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Observations about Catan

An old college friend of mine sent my family the board game Catan as a belated Christmas gift. We've been playing it off and on over the past week, and it's a blast.

Observations about Catan
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    1. What is Catan?

    If I had to sum it up in a few words, I'd say it's a board game about resource management.

    2. The name

    I've always heard the game called "Settlers of Catan." Apparently it was called that when it first came out, but everyone just called it "Catan" or "Settlers", so they officially changed the name to just Catan. Sort of like Oprah, I guess.

    3. The designer

    The guy who designed the game, Klaus Teuber, was a dental technician who retired while in his 40's to become a full time game designer. That's an inspiration for me!

    4. Initial settlement placement

    So far, I think the best way to start the game is by placing settlements next to as many different numbers as possible. That way, whatever number is rolled, you'd be likely to get at least one resource.

    5. Ports

    Getting access to the 2:1 port for your highest-producing resource is awesome.

    6. First half of the game

    Getting lots of brick and timber at the beginning of the game is crucial for building out roads and new settlements quickly. It snowballs into allowing you to get more resources than your opponents.

    7. Extra Victory Points

    Getting the "Longest Road" bonus is a huge boost to your chances of winning, because you get +2 Victory Points, plus a long road where you can build many settlements.

    8. Trading with other players

    It seems to me like a good idea to shut down trading with other players towards the end of the game. When everyone is pushing for the win, any trade you make likely pushes someone else closer to winning.

    9. Ore

    You don't really need it at the beginning of the game, but it becomes crucial to winning towards the end.

    10. There are so many expansions to Catan

    Klaus Teuber is really milking the franchise, and it's a good thing! With all the expansions, I don't think the game will ever get old.

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