Maybe you’ve seen it sitting on a bookshelf or a coffee table at someone’s home. If they own the original, the Base Game, your eye was likely attracted by the bold red and yellow case.
And, if you’re like many people, especially those over 50, you may not have heard of it or are at least unfamiliar with it. If that’s true for you let’s just say that the tsunami originally known as “The Settlers of Catan” just missed you.
But it’s not too late to jump in!
Catan Is A Game Unlike Any Other
The Catan base game is the beginning of the Catan board game universe and where all players typically begin. A spellbinding mix of strategy, social interaction, commerce, and chance, it is much more than a typical role-playing game.
The Wikipedia entry describes the gameplay,
“Catan, previously known as The Settlers of Catan or simply Settlers, is a multiplayer board game designed by Klaus Teuber. It was first published in 1995 in Germany by Franckh-Kosmos Verlag (Kosmos) as Die Siedler von Catan. Players take on the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players gain points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, wins.”
While this may sound fairly uncomplicated and even a bit prosaic, (C’mon! Settlers? Really?) fans and role-playing board game aficionados all attest to the addictive appeal of the game series.
Trying to answer the question of why the appeal of Catan, one writer in The Daily Buzz noted that,
“When you pair the relatively simple goal with a few different strategies to achieve victory, the result is a game that is easy to get the hang of but hard to master. As with any game involving dice, there is also an element of luck that levels the playing field for veterans and new players alike.”
A Brief Overview of the Catan Universe
When we mentioned “A Night of Fun” in the title of this article, we weren’t exaggerating. Players have been known to literally spend hours upon hours with the game, playing long into the night. Repeatedly!
So, let’s take a look at the games – yes, games in the plural since there are quite a few – and see what stirs your adventurous, role-playing spirit.
Catan: The Base Game
First and foremost, there is the Base Game.
The official description from the Catan website captures it well,
“Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: the race to settle the island has begun!”
Designed for 3-4 players, the base game requires skill at clever trading, strategy, tactical skill, and luck. The expected game time is between 45 and 90 minutes.
However, in addition to the base game, there are what are known as expansions – additional game boards that are integrated into the base game and expand the gameplay. These expansions contain additional game board frame pieces, which are combined with the frame pieces of the CATAN base game to assemble frames of variable size.
The Four Official Base Game Expansions
To play the four expansions, you need the Base Game. You can also combine the different expansions. Catan expansions are a great way to extend and alter the game with additions from new game pieces to new scenarios.
- Seafarers – Players can build ships, set sail, and attempt to conquer the magnificent island world of Catan. The game expansion brings nine voyages of discovery for the settlers.
- Cities & Knights – Catan is flourishing as a result of the prosperity trade has brought. However, all this wealth also attracts barbarians, which is why there are the knights of Catan!
- Traders & Barbarians – In this scenario the barbarians have been driven off, and now it’s time to repair the damage. And soon, Catan’s roads and paths are once again bustling with baggage trains. Unfortunately, some scattered barbarians interrupt the smooth flow of trade.
- Explorers & Pirates – The thrill of exploration! Players set out for uncharted areas to build new outposts. The little information available indicates rich fishing grounds, helpful villages, and dangerous pirate lairs await you beyond the horizon.
Variants and Scenarios
To play the three variants and scenarios, you need the game components from the Base Game.
- Legend of the Sea Robbers – A legendary campaign of four linked scenarios for the Seafarers expansion. (This variant also requires the Seafarers expansion.)
- Legend of the Conquerors – Three exciting chapters tell of the impending downfall of Catan by foreign conquerors. (This variant also requires the Cities & Knights expansion.)
- Crop Trust – A compelling scenario for the base game. In cooperation with the Crop Trust, it allows players to experience mankind’s vital struggle for seed diversity. (Royalties and a profit contribution go to the Crop Trust, so every sale helps safeguard the precious building blocks of global agriculture.)
Called “The board game of our time.” by The Washington Post, Catan is sure to offer many hours of family fun and a perfect alternative to the video screen.
Family, Friends, and Fun in the World of Catan
At Fundemonium, you’ll discover dozens of intriguing and engaging board games for youngsters, teens, and adults. Explore our wide selection of miniature gaming kit games along with other types of role-playing games, strategy board games, and other indoor fun products along with toys, crafts, and hobby items.
Fundemonium is more than a store – it’s a fun family experience, where families and fans of board games can meet and play.
Fundemonium is a safe and friendly place where adults and children of all ages can enjoy creative fun. In addition, we have a great selection of games, toys, arts and crafts, and hobby products for your entire family.
And you can be sure that our friendly and knowledgeable staff makes it their business to help you have fun.
We always do our best to quickly respond to website inquiries about card games (and more!) or you can also find answers to your questions by calling us at (707) 540-0701.
Just give us a call during our business hours if you’d like to speak directly with one of our Fundemoniacs.