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The Settlers of Catan Card Game
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The Settlers of Catan Card Game

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 75 minutes 2

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

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Product Description

In The Settlers of Catan Card Game you control a group of settlers taming the lands of medieval Catan. A unique card mix creates a map for your principality. Then explore and settle new lands, acquiring resources through card play and the luck of the dice. Use gold and combinations of resources to develop your domain, and guide your settlers to victory by clever trading and cunning development.

Expand your settlements and cities, and recruit knights to defend your territory and compete on the tournament field. But beware! When your opponent plays the Black Knight even your strongest knight can fall!

Of course the best strategy and a dash of luck decides who will be the undisputed ruler of Catan.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1997
Deutscher Spiele Preis
2nd place, 1997

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

  • Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 2

  • Time: 75 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 372 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #72

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 120 cards
  • Rules
  • Card Almanac
  • Production Die
  • Event Die
  • Wooden Knight token
  • Wooden Windmill token

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.7 in 42 reviews

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by James
Excellent two-player game!
September 14, 2004

I came across my copy a few years ago, largely by accident, but have never looked back or regretted a single penny that I spent on it.

I'd walked into my local wargames shop, and asked what sorts of games they had for two players that had plenty of strategy, but that wouldn't take too long to play. I was shown SoC the card game. It intrigued me, and the chap who owned the store commented how much he'd enjoyed it himself.

I was sold!

Looking around the 'net to see if anything new had been done with the franchise is how I found this site and it's reviews, and thought I might share my thoughts on it.

Firstly, 'The Settlers of Catan' card game is not really comparable to the board game. This might seem obvious, but reading some of the reviews here it is clear that many people thought it would be and were thus disappointed.

This doesn't mean that it doesn't play well, that it lacks strategy or that it feels as if the game and its namesake are unconnected. Quite the reverse in fact; it is an excellent game in its own right, whilst keeping the 'feel' of the original.

The rules are deceptively straightforward, and actually allow a lot of freedom for players to negotiate with each other or fight a war or anything else in their bid for domination. It is quite possible to recover from a bad start with a bit of luck, and there are many cards and events that can be used to further your cause, or protect you from certain events in future.

There are several main strategies to winning, and several subtle variations of each. Broadly speaking these are:

  • Expansion (allowing you more resources to build with as well as more building room)
  • Warfare (military dominance of your opponent has benefits!)
  • Commerce (taking resources from your opponent and negotiating better deals for yourself)
  • Politics (holding more cards than your opponent and sifting through the decks for less/no resource penalty gives you better control of events in the game)

The nature of the game is such that any player who relies soley on one strategy throughout the game can be beaten. The key is to use the flexibility of the rules and the game to your advantage.

It is a testament to this game's broad appeal that I've not only convinced people who dislike boardgames to play, but that said people often ask me for a game of SoC!

As for the product itself, it is well turned out. The cards are attractive, and the tokens are embossed lacquered wood. There is a comprehensive rulebook, complete with a full illustrations and an almanac of all the cards in the game.

I've scored The Settlers of Catan card game a 5. I feel that more could have been made of the military features, and that cultural points could have been added in addition to the existing commercial and military ones. Despite this, I've yet to play a more engaging two-player game (and believe me, I've played a lot!)

Great Two-Player Game
September 05, 2004

This is one of my favorite two-player games. It's fun to try to beat your opponent in building up your kingdom faster. A measure of luck and randomness keeps you on your toes.

The game designer has successfully created an interesting and fun variation of Settlers. It has some of the flavor of the board game, but it's also a great game in its own right. We have so much fun building up our kingdoms, that whenever someone reaches 12 points we are always disappointed that the game is over already. Maybe we'll start playing to 14 or 16 points.

It's even better with the expansion cards, which add a little more interesting complexity. My wife and I took out some of the original cards and mixed in many of the new cards, to add more variety. (This is not actually allowed in the rules, but we like it this way.) So we play a less confrontational version of the game, with most of the 'attacking' cards removed, where you steal a resource or destroy a building (my wife's idea). It's still fun, and it allows you to focus on building up your own kingdom faster than your opponent. We left in the 'disaster' type cards, so there are still plenty of risks and setbacks to add to the challenge.

I can only assume that many of the people who have given this game low ratings were expecting a two player version that was exactly like the Settlers of Catan board game, and thus were disappointed. That's too bad. This is a card game and it's for two players only, so obviously it's not going to be the same as the 3-4 player board game. (If you want a two-player board version, check out Settlers of Zarahemla.)

