"I got some brick for anyone giving up wheat."
"Dude, you just asked for wheat last turn.  No
one has any.  It hasn't been rolled."

Do you like winning? I like winning. It feels pretty awesome to win. Actually, I hate losing more than I love winning, but the two typically go hand in hand. One real fun way to make winning even more fun is to make your best friends mad in the process. One of the easiest ways to do that is play a board game that involves land expansion like Settlers of Catan.

"Come on, man. You know I was going for that
port.  You don't even have an ore space!"
"I got there first. It's part of the game."
"I really think I hate you right now."

If you aren’t familiar with the game, Settlers of Catan or simply Catan is a fairly new board game out of Germany. It was designed by Klaus Teuber released in 1995 and is a randomizable board comprised of 19 tiles. There is the desert tile where the robber initially sits (more on that jerk later) and five resource tiles. These tiles are numbered from 2 to 12 to go along with the dice pair, awarding players with settlements or cities tied to the corresponding tile with the resource displayed on the board piece. Rolling a 7 allows the die caster to move the robber to one of the tiles, gaining a resource from another player as well as blocking off that tile from producing anything until the robber is moved. Also, all players with more than seven resource cards have to get rid of half of them. So yeah, not cool.

"You already hit me with the robber last time."
"I want your ore, man."
"Sure, go after me.  She's the one winning."
"Give me a card jerk."

Not only do players have to deal with the oncoming blight on their wheat fields another player rolls a 7, players try to build roadways without getting blocked by the competition. Settlements and cities can only be built on existing paths created by using a wood and a brick resource to extend the starting positions each player picked. In a full, four player game, this makes for some interesting races to crucial ports along the outer rim of the island. They allow easier gaining of resources the player is in need of.

"Whoa, I finally got that five rolled!  That's
four wood for me."
"Yeah, about that. I'm playing the monopoly
card.  I want everyone's wood."
"Goodnight, you're a jerk."

Aside from all the opportunities to remind your best friends about them not posting a ‘happy birthday’ on your Facebook wall by stopping up their sheep pipelines, the game has a few other great features. It’s great to have a game board that is different every time. Also, while there are clearly nuanced strategies, the quasi randomness of a dice game makes it so newer players rarely feel irredeemably lost. The idea of trading adds a social aspect of the game that allows for more conversation and chances to attempt bluffing. Seeing the tiles go from an empty island to one ravaged by a political cold war of city and roadbuilding by the end is a plus too. Seriously, it’s a good time. I highly recommend this game.

-Jeff

Check out Catan!.

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One thought on “Two woods and a Sheep

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