I made a huge mistake.
When I was in Armenia visiting my cousins and participating in the Pan Armenian games (which is a separate story entirely), we played a lot of Catan. Like, a lot. To the point where some nights we wouldn’t even go out, because we wanted to play Catan.
If you’ve never played Settlers of Catan, I highly suggest it, because like any good board game it is dangerously competitive, reliant on strategy and, most importantly, addicting.
This German board game has really come a long way throughout its twenty years of existence. During the past five years, nearly all of my peers and their families have heard of or played Settlers.
Which is great news, because I do not own this game. Which also means I have to resort to being a social leech but have multiple opportunities to do so. Hooray!
What makes Settlers of Catan so fun, in my opinion, is that it has aspects of other great, addicting, family friendly games. Like Monopoly, it is guaranteed to frustrate the losing member but allow hope for a change in fortunes. It’s a dice driven game, so everything is up to luck and statistics. Some games can be won because 12’s are continuously -and unexpectedly- rolled, and games can be lost because the numbers are not in your favor.
The competitive level goes up to a crazy degree. One time we were playing on an overnight train and I yelled at my cousin for making a bad trade. I was livid. It was also 1 am and we were sleep deprived, but there is video evidence of me nearly foaming at the mouth because someone gave a sheep for an ore.
Unlike Monopoly, however, which can go on until your kids have graduated college and your hair has turned white, Settlers of Catan can be as short as half an hour, so you can play more than one game! Imagine that! Imagine that with Monopoly! you can’t, can you?
Catan is also a huge strategy game. Getting the hang of it takes some time, but once you get used to the board and mechanics of the game, it’s a piece of cake. Manipulative, calculating cake. You place pieces down just to prevent someone else from winning or purposely sabotage them. You work the game as best as you can while thinking about your next five potential steps, the cards other players have, and how many point they may have. It’s ruthless, like Risk, another super fun game, but faster.
Once you’re bitten by the Catan bug, you can do nothing except bother all your friends about playing with them or finding game stores where you can play with strangers. Or, if you’re a fiend like I am, you can google “play settlers of catan online” and rejoice when you find their website.
And then never stop playing in your free time.
Join me. Happy playing!