Accusations of this being merely two-player solitaire are not fair. You can trade with your opponent, and you will also interact and compete in other ways. It's true there is probably less interaction than in the board version, but a lot of that is due again to the fact that there are only two of you playing.

I give this game top marks and highly recommend it to everyone who is looking for a great two-player game.

I bow to this neverending game!
December 20, 2002

My husband and I have been playing this game religiously every night, except when we have some engagement which drives us to bed too late to play. The gameplay is absolutely incredible! You get to build little settlements, which grow into can connect these settlements and/or cities to other settlements by a bride, and around the settlements or cities, you slowly grow produce, or buildings, or fighters... So many different cards! By turning the product card (I.E., ore, food, sheep, etc) you increase or decrease the number of items you have. What an extraordinary idea! I haven't been able to win the game yet -- my husband always seems to win conveniently the last few turns -- but I still can't see myself stop playing it. I have so much fun! It's worth at least three hours of play, solid. Buy it if you are married, or if you have a good buddy who would like to explore, conquer and populate new areas with you.

This is the best 2 player game around.
November 06, 2002

At only $15, this is the best investment any serious or casual gamer can make. I own both the card game and the board game, and I must say that the card game has more strategy, provides more intrigue, and is more interesting than the board game. I bought the card game first, maybe that was my mistake.

The card game is great because there are infinite tactics and limitless ways to counter. There are very few times when you play this that one person will be totally out of the game. The placement of a single card can unltimately change the momentum of the game.

Most games are heavily skewed by luck, and this sometimes overshadows skill and sound decision making. Although this uses dice and some luck, the player who will win will be the person who makes the best decisions with the situation that they have been presented with.

This is the best game to buy. You don't have to be a Settler's fan to buy because playing the game will make you a Settlers fan. Enjoy.

by Moshe
brilliant game
November 04, 2002

I only discovered 'Real board games' about 2 years ago, when I got Robo Rally & other games. This is definitely one of the best. It compares favorably to the original & stands up to Magic the originator of this genre. Also, I happened to misread the rules like an earlier reviewer mentioned (I made the same Brigand mistake).

As far as opponents, so far my group hasn't tried it at our get togethers (not polite to play a 2 player game with others there), however I played a friend once & my 8 year old son a few times (he's vicious). One drawback, is the option to look thru a stack to pick a card. It adds to the strategy, but it takes forever to play with this option.

A must have for Settlers Fans!
October 07, 2002

Im a huge settlers fan, but found it hard to get 3 or 4 people together...the 2 player is perfect. Best 2 player around if your into settlers...I could see how this game would be confusing and hard to follow if your not into settlers...but it is definitly a musthave for all settlers fans!!!!! be warned...this is very addictive...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simply perfect for two players!
August 21, 2002

If the classical version of the game called in french 'Les colons de Catane' is really good, we've been very happy to buy the 2 players version.

My wife and me are playing often the game when it's rainning (like often in Belgium) and it goes very quick. We've lot of fun with this card version. I'll recommend to you ...

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great game for 2, but we were playing it wrong...
June 14, 2002

Although the rules aren't too difficult to understand we have had some issues. The most recent was when my wife and I realized that we have been playing the Brigand Attacks incorrectly in the Settlers of Catan Card Game. When the Brigand Attacks happen you should be counting each of the individual resources (the boxes) rather than the number of region cards that you have. We were just counting the number of region cards, so in the beginning, when there are only have 6 regions, we were never affected under our original understanding of the rule. This slight change, from regions to resources, makes quite a difference in game play as it affects the Garrisons more. Actually, those changes improved the game in my opinion. Great game when only 2 players are around!

by Marc
Good times bad times and great entertainment every time.
May 29, 2002

This is the first game I played which introduced me to the plethora of games available of the German 'style' strategy games. This game can frustrate me to 'tears' and yet exhilarate me at the same time. There have been times when I would sweep the resources away from my opponent by expanding outward and using scouts (yellow action cards) to take all of the ore and the wheat regions in turn crippling my opponents chances of obtaining more quantities of ore and wheat. This made it harder for them to build cities. Other times I couldn't get a brick to save my life so expanding was near impossible. Things just wouldn't go my way due to the dice not 'cooperating'. Ah but isn't this a bit of the fun of it? I think so. There are plenty of down and dirty battle opportunities in this game which make it a fun game for players who can handle a little tongue and cheek 'vindictive/attacking' play. I feel that the lyrics of a classic Led Zeppelin song sum up my game play experiences, 'Good times bad times you know I've had my share', but from the beginning to the end this game always leaves you feeling like you've been in a boxing ring getting knocked around and delivering jabs and punches to try to save your commerce or strongest knight token in your efforts to crush your opponent. I highly recommend this entertaining game!!!

