The Settlers of Catan is probably one of the most popular, award winning games of the German style. German style board games are defined as follows:
a broad class of games that generally have simple rules, short to medium playing times, high levels of player interaction, and attractive physical components. The games emphasise strategy, downplay luck and conflict, lean towards economic rather than military themes, and usually keep all the players in the game until it ends. German-style games are sometimes contrasted with American-style games, which generally involve more luck, conflict, and drama. (Source Wikipedia).
Other popular German style board games include Carcassonne and Puerto Rico.
In The Settlers of Catan the goal is for the player (3 to 4 players, up to six with expansions) to score 10 points by building settlements (1 point) or cities (2 points). Additional points can also be acquired by having the longest road (roads connect settlements and cities), largest army (playing Knight cards) or acquiring victory point cards.
To build cities, settlements, roads or to buy development cards, the player must have the correct resource cards , which consist of wheat, brick, wood, ore and sheep (To build a settlement you must one of each of the following: wood, sheep, brick and wheat). You obtain resources by having cities and settlements adjacent to to resource hexes. Each resource hex has a number on it, which range from 2 to 12. Generally, it’s best to place settlements and cities (cities provide 2 resource cards) adjacent to hexes with numbers that provide better odds of being rolled (5,6,8,9).
Placement of settlements is critical to insure you have good range of resources as well as numbers. Resources can also be traded between players. Another element of the game is the robber, which is moved when a player roles a 7 (If you have more then 7 cards when a 7 is rolled you lose half of them as well. When the robber is placed on a hex, it blocks resource production from that hex until another 7 is rolled or when it is moved by a Knight card. Getting blocked by others at critical times can be pretty infuriating.
In my group of friends. Settlers of Catan has proved to very popular, between men and women alike. Friday’s at work a group of us play at lunch as well. Needless to say the game can be pretty addictive. Settlers provides good balance of luck and strategy.
The Settlers of Catan can also be found on the PC as well as Xbox Live Arcade. Catan, the XBLA version is very solid, providing challenging A.I. and online play. If someone is looking to play some games online send me a message!