Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Unofficial Guide To Catan, Part 3

I wrote Part 1 and Part 2 of my unofficial guide to all things Catan back in 2007... and a lot has changed since then. So, consider this an unofficial update.

The Settlers of Catan

The 4th American edition (pictured here) is now pretty much all you can find - that's not a bad thing, mind you, but those with pre-2007 sets will want to hunt down the adaptor kit from Mayfair Games.

There's also a $150 all-wood 15th anniversary edition if you feel like blowing your hard-earned gaming money on something pretty.

The last "big box" expansion for Catan, Traders & Barbarians, has been published in English. As I don't own a copy myself, I can only comment on the description of the expansion - it sounds like they've adapted some of the earlier small expansions (Fishermen, Caravan) and some of the Das Buch scenarios (Barbarians) into a larger format. I think that's a great idea... but since I've got a German set, I've got to figure out how to get a German copy of it.

Catan: Histories

I wrote about Settlers of the Stone Age in my earlier post... we played it again earlier this year and it held up better than I thought it would. It's not a "play once a week" kind of game (due to the set board) but it's really got some interesting variations on the basic Catan mechanics that work well together.

I had also mentioned Struggle for Rome (but hadn't played it). I've since remedied that & found it to be enjoyable but with seemingly less options than Settlers of the Stone Age. There is an official online variant from the designer of Catan, Klaus Teuber, that I'd like to try.

The most recent addition to this line is Settlers of America: Trails to Rails... which takes some ideas from Settlers of the Stone Age & some from the Das Buch train scenario & some from more typical train game roots and smushes them together into an interesting but MUCH too long game of westward expansion. (This is very possibly the first Catan product which I've had NO interest in personally owning.)

BTW, each of these games are independent of the base game - they come with all the pieces and equipment needed to play them.

Catan: Geographies

So far, there's only one stand-alone game in the Geographies series: Germany. I have not played or seen it.

There are a number of Geographies poster maps... but they have only been available in the US as prizes in convention contests. Honestly, I think this isn't a terribly wise policy - hopefully Mayfair will begin making these available for purchase.

The Rivals For Catan

Klaus Teuber has been working long & hard on a reboot of the Settlers Card Game... and it was just released this fall. The Rivals For Catan looks to be easier to learn (you can add complexity in steps), quicker to play, and - since it is being released in the U.S. & Europe at the same time - less likely to get caught in the odd packaging issues that plagued the earlier game.

I haven't played it yet - but that's just a matter of time. When I do, I'll post a review here on the blog.

Catan Dice Game

The dice game is now available in the U.S. in both a basic & a deluxe edition (shown here). As much as I like Catan, there are better dice games.

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