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156 of 160 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2008
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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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
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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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2013
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2015
UPDATE: I contacted Mayfair Games in the US and they kindly sent through a replacement set of tiles. My comment on the quality of the wooden pieces stands. I may paint them myself. Rating updated.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:
Just received a new copy of Settlers of Catan and was disappointed at the poor quality of the tiles and wooden pieces. All hex pieces mis-cut so there is a wide border on three sides and colour up to the edge on the other three, round counters with the numbers off towards the edge, wooden pieces hardly painted so the poor quality wood shows through. I wouldn't enjoy playing with such sub-standard pieces, and it's a real surprise compared to the quality of pieces in games like Carcassonne.
All in all it looks like Mayfair Games have found a way to shave a few pennies off their production costs. It's not what I expected from such a respected game.
Going straight back. Three photos uploaded.
review image review image review image
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2007
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2014
was highly recommend and was good fun and very vey easy to learn, but after a while you realise that strategy will only take you so far. Most of it is down to luck. Would def recommend for a family with kids of mixed ages but for an all adult game it will get boring after a while.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2008
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2008
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2013
Settlers was a revelation when it first came out. Now, many far better games have surpassed it. I've not played with any of the expansions (though I rather think that board games shouldn't need expansions to improve them), but the base game is pretty luck-heavy. Whilst players may not be eliminated from the game before the end, it's perfectly possible - and not uncommon, if playing with experienced players - to spend three or four consecutive rounds with nothing much to do if the dice go against you, and if this does happen, you can find yourself pretty much out of contention.

Fun for a while, but I'd look at things like 7 Wonders, Fresco, or Ticket to Ride before going with Settlers...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This game very much speaks for itself nowadays with its recent rise to popularity. However, to sum it up quickly, this is a turn based strategy board game that sees you attempt to reach a certain number of points before the other players, by build settlements and roads. You will also deploy knights and harvest resources in your quest for dominance of the isle of Catan. Once a game only played by hardcore gamers, this has sparked something in the general populace. The game itself, while at first appearing complicated is actually pretty simple, certainly no more complex than monopoly. It has a great deal of tactics and strategy, but equally the elements of luck mean even beginners have a chance. There is no doubt that with four players it can be tough to win and is infinitely frustrating when some puts a road right through your carefully crafted master-plan, but that is what makes winning so satisfying.
Pros - Great game that has lots of reply value, plus loads of cool expansion packs.
Cons - can be ridiculously frustrating if you don't get any luck as there really is little you can do when the dice don't go your way.
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