unfair" about it. Hell, I've still won games even when I had jackshit the entire time since I could adapt to my current conditions. And even then, Settlers still gives you other options if you don't like the randomness of the dice! There's the Catan Event Cards that are used in place of the dice that guarentee each number is drawn at least once but in higher and lower frequency based on the probability of each number. There's a solution for your friends!

After all, if it wasn't for the many random elements of Settlers, it would take away the unique nature of each game you play since everyone would just result in using whatever is considered the "best" strategy.

You don't need randomness to "think critically;" in fact, you don't even need randomness for risk. I'm sortof halfway on this issue (I think dice-rolling works alright in Catan, where you can minimize risk or work around bad luck sometimes, but it sucks in a lot of other games, like Risk), but I understand that some gamers want their victories and defeats to be caused by calculated action, not luck. If I've been beaten, I want it to be because someone played a better game than I did, or that they outsmarted me, not that they rolled better dice than I did, you know?

Take Diplomacy, for example. There's no random dice rolling, the starting positions are pretty much exactly the same in each game and the board is set the same way, but each game is completely different and there is no "best" strategy. If you lost, it's because your opponents had better positioning, and because they lied to you and you believed them.

Randomness isn't "unfair," but it often makes for a worse game.

RoonMian:
By the way, has anyone of you ever played "The Starfarers of Catan"? THAT was really awesome! :D

Holy crap it was! I should really play that more often. It totally kicks ass.

I do play Catan frequently with my family. It's great fun. Most of us prefer the version with knights and barbarians, and metropolis things, and the wizard that lets you trade resources two for one with the bank. That one's really fun.

I personally suck at the game. I barely ever win, and if I do, it's an incredible stroke of luck. I don't care though. It's still incredibly fun to play.

I've always wanted to give it a go as it looks fun and I have played the Xbox version.

If I ever see a game of it going at a con I will be all over that.

themyrmidon:

thedoclc:

themyrmidon:
I like the harbormaster variant, but as a whole Catan isn't one of my favorites. I'm more into Ameritrash (Cosmic Encounter, Battlestar Galactica, etc)

Hooray Ameritrash! Eurogames tend to cost double for tiny wood-paste pieces, then apply a disparaging label to rival games which frequently have nicer tokens and parts. I tend to be very disappointed when a Eurogame comes out with very simple mechanics (which I don't mind - that can be fun when mechanics are simple but deep) and an incredibly simple board that should have cost less than half what I wound up paying. At least the more expensive Ameritrash games have content and a mass of pieces that justify some of the price.

Two questions: have you checked out Twilight Imperium and Cheapass Games?

I've played Twilight Imperium once, way too long for me. Thanks for showing me Cheapass Games.

You're more than welcome. I love how you can have a library of tiny board games for next to nothing, even free.

Greyah:

RoonMian:
By the way, has anyone of you ever played "The Starfarers of Catan"? THAT was really awesome! :D

Holy crap it was! I should really play that more often. It totally kicks ass.

I do play Catan frequently with my family. It's great fun. Most of us prefer the version with knights and barbarians, and metropolis things, and the wizard that lets you trade resources two for one with the bank. That one's really fun.

I personally suck at the game. I barely ever win, and if I do, it's an incredible stroke of luck. I don't care though. It's still incredibly fun to play.

Seems like you're the only one which is a shame.

image

It is one of only two times that the trope "cool starship" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CoolStarship) is included in a board game.

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