First Time for Everything – Settlers of Catan


So a wonderful part of Christmas was having our friends Sarah and Cale come and stay for a few days.

Now, Mrs BSG is a nerd, but only in specific ways. She is a Trekkie, a ‘Dark Fantasy’ fan and with some work I’ve got her playing games to a limited extent, mainly with the best gateway drug invented: Fluxx.

Fluxx is great as its a highly fun easy to pick up game that can be taught in 2 minutes. It’s also best described as stealth geeky, as from here it’s only a hop, skip and D6 to much nerdier things.

So I’ve been looking for a long time for the next game to use for this plan, and when our friends bought us SoC as a Christmas gift we were away!

As for the game itself its a simple game of colonial domination. It’s a resource game where you tactically build settlements to gather the different resource types which are then used to build further roads, settlements, cities and buy development cards which help you in the game.

For more info, as ever Will Wheaton has beaten me to it, with another entertaining video from the excellent Tabletop here.

So I’ve got a strange history with this game. I saw it being played about 14 years ago and couldn’t understand why you’d play a game that had no combat. As I have said before, I was young, foolish and very combat focused. But it seems like coffee, red wine and working for a living looking at it now I have a different, more mature view.

The game is very tactical and marvellously well written. The resource economy at the core of the game works well and efforts to corner the market through placement or development cards are well rewarded. It is also a great game for plotting and scheming, as long as your plans have some wiggle room!

The game we played was interesting and challenging, close until a good streak of building and resources sealed a win for Cale, representing the dominion of Canada. And no, the irony of losing to a person from the colonies was not lost on me!

Like all beginning players we learnt the robber will mess up your plans and ports are good and sometimes you will have to have Wood for Sheep.

I’m looking forward to playing again, the game seems to have the chess-like quality of being easy to start but having lots of depth.

For me though the most ringing endorsement was the reaction of Mrs BSG who said after the game asked me to arrange people to play more games of SoC. This is a first for any game we have played. When I asked her why, she showed her competitive side ‘I want to play more, get better, then crush those Canadians!’

So what are everyone elses thoughts on this modern classic?


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