Best two-player game EVER
January 10, 2002

This is, quite simply, the best two-player game I've ever played. I'll even go a step further -- currently, it ranks as my favorite game of all time, regardless of the number of players.

Now, as many players know, the Settlers of Catan boardgame can be a pretty miserable experience for two players (in fact, every two-player game I've played personally or heard about from other players included at least one house rule; the size of the board and the game mechanics just don't lend themselves well to fewer than three players). The SoC card game, on the other hand, is a wonderful way for two players to spend 90 or so minutes in the Catan setting. And the setting is very important to me (although I understand it will be less so for some players) -- I LOVE the 'look and feel' of the Catan universe and the basic game mechanics, and the Settlers card game does a fantastic job of preserving both.

Some final notes:

o There is a slight initial learning curve to overcome. The easiest way to get past it is to simply play a first game and refer to the card almanac as often as necessary. Before long, the relatively simple sequence of play (simpler than the boardgame's, actually) will become second nature.

o Do NOT be put off by some of the less-than-glowing reviews below. Criticizing this game because it's not EXACTLY like the Settlers boardgame is just plain stupid. And only those with incredible attention-span disorders would claim that there's 'too much to memorize' or fault the game for its supposed 'complexity.' Free advice to these players: go back to Chutes & Ladders.

o Be especially wary of those who claim to have discovered a 'perfect' strategy -- trust me, there is no such thing. In fact, I wish I could play some of these other reviewers, as my winning percentage would be sure to increase. Yes, gaining control of the windmill token can be helpful, but it does NOT guarantee victory (I would argue that the knight is, in fact, the better of the two tokens). Nor does building multiple garrisons, although these are some of the better cards to be had. Nor does building abbeys or libraries and holding huge hands of cards.

A smart player can easily counter all of these 'perfect' setups. And therein lies one of this game's greatest strengths -- the player is offered multiple avenues toward expansion and, ultimately, victory. And with the English-language expansion decks now available, the card-set has more than doubled, and the possible strategies and counter-strategies are virtually limitless.

The game that renewed my love for games
May 09, 2001

Last April, some family came to visit and I wandered into a little 'tourist trap' type game store. They didn't have much, but I had been a fan of RPGs and Milton Bradley's [page scan/se=0829/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Gamemaster Series wargames in high school. About the middle of college, my interest in RPGs waned and I couldn't find anyone to play the Gamemaster Series, at least until a couple of years ago, when I found out some of my work buddies play Axis & Allies. So we got together now and then for A&A or its brothers Conquest of the Empire or Samurai Swords.

That, plus the occassional game of Password, Clue, or [page scan/se=0061/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Trivial Pursuit with extended family was the entire extent of my gaming.

So, in this little 'tourist trap', I looked at the strategy games briefly, and saw Settlers of Catan and its kin. It looked cool, but $35+ was too much for a game I knew nothing about. So I spent about $19 for the Settlers card game--on a total gamble, and thinking my wife would think I threw my money away.

I now look back on that purchase as one of the best leisure purchases I have ever made. My wife loves the Settlers card game, and has even ASKED to play it. This, despite the fact that she does not typically enjoy games that last over 30 minutes, and the Settlers card game can last us over 2 hours.

The mechanics have been described elsewhere, so I'll just tell you what my wife loves about it. She loves the 'building' aspect; getting points and helping your settlement with a nice bath house or town hall is very satisfying to her. She loves the occassional trade we'll make, and the tricky task of managing resources. She loves the different strategies of play one can pursue with the action cards--when should I use a Spy, or the Black Knight, or the Merchant? Our first few games we really didn't use the action cards. Now we appreciate every single one of them, and how each can shift the game balance.

And that's the best part of the Settlers card game: the game can go to either player, as long as you're making basic decisions, but the victory goes to the cleverest one. So although the actual playing involves some reflection, the game has almost always ended with a bang for us.

