Board Games

Do you Catan? If the answer is “no” then perhaps it’s time to start exploring a game that has taken the boardgame world by storm.

Catan, previously known as Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer boardgame, where each player takes on the role of settlers, with the aim of building and growing settlements by trading and getting resources. The isle of Catan is rich and remote, with many harbours and regions including pastures, fields, mountains, hills, forests, and desert. What makes the game so compelling is that no two games are the same because the board can be set up differently every time.

Catan is a game of strategy. Building and spreading a civilization across the modular hex board will win a player victory points. There is also no room for boredom with Catan because for those who have the hang of it and are looking for new adventures, expansion games can be added to the base game.

Avid boardgame player and spokesperson for Solarpop – Philip Galliford, enjoys a good session of Catan because it is so fundamentally strategic while providing a great way to socialise and network. “Catan is a game that can be played by the whole family, as part of a social group or as part of a gaming community. Entrepreneurs, tech start-up shareholders especially, play the game as part of networking sessions even. It provides plenty of opportunity for player interaction and its relatively straightforward rules means that it can be enjoyed by all aged ten and up,” he says.

Whilst the game takes minutes to learn, it can take a lifetime to explore, offering enough depth to remain exciting and engaging as the variable board together with everyone’s differing tactics open new game scenarios. 

Marco Cocomello, managing Editor for Glitched says that Catan is a classic tabletop game that has always been able to deliver a real sense of improvement on the player’s part. “While other tabletop games attempt to deliver the same feeling, none come close to doing it as well as Catan does. While you start off with basically nothing, the more you play, the more your decisions feel more meaningful and your choices change the way the game flows. I also love Catan because it is also incredibly accessible. You can take someone who knows nothing about it and turn them into a player within one or two test runs of the game,” he explains.

How to play

Build the puzzle that comes in the box. Then within the frame you build the island of Catan using the different tiles. You can put the tiles anywhere you please, in fact you can build the island in a different way for every game.

Then you choose your playing tokens and roll the dice. You can build when it’s your turn as long as you have resources. You are awarded victory points for what you build. The longest road and biggest army also get awarded victory points. 

Resources, including grain, wool, ore, brick, and lumber can be combined to buy development cards and build roads, settlements and cities. Resources can be acquired through trades, cards or lucky dice even outside your turn. 

But the game gets even more exciting when players use cunning skills to outsmart the others – someone might cut off a road or buy a monopoly, or even steal some precious gains.

The game is perfect for children aged ten years and up as well as teenagers and adults. It’s suitable for 3 to 4 players and the game can take between an hour to two hours to play. 

“Catan is the perfect game for winter evenings or a rainy day. It is totally fun and immersive. It requires forethought and planning which leads to the satisfaction of a game well played. Some may say that it requires an entrepreneurial mind and I tend to agree. It has become so popular that it is being used as a verb, with people asking do you Catan?” explains Galliford.

Interesting Facts*

  • Catan is a multi-award-winning boardgame believed to have launched the modern boardgame movement.
  • It has sold over 25 million copies worldwide in 30 different languages.
  • It was invented by a German dental technician called Klaus Teuber
  • In 2015, 1040 participant —including Klaus Teuber himself—gathered around an expanded board at Germany’s Spiel convention for the largest game of Catan ever played.
  • LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former Mozilla chief executive John Lilly have all networked over a game of Catan at corporate retreats.
  • After 20 years on the market, the manufacturers of The Settlers of Catan decided it was time for a name change. So, since 2015, all new editions are simply titled Catan.
Catan boardgame, the extension set as well as Catan: Cities & Knights Game Expansion, Catan: Explorers & Pirates Expansion, Catan: Seafarers Expansion and Catan: Seafarers 5-6 Player Extension are available from Takealot, Toy Kingdom, Comic Warehouse, Raru and other good retailers.