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133 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific game, best played with good friends
This game is awesome. You need to be strategic, think beyond your next move, be intuitive about what your opponents will do next. We love all games in our family, any will do, but this game is different to your Cranium or Balderdash-type games which have dominated the market recently. It's cleverer than the traditional games, like monopoly or even chess, as well. I...
Published on 8 Feb 2008 by KB

versus
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good to start with
at first my brothers (and me) loved this game. its strategic, fun and seriously clever. also by changing the board around theres almost an infinite number of possible games. but sooner or later we started to realise that there wasn't actually that much skill-it mostly depended on the layout and who starts the game to decide who wins. however by bying the traders and...
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by Yael


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133 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific game, best played with good friends, 8 Feb 2008
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
This game is awesome. You need to be strategic, think beyond your next move, be intuitive about what your opponents will do next. We love all games in our family, any will do, but this game is different to your Cranium or Balderdash-type games which have dominated the market recently. It's cleverer than the traditional games, like monopoly or even chess, as well. I would not recommend it for playing with those easily offended (putting the robber on some people's land can be risky) or those that are aggressive game-players because this is a thoughtful game, where sometimes you have to attack your opponents even if you don't really want to.

Once you get over the tedious explanation of how to play, and everyone gets started, people realise the game is actually very simple. The game never plays the same way twice; Every time you lay out the board, it is different, the odds of gaining the cards of your choice are random, and the way your opponents want to behave is equally unpredictable. You often have no idea whether you have a chance of winning for most of the game.

One of the main advantages of the game is that it can played by an odd number of people, three can play a very good game. Also, this is one of the few games that two people can play and not be tedious. When we play with two, we adapt it slightly and are a little kinder to one another to help the flow of the game. We use the robber (he can steal other people's resource cards and stop you gaining more) but we say after about three rounds he can go back to the desert until a seven is thrown again - the robber otherwise can sit preventing you from getting resource cards for far too long because the odds of throwing the seven and him being moved are reduced when only two play. We also let ourselves collect as many resource cards as we want (in the rules you put yourself in jeopardy of losing cards when you have more than seven) - we find we develop our game in a more interesting way and keep it fast this way. Also, we decide at the outset whether we play to the winning score of 10, 12 or 14 which allows the game a little more time to play out, if wanted. If the game is very even and we are both close to winning we sometimes extend the score we are working towards to play for longer.

My only criticism of this game is, in this new version, the sea section is now in adjoining pieces that do not sit properly allowing the inner pieces too much movement and a messy board is the result. In the older version the tiles for the sea were the same as the tiles of land, and it was a much nicer looking board. We were so frustrated by the hopeless new design (our roads and settlements kept falling through gaps) that we had to score each sea section with a craft knife in two places so that we could force it to sit flat. The board is now better than the original because the sea holds it all together. The maufacturers should score these sections, because already some parts that we scored are not wearing as well as I would like and will, in time, look shabbier than if it was professionally done in the factory.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, smart and very entertaining, 16 April 2008
By 
Mr. P. E. A. Mcarthur "PyroTyger" (Grimsby, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
If you're wondering whether you'd enjoy this game: It's like a cross between Monopoly and Risk, with about the same level of complexity, and with all the benefits of both and none of the drawbacks.

It has enough random elements to make it exciting (dice, cards and board-setup), but without making it arbitrary - which seems to be a failing of Monopoly. This means you can have a good or a bad few turns, but a good strategy will make all the difference over time.

The bartering of resources with other players is a key component of the game, and again it's possible for a good mercantile thinker to turn this to their advantage. It's fascinating - and amusing - to see the market swing in two turns from "All I've got is 4 Wood" to "I'll give anyone any 3 resources for a bit of WOOD!!!"

The combination of short-term goals and long-term strategies give it that Risk-like feeling of rewarding achievements, but without the aggressive style of play. There is no attacking or defending per-se - you just have to out-grow the other settlers. You can only really win by being a more successful cooperator than the other players!

As others have said, you never feel that the game's over until the last turn. Unlike Risk, Monopoly or most of the other conquest games, everybody's in with a fighting chance until the very end...

