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Mayfair Games: The Settlers of Catan – Review

July 27, 2011

Publisher Mayfair Games
Genre Board Game
Number of Players 3 to 4
Play Time 1 hour
Initial Review Date 3/26/11
Last Updated 3/26/11
FAQ
Files/Tools Settlers of Catan plushies – Purchase
Click here to Play
Click here to Play Online

In this board game each player represents a group of settlers that have come to live on the island of Catan. The island is broken up into 6 different types of lands. Each of which produces a specific resource as follows.

  • Mountains – Ore
  • Forests – Lumber
  • Fields – Wheat
  • Pastures – Wool
  • Hills – Clay
  • Desert – No Resource

Each Land tile also seeded with a numbered disk. The disks range from 2 to 12 (but there is no 7).

Game Play

At the start of the game each player starts with 2 settlements and 2 roads. Settlements are placed on corners where 2 or more tile points meet and roads are placed on edges. While the settlements may be placed anywhere roads must be attached to the placed settlements.

Additionally, no settlement may be placed where it is possible to connect them with fewer than 2 roads.

A player begins their turn by rolling 2 six-sided dice. These are then added together. Any lands with the corresponding number produce their goods for players located on those lands. As a result some numbers are much more likely to occur then other numbers. Goods in the game are represented by cards with a corresponding picture.

If a 7 is rolled all players must discard half of their goods if they have more than 7. Afterwards the player who rolled the 7 may move a “thief” piece and place it over a numbered disk. This temporarily prevents this tile from producing goods. Additionally, the player who placed the thief may now steal a good from a player who has a settlement or city touching that tile.

Resources may then be traded. However, only the player whose turn it is may trade goods, but they may trade goods with any player. After trading, the player may then use their resources to build one or more of the following

  • Road
  • Settlement
  • City
  • Development Card

Roads: These may only be placed so that they join roads and/or settlements/cities that you own. The player with the longest road scores 2 points provided that their “longest road” consists of 5 or more road segments.

Settlements: As discussed earlier each settlement gives 1 good per land it touches when that land is rolled. Additionally, each settlement is worth a point.

Cities: Settlements may be upgraded to become cities. Cities produce 2 goods but are otherwise like settlements.

Development Cards: These cards allow for a variety of actions and some just give points. The most common type of card is the soldier card which when played allows you to move the thief to a new location and steal a good. The player who has played the most solider cards scores 2 points for having the “largest army” but only if they have played at least 3 solider cards.

Winning

Each game is played to a set number of points and the first player to reach that number wins. Because of this it is not unusual for the longest road and largest army achievements (each represented by a small cardboard placards) to exchange hands during the course of the game.

Additionally, because you have a limited number of settlements and cities you are forced to upgrade at least a few of your settlements just to free up those pieces

You also have a limited number of road segments meaning that if you want to get the longest road achievement you need to plan ahead to avoid an unfortunate dead-end or doubling since you can not backtrack when determining a road’s length.

Conclusion

The game is a lot of fun and it’s not surprising that it has become so wildly popular over the years. One major downside that I see to the game is you do not have much flexibility when it comes to number of players. It’s easy to end up with too few or too many players. This fact alone prevented me from being able to really try the game for several years.


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One comment

  1. I started playing Settlers of Catan last year. It is no doubt the most addictive board game I’ve ever played.



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