Sunken Treasures Games

What’cha Been Playing – Catan

catan01 The first time I heard of Catan was over three years ago — Shane Bettenhausen was talking about the on the 1Up Yours podcast. And by talking about it, I mean raving about it. At the time, I didn’t understand his description of the game so I didn’t pay any attention to it. This last Tuesday our friend Adam picked up a copy of the Catan board game and taught Aaron and I how to play. Much to our surprise we thoroughly enjoyed it so we ended up picking up our own copy the next day.

Catan is an island built of hexagons and each player builds settlements and roads to collect various resources to gain Victory Points. The first player who gets to 10 Victory Points wins the game. Each hexagon is a different resource type that is randomly placed on the island. Players take turns rolling the dice to see which hexagon produces resources, trade resources with other players or the bank, and then spend their resources on building more roads and settlements.

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There are a few different ways to get the Victory Points (VP) you need to win the game. Settlements are worth 1 VP, and cities are worth 2 VPs (as well as 1 additional resource). Achievements like having the longest road or the largest army win you additional VPs. There are also development cards that grant you VPs.

The mechanics of the game are pretty simple but there is quite a degree of strategy as well. If you are unable to get the resources you need because of where you put your original two settlements, you are in for a rough game. If you are able to cut off an opponent from creating a longer road, the less settlements they will be able to build the more settlements you can potentially build.

Shane’s excitement was for the XBOX Live! Arcade version of the game that was being released around the time they were recording the podcast. I had totally forgotten about the XBLA version of the game until this afternoon. But we happened to have the extra 800 Microsoft Space Bucks so we downloaded it and I’ve spent all night playing it!

The A.I. on easy seems to be very forgiving and even nice at times. There were a few occasions where an A.I. player traded me two resources for just one of my resources. The A.I. on medium wasn’t so obliging though. They weren’t so eager to see me succeed, and were more stingy when trading resources.

In the three hours I spent playing, I played four games (I’m 1 for 4). To be honest, I am not the best at strategy games. Instead of planning things out, I like to “wing it” which sometimes lands me with not enough resources to make the moves I would like to make. Regardless, the game is still very fun. The music is pretty, if not soothing. Actually, I turned the volume down and listened to Team DeathChat and Retronauts so I wouldn’t fall asleep since I was playing pretty late at night.

This game is a blast and was definitely worth the money. I see many evenings in my future playing this until I fall asleep — I just know it. And speaking of falling asleep… it’s 1:54am so it is about time to wrap this up. Overall, if you like strategy games this one is worth a shot, I highly recommend it.

4 Responses to “What’cha Been Playing – Catan”

  1. I’m still interested in peeking at the 350 dollar 3D version of the game that they have at the store in the Uptown. MIND BLOWING.

  2. I first played the board game at PAX a couple years ago. I also have the XBLA version of it that I should try playing again sometime.

  3. @Crazyhowie – if you are down, we should play online multiplayer sometime.

  4. Absolutely.

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