All in all, this is a beautifully well-rounded game. It's simple enough for anyone except very young children to pick it up and have a go, but balanced and dynamic enough for the more demanding gamer to get stuck-in. I've seen game-fanatics and "toys are for little people" snobs get just as caught up in the same game, and there have been many genuinely funny moments.
It's quite simply the perfect "get a couple of friends over for a bottle of wine" game. Heartily recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best boardgame I've ever played, although I'm not an expert, 9 Sep 2013
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
I'm not a boardgame geek; nothing against boardgame geeks because if they didn't exist, I'd never have heard about this game, but I can't claim to be one. My gaming experience consists of the usual childhood games (Monopoly, Cluedo, Sorry); a little bit of teenage wargaming (Avalon Hill titles like my dad's old copy of Tactics II and a cousin's copy of Panzer Leader); some D&D, Traveller, Car Wars and that kind of thing, followed by a repeat of the traditional boardgames (Monopoly etc.) once I'd become a parent. So, this review is aimed not at boardgame fans but at people like me, who had come to consider boardgames a mildly annoying ordeal you had to go through in order to entertain your kid on a wet weekend.

I bought this game because I have a six-year-old daughter and I was sick of losing Monopoly to her. (Not just Junior Monopoly, either. The grown-up kind.) Although I'm not a boardgame geek I have geekish tendencies in other ways, and knowing a little game theory I guessed that games must have moved on a bit since Monopoly. I did a little research and read about the revolution in board games that's happened in the last 20-odd years, and since Settlers of Catan seemed to be one of the most popular games out there, I gambled that there must be something good about it.

To be honest, our first attempt to play it was not successful. I was unprepared for a whole new way of thinking about boardgames, I hadn't manage to memorise the rules, and my daughter got impatient with how long it took to set the game up and my inability to know off the top of my head what should happen at any given moment. We didn't get very far.

I then did something that, for me, is unusually clever: I bought it for my phone, and played a number of games on it myself, so as to learn the rules. This turned out to be a good idea, because when I subsequently suggested we play, my daughter was eager to have another go, and since I knew what was supposed to happen in each turn, we played for two hours straight before she finally inched a win (not without some dice-fudging on my part, but that's how you get kids interested). Anyone with small children will know how rare it is for a six-year-old to concentrate on any activity for two hours.

Games like Settlers of Catan work because they're more lifelike than the traditional boardgame, without any loss of structure. Anyone familiar with Monopoly is familiar with the boredom associated with waiting for other players to take their turns, and the impotence associated with it. All you can do is stand by and watch while they do things; Monopoly forbids almost all kinds of interaction between players. Settlers of Catan thrives on interaction, playing almost like a conversation with rules. Monopoly is also a zero-sum game: for one person to win, it's almost inevitable that everyone else must lose pretty spectacularly, and so the outcome of any given game is usually very predictable long before the game itself finally grinds to an end. In Settlers of Catan, you can be neck and neck all the way along and winners tend to win by the tiniest margin, making it constantly exciting.

It's a superb game and I wish I'd earned about games like it earlier. It has flow; as soon as my daughter picked up on what she could do in any given round, she never got bored. Yes, we were doing a two-player game and that's not supposed to be a good idea but trust me, it can be done. I could wish that the board were more durable-looking and that it were easier to play the game on a carpet, as opposed to on a table, but it's still possible. I foresee myself spending a lot of money on the expansion sets. I'm hooked.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent game, 24 Dec 2007
By 
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
This is a 'must-have' for all intelligent gamers and for families (12 years and up) who are prepared to spend a little while learning the (fairly intuitive) rules and an hour or two playing the game.

The game is really not too tough to learn. The game board and pieces are attractive and durable. It takes a few minutes to set up and a game will probably last for an hour or two. Every game is different. There is always something for all players to do and you never seem to know who is winning until near the end.

