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Friday, May 18, 2007

Game Night: Settlers Of Catan

Here's some proof on how finely designed Settlers of Catan really is: take four people, ranging from having played the game a few times to never before and break out the box.. With many board games this would require plenty of explanation and anyone new to the game would be at a severe disadvantage unless much of the mechanics relied on luck. With Catan, certainly a portion of the mechanics (resource creation) are luck ... but a majority of the game is how your strategy of expansion works. The rules take about ten minutes to explain if someone has already played once - longer if you have to drift through and parse the relatively short rulebook.

The game ends when a player reaches ten victory points. The end score was 8,9,9 and 10. The ten went to someone who hadn't played. Catan is a lesson in mechanics - you can't get too far ahead doing any one thing. You have to trade with others. You have to plan a little ahead. And then, after all that, luck helps out.

I'm very glad Catan has made it's way to Xbox Live - however at the same time I'd say to any 360 users who have liked the game online ... pick up the boxed edition. I'm sure the experience is similar, but there's something social about having the game on a table in the middle of some friends which you might find as a bonus.

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