The sun shines brightly on our isle today. The sea whispers stories from distant hollows and vengeful clouds. Lucky for our people, none of the storms have passed the sight-line in the last year. The mountain gods have been generous and we’re all but low on minerals. The farmers have harvested and are happy with their seeds’ production. The villages are thriving and the merchants are busy. May even be time to import a supply of wood from the forests up north. We may have new people to shelter.
When we first got here, my people all had their doubts. In fact, they began doubting me when we were still on open waters. The children were thirsty and our food storage was very quickly running empty. I knew that the choices I had made wouldn’t be without consequences but even I was beginning to lose faith in me. We had ships full of people. Good people who left their ancestral homeland for the promise of a better tomorrow. The hope of a better future that they were starting to find childish. For endless undrinkable water was all that they had seen for months.
All these men, women and children depended on me. They looked up to me and did not resist my will when I explained to them my plans. They trusted me not only with their lives, but also with their futures. Their hopes and dreams. When we first laid eyes on the island, I could barely believe my own vision. I kept staring at it to make sure it was real. And it was. The people cheered and laughed and shed tears of joy. We docked our ships near the shore and went on to unload the ships. The children all shouting in excitement, I called out a small crew and searched the area to make sure we were safe. You can imagine how relieved I was when I felt solid ground beneath my feet and saw the happiness of those who had trusted my words.
For it’s terrific natural views and the gorgeous plantation, as well as the diversity of all the life forms that had populated the island before us, to my mind it bared a strong resemblance to the Mediterranean island of Malta, known in the ancient times as Catana. So on behalf of all my people, merchant, farmer, miner and all the alike, I named this island our new home, the island of Catan. These days, my people are known as The Settlers of Catan.
What Is This Place?
Catan is the island where our nation of stranded peasants decided to build their home anew. A better home than any one they had until then. The building of our magnificent rising community took ages but the gods have assisted us much. If you want to see around the island and get a taste of what it’s like to live here for just an hour or two, here’s your chance. I promise it will be worth your while.
History of Catan
Before it’s rebranding in 2015, Catan used to be known and famous as The Settlers of Catan. Initially designed and published by designer Klaus Teuber under the title of Die Siedler von Catan in 1995, the game was a major hit in its early time and it won the award for the board game of the year in the same year. In 1996, Mayfair games translated the game into English and brought it to the U.S. where it found its way into a very large crowd of international fans.
Since its release Catan has made it into many geek lists and is widely praised for its skillful design. The fanbase of Catan is growing daily. Other than having already been translated into 30 different languages, the Catan universe has also been expanded with numerous expansion packs and spin-offs.
Fandoms and communities have also been established where fans and players of Catan gather to discuss the game and everything related to it. It’s also a great place for finding new playmates who match your level of skills.
Every time you set foot on the isle of Catan it’s an entirely new place. The map tiles are shuffled every time and the island is randomly divided into different geographical regions, where unique resources can be found and harvested. The island is a fresh sight every time and the horizon is vast enough for anyone to deem themselves settlers but the village leaders know better than to make themselves mortal enemies in an island of this size.
You can mine Ores from the mountainsides and harvest Grains from the fields. It’s also possible to get Wool from the Pastures and if you ever need Bricks you can simply extract it from the hills. We also have plenty of wood in the forests. All we need to build our settlement here and progress towards a bright future where our children can be at wealth and peace. All the resources we gather can also be traded with the other settlements. If there’s anything you need to achieve your goals of expanding our village, consider trading goods for it.
Another possibility unfortunately, is that you get robbed of the resources you’ve worked hard to harvest. If this happens, try to figure out who’s stealing from you and stop them before the damage is already too severe. Your community’s wellness depends on those goods. Keep in mind that not all the natural sources are always reliable. That’s why we have the central bank.
With our material at hand, we shall start building. We’ll start with houses and then move on to roads. We’ll pave the way for mounts and carriages to make it easier to travel and trade. We’ll develop our settlements into villages and our villages into cities. Then we may even form an Army. A well-trained force to protect us against all enemies that may ever cross paths with us. The island will continue to give and our lives will continue to grow.
Once a Settler, Always a Settler
There are a number of reasons we always enjoy playing Catan and the biggest one is that the game just excels at replayablity. It keeps the interactions between the players going for almost the entire playthrough and it always has new combinations to offer. As the game perfectly mixes Luck and Strategy as the two main factors contributing to the gameplay, the experience is always fresh enough to be challenging yet familiar enough to play without having to get out of your comfort zone. It’s also not too difficult to learn which makes it suitable for basically anywhere and anytime.
Many famously known names amongst the board game world have mentioned Catan to be one of their favorite titles ever and have praised it for its remarkably immersive theme. Some famous Catan fans are:
Wil Wheaton – Actor, writer, and board game enthusiast has shown great interest in Catan in his podcast called “Tabletop” and has spoken highly of it on numerous occasions being interviewed.
Tom Vasel – Founder of The Dice Tower has listed Catan on his top ten lists many times. He’s said to admire the game’s accessibility and uniqueness.
Rodney Smith has played Catan dozens of times on his show “Watch It Played” and he’s stated that he really enjoys playing the game. He’s specifically appreciated how replayable the title is.
The Island Continues to Grow
Populating the lands of Catan does not end in the base game. It’s a tale that’s been told for as many times as the wind has blown through the marketplaces.
1. Seafarers Expansion Pack
The Seafarers Expansion Pack introduces not only new scenarios and mechanics to the base game of Catan, but also a whole new dimension for exploring and even new resources of valuable goods.
The Expansion introduces sea travels and looting islands beyond the main grounds of Catan. New sources like Gold are now available for scavenging as well.
2. Cities and Knights Expansion Pack
This expansion pack makes your Catan experience slightly more complex, with the addition of three new commodities as well as a number of new mechanics, including city improvements, knights, and filthy barbarians. The game is more focused on development and strategy with this expansion, and for that it is a favorite among the more experienced players.
3. Explorers and Pirates Expansion Pack
This is another sea traveling expansion that adds an entirely new map for exploring a whole chain of new islands. It also introduces new mechanics such as fishing in rivers, and pirate lairs. It’s a great of breathing some freshness into your Catan experience.
4. Starfarers of Catan Themed Version
This alternative version of Catan brings all of the game’s greatness into space. If you’re a fan of star-gazing and have been getting bored with your version of Catan’s visuals, this is my recommendation for you. A new environment to play an untimely game in.
5. Catan Junior
Catan Junior is the simplified and compact version of Catan that’s been conveniently decorated with a pirate theme and features easier mechanics and less components. It’s Catan for your kids and they will love it but between you and me, it can also be a good way of introducing new players to the general premises of the island.
This entire beautiful island is yours for the taking and building and the only thing that might get in your way is the other tribes that are trying to do the same. Keep your neighboring villagers on your good side and keep up trading merchandise and materials with them so that you can all enjoy the island together. If not, well then, conflict will arise and the people will demand justice served. Take all the time you need to settle in.
What do you think of Catan? Do you love or hate it? What’s the best memory you have of playing Catan? Share your ideas with us down in the comments!
Also, if you enjoyed Catan, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy these games as well.