Last fall, my love for the Settlers card game led me to explore what else Mayfair Games had to offer, and the rest is history--I love games! And this one might just be the best two-player game ever developed.

This is a rocking 2 player game
January 27, 2001

This game rocks. This 'review' is really written only for those who have played the game. But it's to encourage those who didn't like it to give it a second chance and keep messing with it. The strategies can be hidden. In particular if you feel like if you get behind, the game is over. Check this out:

I was playing my friend yesterday. Generally, he is a sneaky sort. He tends to set himself up to get cheap peaks thru the card stacks with the Town Hall and play out his strategy that way. I tend to build cities and more cities. Then maybe the Colossus to win with style.

So in yesterday's game on my first new settlement I played the scout, and took the last two ore cards... giving me a monopoly on the ore. He was bummed.

The next settlement I took I got greedy. Fatally so. I chose two grain giving me monopoly on grain but leaving me with one wood and one brick for the rest of the game. Not good, but since you city with ore and grain I felt like he would spend the whole game trying to convert resources and maybe I could get 5 cities for 10 points and then pick up two more here and there for the win. At this point we both agreed that I was in control of the game.

However, I didn't win. He overcame this hold I had him in by working the Alchemist (this is the card that lets you control your dice roll) to perfection. The next time he built a settlement he played the scout and chose resources with Sixes on them. This gave him 4 resources (two had factories on them for double) with sixes and I only had one, a sorry lousy gold. So for the rest of the game he kept an alchemist and rolled sixes. I fought it off as best I could by Spying away his Alchmist card on several occasions, even holding both of them when I could, but... in the end he won. It was a great game and a creative way for him to win.

Good luck and I love this game. By the way, if anyone knows anything about the University card that one of the event cards refers to could you email me? My set didn't have one.

Perfect game for when there's only two!
January 06, 2000

One thing I've always disliked about board games is that you need a group to play them. When there's a couple of hours to kill on a lazy Sunday afternoon, there are not many good choices. Even games that allow two to play can get repetitive--and too often rely on luck, not strategy.

The Settlers of Catan Card Game is the answer! Finally a strategy game that just plays perfectly with 2. And after trying other cardgames, we still feel this one is tops.

Each game allows us to try new strategies and plan new, unexpected moves. And playing it with a new person is interesting--they've often come up with completely different ideas!

Yes, this is a complicated game. It took many reads through the rule book to get it all. And the rule book is not the clearest--seems to be too close to the German syntax or something! But struggle through and you'll find a delicious game waiting at the other end.

Most of the other reviews already give plenty of details, so I'll add only this: if you play with a significant other, make sure your relationship is strong first! This game is so involving and remains so close that you'll get upset easily when you lose, and gloat when you win!

A great 2-player game!
November 17, 1999

What a great 2-player game! This is a card game but it most definitely feels like a board game. The cards are laid out on the table to form a rather wonderful expanse of roads, settlements and cities. Within the settlements and cities, one can place buildings, knights and the like. Resources are attached to the cities and settlements as they are built (adding ongoing mystery to the game). Each game plays differently and I feel there is lots of replay value here. This game takes a few plays to fully understand the strategies but soon the use of resources and the power of the various cards will become apparent. This game is similar in theme to the Settlers of Catan boardgame but is, quite honestly, a completely different game. I suppose I understand why some people feel the need to compare this to the board game of the same name, but the mechanics and feel are very different - not worse and not better - just different. This card game is far more strategic than the boardgame and there are lots of anxious moments as the momentum teeters back and forth. It is also less interactive but that could probably be said of most 2-player games as opposed to a 4+ player game. The box claims 45-90 minutes, but I have found the game is long - 90 minutes can be optimistic! Aside from the length, this is one of the very best 2 player games I've seen and heartily recommend it to others.

Buy it for the name, but play it for the game!
August 13, 1999

Seeing the mixed reviews below, I simply had to put a mark down on the positive side of things, and say this is one of my very favorite games. I own about fifteen, including top-sellers like Bohnanza, Scotland Yard, Elfenland and Tikal, but my wife and I play this one almost every week. An important thing to keep in mind when playing this game or considering buying it is that this is really not the same game as the Settlers board game. The name is the same, and some of the elements and the setting is the same, but the mechanism of play and the strategy/feel of the game is totally different. What is amazing to me and attests greatly to Klaus Teuber's skill, is that it is as great a game as the original Settlers! This may seem like it should be for granted, but for a game that is the same theme but a completely different structure, not simply an expansion (or would it be contraction?), I am very impressed; I mean, how many movie sequels can you think of that were as good as the original? This is an excellent game of the highest strategic, competetive and aesthetic quality. I highly recommend it.

