29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Simple, smart and very entertaining,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
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.