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Strategy game meshes competition and cooperation

Populating a new world and trading with your friends. Settlers of Catan lets players populate a new world where trade and helping your friends is beneficial, but in the end there can only be one true colonizer of the new land.

Settlers of Catan provides a longer and more thought out game for those who enjoy games with strategy and a little luck. 

Cohl Obwald

In Settlers of Catan, players are allowed to trade resources. Trade is available for players only on their turn.

At the beginning of the game players roll two dice to decide the order of play. The player who rolls the highest number is the first player. Each player places a settlement and a road attached to it on the board starting with the first player and advancing clockwise afterwards.

After all players place their first settlement and road, order of placement starts again. For the second settlement and road order of placement starts with the person to the right of the first player and advances counterclockwise.

After all players place their second settlements everyone takes resource cards from the stockpile according to which hexes their second settlement was placed on. These cards make up a players first hand.

Resource cards are the currency of Catan. Resources allow players to build roads, settlements, buy settlement cards and upgrade settlements into cities. At the beginning of every player’s turn they roll two dice. Whatever number those two dice add up to is the collecting number for that person’s turn.

The collector number decides which hexes produce resources for the settlements around them. Say the collector number for the turn is six and two different people have settlements on a wheat hex with the number six on it, both players would gain one wheat card. If there is a hex with a six on it but has no one near it the resources spoil and they are never collected.

There is one more type of item to buy with resources, which is the key to victory. Settlement cards can turn the game in your favor in the span of one turn. They cost one one sheep, one ore, and one wheat to purchase. Settlement cards can be played the turn after purchased not immediately after purchase. A card in the stash of resources is road builder, which allows a player to place two roads for free.

The road builder is advantageous to a player who is aiming for the goal of Longest Road. Longest Road is an achievement for the player who has five roads in a line and awards them two victory points.

If a player has Longest Road and another player places enough roads to tie the player with Longest Road it stays with the player who already had it, but if the up and coming player places another road to be at least one road in the lead they now take possession of Longest Road.

Another card from the settlement cards are the soldier cards. Soldier cards when played allow the player to move the robber (explained later) as if the role was a seven. Once one player accumulates five soldier cards they are awarded with two victory points in the form of Largest Army. If someone else gains more soldiers than the initial player awarded with Largest Army they take Largest Army from the player who had it previously.

The only number not on the game board is the seven. The seven is a special number which has its own unique abilities. When a seven gets rolled the player who rolled it moves the robber to a hex it was not on before being moved.

When the robber is placed on a hex with multiple other player’s settlements on them the player who moved the robber chooses someone to take from. Once the player has chosen someone to take from the person they chose holds up their cards and the player who moved the robber takes one from their stash.

Next is the whole point of the game. Building strategically is a pivotal skill to master to be able to win a game of Settlers. To build a settlement a player needs to have one wheat, wood, sheep and clay in their hand. On their turn they can use the four resources necessary to build a settlement and place one on the end of your own roads. Settlements and cities have to be at least two roads or spaces from each other at all times.

Cohl Obwald

Before the game starts, players should place the boarder pieces around the water hexes. This helps the board stay together whenever someone bumps it.

Cites are the upgrades to settlements. The only way to build a city is as a replacement for a settlement. Cities cost three ore and two wheat to construct. Once a city is bought the player who purchased it chooses one of their settlements to upgrade into a city. The settlement chosen is taken off the board and replaced with the city.

Cities reap twice the benefits of settlements. When a number a city is on gets rolled the player who has a city on it gains two of said resource instead of only one.

Trading is another crucial part of the game. On a player’s turn they are allowed to trade with anyone they want. The only things tradable are resource cards. Settlement cards cannot be traded.

Advice I would give to players new to the game is to not go for the Largest Army or Longest road early in the game. Spread out your settlements and cities before buying to many resource cards.

To win the game a single must accumulate a total of 11 victory points. Victory points can be earned through settlements (one point), cities (two points), longest road (two points) and largest army (two points).

Settlers of Catan can be purchased at most major retailers. This game can be purchased on Amazon for $44.

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Cohl Obwald can be reached via email or Twitter.

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