Now for those who have realized what a cool game this is, here are some strategy tips:

1. NEVER underestimate the power of commerce! This token's unique power will bolster your own resources while draining your opponent's. Acquire it as early in the game as possible.

2. A weak knight is better than no knight at the beginning of the game. If you have Otto the Berserker in your opening hand, you'll be tough to beat.

3. Build Abbeys and Libraries as early as you can, and as many as you can. More cards in your hand is more power in your realm.

4. Pay the extra resources to search a stack before you build a settlement, and try to find the Scout. Proper resource placement can give a significant edge over the luck factor.

5. Good cards to begin with are the spy, Abbey and merchant or brigands. First, steal your opponent's best card (if they have a spy, steal that first and use it on them again) then use the brigands or merchant to take away the resources they need for their buildings, then build the abbey and draw three fresh cards. Alternately, build a garrison or fleet to capture the commerce token right away. These are cutthroat moves for the quick-action variant; only advanced or very forgiving players should use them.

6. This may be obvious, but play reversible cards with caution. Brigands and Arsonists can really strike a blow, but be prepared to accept the consequences if your opponent has a Bishop. A good play is to use the Black Knight when you don't own any Knights yourself--risk-free assassination!

7. Get the MINT! Scout the other gold mines if possible and you'll be sitting pretty.

8. Trade resources only if you can be reasonably sure you are getting the best deal. This is like poker--if they're only going to build a low-level card, while you can build a something that nets you a VP or Commerce token, go for it! Make 'em pay for what they're desperate for.

9. for a shorter than 3-4 hour game, give yourself a city to begin with, or reduce the victory conditions to 9 VPs or both. This really jump-starts the game; I call it the quick-action variant. Perfect for when the kids are finally in bed, but you want to be, too, in a couple of hours!

10. Check out the Settlers card game expansions that are just out (five in all) which expand on the major themes of the card game like Spies and Intrigue, Knights and Rulers or Wizards and Dragons which introduces magic to the world of Catan.

Finally, the best advice I can give you is this: BUY THIS GAME!

Settlers for two
July 14, 1999

This great card game retains a lot of the feel of the Settlers of Catan board game, but game play is on a smaller scale than the board game, with you building not only settlements and cities, but also the individual buildings inside them. There are more varied game play options, which allow a player to focus on military supremacy or trade monopolies.

Games almost always end closely, frequently they are won or lost by just one turn, or because a player has just one too few resources to play a particular card. Luck is a factor in this game, but it can be overcome somewhat by having a good memory for which cards are in which piles. Trade is not so important as in the Settlers board game, and when trade does occur it is frequently forced by one player who takes resources from the other.

This English-language version is a faithful translation of the German version, published by Kosmos. Kosmos is producing a number of games specially designed for two players (others include Kahuna, Caesar & Cleopatra, Finale, Druidenwalzer and Lost Cities). The others in the series are good, but the Settlers card game is still my favourite.

Catan The Card Game Fills The Void
January 30, 2007

Me and my wife love gaming; however, we have lost all of our playing partners and the larger family just isnt interested. So.. to fill the void of playing the other Catan games we picked up the Catan card game a week ago. We have now played about 20 times and have tweeked some of the rules a bit to make it a bit more competitive and even throughout the game. The original rules and details are very nice and the price is a definite plus. But, just as with any other game if you play with the same person over and over and you learn a strategy.. well both of you play that way consistently which is our/or the only downfall.. but that can be said with any two player games. It is by far the best two player game we have come across as of yet.. though I haven't played lost cities yet. If you are looking for a Catan based game or just a great two player game then look no further because I think you will be impressed. Now I cant wait to check out the expansion.

Ach du meine Gute, eine Seuche
January 27, 2002

Positives: My wife does not speak German at all, and my knowledge decreases by the day as I don't speak to anyone anymore in the tongue, so it is a lot of fun to hear her walking around saying 'ferntuffel,' no matter how many times I tell her it is 'feuerteufel.' She has gotten 'kundschafter' down pat, however. In any case, the game has a lot of diversity in strategy. There are many different ways to win. The art is prima! The English version has a container that was designed for many different games, and this one just doesn't quite fit. This is no problem for the German version; all of the pieces have their own home. (I am very anal about storage, if you did not guess!)

