My freshman year of college, I was introduced to what was to become my favorite board game of all time: The Settlers of Catan.
I lived on the top floor of the tallest dorm on campus. There was a study lounge on one end of the floor. It was in this study lounge where some guys on my floor played Catan. They would get together for game nights a couple times a week (so… not much studying was getting done in the “study” lounge, hah).
One day, I saw them playing and asked what game it was. I’d never seen a game with such an odd-looking setup. They told me it was called Settlers of Catan and invited me to play with them. After teaching me the basics, we started playing. It was a while ago, so I don’t remember the exact setup I had during that first game, but I do remember winning. Call it beginners luck, or call it fate, but I was hooked.
We spent many nights playing Catan in that little study lounge. We would bring snacks we’d taken from the cafeteria and wear our coziest sweatpants, and spend hours playing. Players can decide to have the board change every game if they want, which makes it new every time. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I never get tired of playing it!
The main goal in Settlers of Catan is to get 10 victory points. You attain victory points by building various structures on the island of Catan. Every player is a certain color, and basically you are trying to settle Catan faster than everyone else. In order to build new roads, settlements and cities, you need to gather resources. The five resources consist of wood, sheep, ore, wheat and brick. Different combinations of resources are used to build things. For example, with two ore and three wheat, you can build yourself a bustling little city on the island of Catan.
The entire board is made up of hexagons, with each hexagon being a resource. There’s a number token placed on the resource, and when that number is rolled (the sum of two dice), anyone with a settlement or city built on that hexagon receives that resource. Each game can differ based on where the resources and number tokens are.
Settlers of Catan has a good balance of strategy and luck. You need to know where to build your settlements and cities, but you also need to get your numbers rolled.
After I played Catan for a few years (and probably talked about it way to much) my parents got me the board game and the expansion for Christmas. Once I owned the game, I would try to play with everyone I knew, especially if they had never heard of the game before. It is my mission to spread my love of Catan!
I found an online version of the game that I love playing called Xplorers. It is somewhat of a knock-off version of the game, but I think it’s far better than the certified online Catan game. The graphics are simple, but there are so many different scenarios to choose from. I play online almost every day (it’s very addicting, and much faster than playing the board game IRL). Unfortunately, they are no longer accepting new users on the site I play on. If you are reading and interested in seeing how the site works, follow us on twitter to find out when I’ll be streaming next! If you ever see me streaming Catan, which I hope to do more in the near future, it’s through this site, which can be found here.
Look for future posts about my strategy for the game – which could help you if you are new to the game. However, if you are unlucky there’s not much even this nerdmaid can do to help.
P.S. Does anyone know if mermaids are even considered lucky?