If you really enjoy the game there are various extension sets available. I have purchased the 5/6 player extension and this works really well. My family have spent many hours playing this game.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll give you a Grain and a Sheep for an Ore..., 1 Mar 2008
By 
A. Giannotta (Sunbury, Middx, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
I felt I just had to mention the whole bartering part of the game; it's great fun.
Like the previous reviewer, I love the new board and it's a lovely, snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug fit. I've introduced the game to a few friends, some of whom are not normally into games, and they all love it. If learning the game seems a bit too much effort they have their own dedicated website to teach you how to play!
If you're not sure about whether this game is for you, check it out and you'll see what it's all about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous game with lots of different avenues for excitement, 28 Dec 2009
By 
A. Lloyd "singer" (Bath, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
We always buy a board game or two for Christmas and, having bought Carcassonne last year, and enjoyed it, I thought it time to upgrade to Catan! We all really love it, for the reasons already discussed here in the reviews. But I also wanted to mention the fact that, even when it's not your 'turn,' the design of the game means that things happen that are relevant to you, taking away the linear boredom of 'oh, it's not my turn, so I'll go and put the kettle on'. The various ways to win are also a big plus point...do you build the longest road? Have the largest army? Or just go hell for leather and build the most cities? Best game on the market for us (family of four - two boys aged 9 and 7)!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New set, same game, 9 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. J. R. Scholes (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
We were introduced to Settlers of Catan by a friend, and have played on his board on many occasions. Having bought the new edition, I can now say that the new design is very nice. It took a couple of games to get used to what was what but my wife and I now play happily.

The pieces are still good quality wooden affairs, the tiles themselves are just as wellmade as before (now backed with sea rather than plain). Regarding the frame, ours is a anug fit, but I put that down to it being new. We haven't needed to make any alterations as the above commenter has, so his may be an unfortunate batch.

The overall look is very nice, the gameplay is as before, and I thoroughly recommend it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good to start with, 14 Sep 2011
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
at first my brothers (and me) loved this game. its strategic, fun and seriously clever. also by changing the board around theres almost an infinite number of possible games. but sooner or later we started to realise that there wasn't actually that much skill-it mostly depended on the layout and who starts the game to decide who wins. however by bying the traders and barbariens extension we sorted this out-definately recommended once youve bought the core game.
also the pieces are not very durable-the cardboard easily tears and bends-we ended up having to hold it together with blue tack. the box isn't really designed for the pieces either.
also some versions of the game dont fit together- we bought an extension for our cousins in isreal and it turned at their core game wouldn't fit ours. so be aware.
overall a good game-if you're prepared to dish out another [] quid
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marmite, 6 Nov 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
Let's not lie to each other before we go ahead with our own blistering opinions: Catan is a brilliantly crafted game. But, like Marmite, not for everyone.

In Settlers of Catan you build a little hex island and proceed to build settlemens and roads in an attempt to amass points to win the game. It's pretty dry for those that are heavy on theme, and it's those players that struggle most. They see the game as essentially a farming simulation game, gathering wool and grain to build stuff. It's all very Civilization, Settlers, Age of Empires etc, for those video gamers out there. Except without the war.

The game is basically souped up chess. You build according to your opponents, trying to occupy certain spaces before they can, or just blocking their path sometimes. It can get messy and, for inexperienced players, it's easy to get boxes in and have a very grim game. This happened with at least one person who no refuses to play again.

The game is a lot more strategic than luck based. There is a luck element in it - down to the dice rolls - but this levels out eventually and rarely gives unfair boosts.

Personally, I love the game, but only with certain people. Those who prefer a strategic game of slow pace. The only complaint I have is that the end can come quickly and fulfilling, with one player going "Oh, by the way, I've won."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family Gaming, 12 May 2009
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Settlers of Catan (Toy)
Our family has played several board games, beginning with Risk, Diplomacy, Civilisation and Puerto Rico.
We tend to prefer games with less conflict, as these cause fewer arguments.

This was a recent purchase, and proved to be a good one.

The rules require some thought, and I recommend playing a non-competitive game initially to master the rules, as the purpose of the game is to form groups of settlements and roads, something which it seems is best understood with the pieces in your hands.

The strategic basics easy to understand, but complex to master, meaning the game quickly becomes fun and competitive, and will remain so.

We have however found that those who initially do well, tend to remain in front, while those that lag behind seem to struggle to catch up in the later stages, although this may correct itself as we become used to the game.

The luck element of the game with dice rolling is also a disadvantage, as this can lead to periods where you seem to do very little as everyone else progresses, which is a mildly frustrating part of the gameplay.

A good game, but I believe Puerto Rico to be better.
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