Negatives: My wife and I do not use the 'bad' cards ('Schwartzer Ritter' 'Feuerteufel' 'Raubzug') because they create too many arguments. We satisfy ourselves by being nice to each other, saving our marriage, and playing to fewer points to shorten this potentially 2+ hour game.

Verdict: Viel Spass! Kaufen Es. I managed to get the game for a bargain price, but I would have paid full anyway. I suggest you pick it up, especially if you want to learn some fun German words. :)

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Chris
Settlers for two please
December 30, 2001

We all know Settlers by now--the game that uses most of the known gaming formats and puts them into one solid game. You've got your boardgame, cardgame, and strategy game in one. This, to me, is what makes the game stand out. With the two-player version, you are left with just the cardgame element. Will it stand up to the test?

The first couple of games played, I never had the idea I was fighting my opponent. It seemed that the objectives were to just keep on putting as many victory cards into play until you reached 12 points, which granted you immediate victory. When you think of the concept Teuber had in mind creating the game, this seems just about right; Catan is a place of relative peace, and the objective to pound your opponents into oblivion was never part of this or his world.

However, after playing a couple of more hours, you realise that gaining the upper hand is a subtle progress which forces you to make decisions at multiple stages in the game.

All in all, the game is well balanced, the gameplay is fast, and the expansions are great and truly in style. The down side might be that this a 1-on-1 game that takes over an hour to play. My friends aren't that interesting.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Rob
Almost as great as the original
November 14, 2001

Most Dutchmen (like I am) are fond on playing German-style games. Settlers of Catan must be the greatest ever. The cardgame is almost as good, especially if you purchase the tournament sets (although some of the fun disappears with the price, since you now suddenly have to buy 3 additional sets!). But if you don't have 4 players and want to play a challenging game with 2, this is one of the few games that won't get boring.

it isn't the boardgame, but for 2 it is fun.
September 18, 2001

Some people claim it is like 2-person solitaire. You *can* play it like that, but my wife and I tend to use almost all the action cards which provide the interaction. Because of that, she was able to lower my points from 9 to 6 in 3 turns. It felt pretty interactive at the time. Of course there are some drawbacks, you cannot pest each other like you can when playing with 5 others on the boardgame, but, hey, it is a cool game for two.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Helping Magma's Kids
March 05, 2001

After reading in GAMES magazine about German games, I was ready to try one. I had sent my sister, whose husband was stationed in Germany, a copy of the much requested Mhing. In return I had asked her to send me a copy of Settlers of Catan, which I had read about in GAMES (I think). Well, being the penny pinching little sister I know and love, she sent me the far cheaper 'Settlers of Catan Card Game'. After I and my girlfriend sat down to figure it out, I felt I was in over my head. I hopped onto the net and found English rules on the Games Cabinet and even better, I found player aids. I was surprised at how much support there was out there for a German game. We played it and had a rousing good time. It was totally deferent then anything I had played before. My girlfriend also loved it. Once we had played through a half a game we were not referring to the aids much and we breezed through a couple of games.

From a small settlement of a couple of villages, some roads and resource-providing lands, you attempt build up your area. To build anything you need the proper mix of resources, which are provided and stored on lands (cards). You spend these to build more roads, which then bring more resource-providing lands, on various buildings and on upgraded towns that can support more and diverse buildings. Most buildings also give you added abilities or provide you with victory points that are needed to win. You can also hire people to protect your areas but they will also cost you resources. Special events that occur that can put a player back on his heels for a turn and dice rolls to see what is produced add heavily to the luck factor. Being able to trade resources for other resources and being able to somewhat control what cards you draw balance out the luck just about perfectly. All in all, a fantastic game.

After playing this I had to see what else was out there from Germany and an article in GAMES Magazine led me to Funagain. I ordered Mississippi Queen, its expansion and Tikal and I was hooked for good. Now instead of dropping a hundred dollars here and there on Magic and other CCGs I drop a few hundred on German style games. I wonder how many kids I have sent through college at Funagain?

great two player game
April 21, 2000

This is a really fun game for those times when there are only two gamers in your group who can get together. It's very easy to learn. The first game will take a while as you learn the system and the effects of the various cards, but after that the games will move very quickly. Also, the games are usually very close. Someone may get an early lead on points, but near the end it is neck-and-neck with anyone being able to pull out a win.

