Intro To: The Settlers of Catan

Here at the Round Table, we’ve collected a library of over 300 games. We’ve got everything from vintage games to new releases, and everything from grandfathers of entire genres, like Hero Quest, to modern party games, like Cards Against Humanity. Even in a collection including such noteworthy titles, probably the most acclaimed game in our library is The Settlers of Catan. It’s not necessarily the best game in our collection but it’s undeniably popular, and while it hasn’t defined a genre in the same way that Hero Quest has defined the dungeon crawler genre, for many people The Settlers of Catan is the sole reason why board games are still cool. If you’ve never played Catan, it’s something that you have to experience if only for how often it comes up in conversation as a comparison or reference point. Even if you’ve already played Catan over and over again, it’s a fantastic go-to staple for anyone looking for a good group game. If you’re familiar with the game and jonesing to play it, get a group together and head to The Round Table! If you’re unfamiliar with the game, read on for an introduction!

The Settlers of Catan is a competitive game for 3 to 4 players that can be played in 60 to 120 minutes. This light euro style game is played on the intersections of several hex-tiles arranged to form a honeycomb. Points are scored by building settlements, upgrading them to cities, expanding with the longest road or amassing the largest army. Each turn, a die is rolled indicating which hex tiles generate resources, and each settlement or city next to the relevant tiles provides resources to its owner. These resources can be used in specific combinations to build new roads, settlements, and cities and to purchase development cards which have powerful effects and can sometimes count for points. On top of the random resources generated each turn, players can trade their resources freely with each other, haggling over the best deals. Failing trades with other players, any player can trade resources with the game at a costly ratio. The various ports surrounding the island of Catan can be used by any player with an adjacent settlement or city to trade specific resources at a better rate. This can lead to scenarios where a player who has a plentiful sheep supply for example can outpace the other players by becoming a sheep baron and trading their sheep to the game for whatever resources they need on any given turn. If one player takes the lead, they’ll quickly find the other players using every resource at their disposal to slow their progress. Typically this begins with refusing trades, and can escalate when a lucky roll allows a player to move the robber to a tile adjacent to one of the leading player’s settlements. What’s the robber? In short, it’s a token that can be moved whenever a 7 is rolled, and steals a resource from a player adjacent to its tile. Making matters worse, it prevents that tile from generating resources until it is moved again!

The Settlers of Catan is a simple game to learn with great depth of strategy. This game has been recognized with several awards and owes much of its popularity to the fact that it appeals to both novice and seasoned gamers. Whether you fall into the first or second category, make a point of coming out to The Round Table and playing Catan! As a mid-length to lengthy game, Catan is a great game to play while you eat one of our exquisite menu items, and sip on a specialty cocktail.