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August 4, 2013
As a couple, me and Liam are a bit obsessed with board games (yeah, we’re such rock stars). Liam buys them, and I beat him at them. The latest to our collection is Settlers of Catan – you may have heard of it on the Big Bang Theory, as it’s a favourite for the group. Naturally, I assumed it would be ridiculously complicated, but actually it’s quite easy and loads of fun.
You start with a hexagon shaped frame which is filled with smaller hexagons. These smaller hexagons are grass fields, wheat fields, hills, cliffs and forests. Each of these hexagons (or hex’s) produce different resources – grass fields produce wool, wheat ones produce grain, hills produce brick (from clay), cliffs produce ore and forests produce wood. There is also a desert hex which produces nothing, and is home to a Robber (more on this bastard later).
To begin the game, you place a settlement, and road between 3 hex’s – the tactic here is to cover at least one of each hex so you get access to each resource. Your opponent does the same, and then you each do the same again, so you start with 2 settlements and 2 roads (lost? It’s really not as complicated when you have the game pieces in front of you!).
To add another element, each hex has a number token, which correspondents with the numbers produced from a 2 die roll. Then the game begins – each person rolls the two dice, and whichever player has their settlement on the hex which displays that number gets one resource.
By collecting your resources, you can trade them in to buy new settlements, upgrade your current settlements to cities, or build new roads. You can also trade in 4 of the same resource for 1 of another source and you can buy developer cards with your resources which can give you different bonuses.
Now, let’s discuss where the Robber comes in – if a player rolls a 7, they can move the Robber from the desert to any other hex on the board. The objective of this is to move the Robber on to the hex that your opponent is relying on to gain resources that they need. This is usually easy to tell, as the more settlements or cities you have, the more Victory Points you get (you need 10 to win). When you roll a 7, you also get to steal one resource from your opponent (although you can’t see which until you have it).
There are a few other elements in the game which throw a spanner in the works, but it’s a great strategy game (coming from someone who doesn’t generally like or do well with strategy games). If it sounds complex – remember that it’s a family game, and once you’ve played once it’s dead easy to make sense of it all!
Give Settlers of Catan a go – you never know, you might just enjoy it!