The popular board game becomes a card game for two
February 07, 1999

Although this two-player game by Mayfair is similar in theme to the popular board game of the same name, it plays quite differently. I prefer the board game, because the map is different every time you play it, but perhaps the card game is less pedestrian.

Each player begins with cards representing two settlements and six resources (wood, brick, wheat, ore, sheep and gold). Play alternates with the current player rolling two dice. The Event Die can trigger events such as a Tournament (the player with the strongest knights gets a free resource) or a Brigand Attack (players lose their ore and sheep if they have more than seven unprotected resources). The Production Die gives each player one more resource corresponding to the number (1-6) on his resource cards, which are rotated to show how much (0-3) of a given resource a player has.

The current player then may purchase road, settlement or city cards if he can pay the apporpriate price in resources (just like the board game). These are played in the middle of five rows in front of a player, with single road cards connecting settlements and cities (upgrades of settlements).

He also may play any number of expansion or action cards in his hand. Green expansion cards (e.g., a Wheat Fleet allows a player to trade two wheat for any other resource; a Garrison protects two adjacent resource cards from Brigand Attacks; an Abbey lets a player hold four cards instead of the usual three) may be played in either row directly above or below a settlement or city. Red expansion cards (advanced buildings, such as an Aqueduct to protect against Plague) may be played only above or below cities, but in any of the remaining four rows). Yellow action cards (e.g., an Arsonist to destroy one of your opponent's buildings, or a Spy to steal a card from his hand) can be played once each player has gained three victory points.

Finally, a player replenishes his hand to his card limit by drawing from one of five face-down decks of expansion and action cards. He can take the top card of any deck, or he can pay any two resources to look through a deck and take the card of his choice. This is very advantageous, since some cards, such as Mills and Factories that give double production, are much more valuable than others early in the game.

Bonus points are awarded to the player fielding the strongest knight force and holding the greatest commerce advantage (instead of the longest road and most knights in the board game). It takes 12 points to win.

There are many ways -- albeit different ways -- of thwarting your opponent in the Settlers card game, as in the board game, but it still is a race to see who can meet the victory condition first. As in the board game, play usually is very balanced, but it is possible for a player to get a big advantage early on through the smart and lucky drawing of key cards. But that can be said of any card game, as well as games that rely on dice rolls. Nevertheless, there is something more appealing to me about a visually stunning board and placing little wooden pieces on it, compared to laying out a bunch of cards.

A great game that stays great!
February 05, 1999

I'd never been a big fan of card games, role-playing was a little much for me. (I don't care if I'm an elf or an orc, just hand me the dice!) But Settlers was a fabulous game from the beginning. And actually got better the more we played it and learned some important strategies. Believe me, you WANT to build garrisons! The only time we haven't had a rip-roaring time was when the dice seriously favored one player over the other. That's actually a drag for both people. But every other game has been loads of fun.

by Toni
Great Fun for 2 players
February 03, 1999

This is a wonderful game for two players. I found it very easy to learn, despite other comments I have read on the 'net. Because it is just you and a single opponent, I find that trading is completely nullified in the card game (why help your opponent at all?). There is a considerable element of luck in this game though, and it can determine the outcome of the game, regardless of how well you think you are playing. I docked it one star because there is not enough direct conflict between the two players. Basically it is just you building your own settlements more quickly than your opponent; you can rarely intervene in slowing them down. Bear in mind, this is really a personal preference of mine: I love to have as much conflict as possible so that the players have to constantly interact. Nevertheless, this is a very good 2-player game.

Starts fast, dies in end...
December 20, 2001

The first three or four times I played this game, I loved it. The second three or four times, I enjoyed it. The third three or four times, I had fun. I haven't picked it up since then--although if asked, I'd play it again. But for $20, I played at least 12 -great- games. That's not bad by any wargamers math. I like aspects of this game much more than the boardgame, but the lack of variety is tough to overcome.

The previous review makes no sense to me, though. Build roads and settlements immediately to add commodities to get more commodities to build assets. How does that person build garrisons and abbeys without even having a road in play? That game must take -forever-, and to me a good card game takes 30-45 min tops.

