Friday Evening criteria include a) play or watchability, and b) fun for all ages!
This Friday Evening, sit back, semi-relax, and try to out-settle your opponents in Settlers of Catan!
Settlers of Catan is a competitive game. The goal is to get to ten Victory Points before everyone else – but remember to manage your resources well, and watch out for the Robber!
The game is for 3-4 players, (5 and 6 players with extra player expansions) and is randomized every game in terms of where resources are.
The players in the game are settlers establishing colonies on the island of Catan. Players build settlements and cities, with roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board (the island) is composed of hexagonal tiles (hexes) of different land types. (Pasture, woods, mountains, etc.)
This is a super fun game that usually takes anywhere from 60-80 minutes, theoretically. (I’ve had games go over two hours.) It just depends on dice rolls and where resources are, as well as your use of special cards.
Gameplay goes like this:
On your turn, you roll the two six-sided dice, to find out which hexes produce resources. Any player with settlements or cities next to hexes marked with the number rolled receive resource cards of the appropriate type.
There is also a robber token, initially on the desert; if a player rolls 7, the robber gets moved to another hex (of the person who rolled 7’s choice,) which will no longer produce resources until the robber is moved again; the player may also steal a resource card from another player. Also when a 7 is rolled, all players with more than 7 resource cards must discard half. However, the player gets to choose which half of their resource cards they discard. (For odd numbers over seven you round down. So if you have 9, you discard 4.)
Players can also trade resource cards with each other; players may also trade off-island (with the bank) at a ratio of four to one resource for one of any other. By building settlements by marked ports (near the edge of the board,) the ratio for that player goes down to three-to-one, or two-to-one, determined by the port’s location. You can also spend resource cards to buy development cards, which include soldier cards (allowing you to move the robber as if a 7 had been rolled,) cards worth one victory point, and cards that grant you one of three abilities when played.
You win by getting 10 victory points first. Settlements are worth one, cities are worth two, and extra victory points are attainable through having the longest road or the largest army.
Overall, this is a really fun game, and a great party game. Catan also has several expansion packs, the major ones being Traders and Barbarians, Cities and Knights, and Seafarers. I have only ever played Seafarers – friends tell me that Cities and Knights makes the game super complicated, expanding the role of cities. I have not heard a lot on Traders and Barbarians, but it changes the game mechanics, just like the other expansion packs. The expansion packs can be combined with a bit of creativity as to rules, and if you don’t mind a board two or three times as large. (This is a very large board game – card table is the best option, or a large dining room table.) If you want to play an expansion with 5 or 6 players, you need to get the extra player expansion for both the base game and the expansion you plan on playing with. I’d recommend this game for ages 10 and up, as long as you can plan ahead and have decent strategy skills.
Have fun with your evening!