Posts Tagged ‘settlers of catan’

The Freefarers Of Catan: Expanze Impressions

The boardgame I’ve played the most times, by far, is Settlers of Catan – and that’s not something I expect to change by time I reach my deathbed. Sure, it’s obvious, but it’s also a sweetspot of strategy and competition, as early co-operation turns to bitter rivalry and even the merest mention of sheep can reduce grown adults to shivering balls of purest hatred. I gravitated towards Lukáš Beran’s free, boardgame-like Expanze, which made no secret of its Catanic ways, with mixed excitement and anxiety. Excitement: Catan! Anxiety: But is it just a cheap’n’nasty, slavish rip-off?

No, it isn’t. It’s based on Catan’s essential mechanics – the gathering of brick, wood, sheep, ore and wheat, and the spending of these on the expansion of your agrarian empire – but it goes off and does its own thing with them. Better still, it turns them into a surprisingly workable singleplayer game.
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yo kids, boardgames are cool again

Here’s the splendid boardgame Settlers of Catan running on Microsoft’s potentially splendid Surface tech. Surface is touchscreen-mega-PC theoretical fun, but more likely to be built into tables in public spaces than to be something you hook up to your own device. Here’s how it could work for social videogaming (in the traditional sense of social, not the FarmVille sense). I’m fighting my overwhelming urge to grumble “but why don’t they just play the boardgame? It must be far cheaper” – because I suspect that’s very much missing the point.
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Settling For Less

Ask me what my favourite games are, and once you’ve snoozed through me banging on about X-COM, Dungeon Keeper and Planescape: Torment yet again, you might catch me trying to sneak The Settlers of Catan into my list. While the PC’s cutsey-management Settlers series is loosely based on it, they’re two very distinct entities.

Catan is a boardgame, as you probably know – a German boardgame about grain and sheep and tiny wooden roads. One of the things I’ve always liked about it is that, when describing it to anyone, their brows will furrow with the understandable concern of someone who thinks they’re trapped in conversation with a European farming enthusiast. Get them into a game, however, and they’ll slip into its fine blend of socialising and intense competition as if they’ve been playing it their whole lives.
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