Friday, December 31, 2010

Settlers of Catan

After reading such positive reviews, especially by Harrison Brookie, I decided to look into Settlers of Catan. I started with the Wikipedia entry, then proceeded to the SoC website. There is an excellent interactive tutorial that shows the mechanics of play along with some of the consequences of different moves.

I moved on to an extensive online strategy guide, which confirmed my sense of resource scarcity and the inability to "do it all" as a viable strategy. It extended my understanding of game dynamics beyond what the tutorial provided.

Then I tried a couple of single-player online versions of the game. The one that I started with from SoC was a bit simplistic, and I didn't have time to play online against multiple real players. I finally settled on the download from MSN Games. (If you are a subscriber, then you will pay the least amount to register the game. I didn't, so I got stuck overpaying for the privilege.)

I played this version for several games, losing badly each time. Two nights ago, I played again. I went second, and was able to place settlements at the intersections of all of the required resources with 5, 6, 8, or 9 for the roll. I also had a clear shot at Longest Road, but I couldn't get the necessary resources until the end, when it proved critical to my first victory.

I trailed badly through the game, rolling a 7 on my turn *every* time I had more than 7 resource cards. (I think this is programmed into the game, as I have yet to see a deviation.) I managed to acquire three hidden victory point development cards along the way, being careful to not be robbed by the undefeatable 7. I got a lucky roll and ended up with the resources for three road segments. (Those cities make a difference!) When I pressed "End Turn", I was awarded Longest Road and the victory.

Now that I have won a game, I think I might like it. (It's awfully difficult to like something you always lose at. I won't play Rummy with only Kathy because in 9 years with her I have won only once.) Now, can I get my extended family to like it? To set aside time to play it?

We can't even find time to learn Mah Jong, despite my sister-in-law's plaintive invitations. I may just have to stick with the electronic version for a while.


  1. So glad you liked it. I play online regularly at

  2. Looks like a busy place. When I get myself up to speed, I'll see if their "Global Registration Stop" is lifted. Thanks for the recommendation!


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