Non enough interaction, but might be for you
August 01, 2001

Do you like free cell better then gin rummy? Do you like practicing baskets rather then playing others in a game? If so, the two player version of Settlers might be the game for you. It is fun, but not very interactive. I prefer a game like the regular Settlers of Catan where you interact, for example in trades and competing for the same territory. There are yellow action cards that you play on each other, but for the most part players tend to focus on their own settlement line and ignore what the other player is doing. It has been described, I think accurately, as two player solitaire. On the other hand, I did enjoy playing it a whole bunch of times before I came to this conclusion and placed it in the bottom of a box of games I don't play anymore in the basement.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Kos
Quite different from the board game.
July 04, 2001

In fact it resembles more Caesar and Cleopatra than Catan.

I am in love with it because each time is different. It is great, looks beautiful, and provokes my fantasy.

The problem with the game is that none of my friends like the card game. You get more depressed by losing than the winner gets happy.

That drawback is gone once you have Politik & Intrige with it. Then you have a really great and beautiful game. Forget the other expansions, they are rubbish.

It is wise to keep an eye on what your opponent does. If he keeps his cards or invests in a specific heap, be careful!

Another nice point of the game is that it allows you to make (small) mistakes at a small cost, so you can play it after work. However, it does not make you want to play another one right after.

A final point I have heard before is that getting the last victory point takes too much time and effort; either it is a close finish (in which case you won by luck) or you were unstoppable from the start (in which case you could have ended the game much sooner). So the weakness lies in the static nature of the victory points.

Don't buy it right away, borrow it first.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great theme but repetitive game play
July 03, 2001

Upon first playing the game, I was surprised and pleased at how well it blended ideas from the Settlers of Catan board game with new concepts like building city improvements. The first few games were fun and exciting as we learned the capabilities of all of the different cards. Now, after about 10 games, our games have fallen into a predictable routine:

1) Find and build as many of the Garrisons as you can (there are only 3 of them; usually one player gets 1, the other 2). They are the best buy in the game: they are cheap, protect you from Brigand Attack, worth a windmill, and (most importantly) give you two bonus resources when the Productive Year event comes up.

2) Find and build either Pippin the Short or Otto the Berserker. Pippin will get you tournament victories for quite a while (until the more expensive knights are built). Otto will give you the knight token for the same length of time. Both are cheap enough to be built early in the game.

3) Build an Abbey.

4) Build a road.

5) Find a scout. Build a settlement, using the scout.

After this beginning phase, the strategy varies a bit, but usually has the following elements:

- Once you both have 3 victory points or more, hammer your opponent with Merchants, Black Knights, and Brigands (save the Arsonists for later when the expensive buildings are built). Use spies to steal spies, then steal Bishops so that your attacks are more likely to succeed.

- Get the windmill token. Being able to steal one of your opponent's resources is potent, even in the later stages of the game. This often means building the Counting House and/or Merchant Guild, but it is worth it.

- Secure a method of trading cheaply. Either double the production of a resource and build the corresponding fleet, or grab the second mountain stream with a Scout when you build another settlement, then build the Mint.

- Build more Abbeys and Libraries. More cards = more options, plus they kick in resources of your choice when the Progress event comes up.

Anyway, I guess my point is that after several games, it becomes far less interesting to play. Because the cards are always the same (no variable board layout like the board game) and players operate 90% independently of each other, there are very few events that cause a player to have to change tactics or modify their strategy in order to win.

It is still a fun game, and my wife and I continue to play it every once in a while, but I find games with less predictable game play, like Hera & Zeus and Caesar & Cleopatra, a little more entertaining. I do recommend the game and think it's a worthy addition to anyone's collection.

Somehow misses the mark
June 29, 2001

The Settlers of Catan Card Game is actually fairly similar to what Klaus Teuber originally envisioned for the board game. Each city would be capable of improvements, there would be wars, and so on.

Thankfully, Mr. Teuber realized that this would be a very heavy game with all that added chrome, and chose to strip it to its bare essentials. The many expansions and editions of [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Settlers of Catan have added in much of the chrome, if players are so inclined, but the basic game has a certain pristine quality to it, a purity of purpose and spirit that appeals to many gamers.

The card game seems to have lost that spirit in its quest for strategic complexity. Without a board and the inevitable in-fighting to secure prime locations, the card game becmes much more a case of double solitaire. There is not so much interaction between the players as there is a constant one-upsmanship.

The game system is definitely clever, and with the German-language expansion sets, the game can be modified into something very personal, practically a collectible card game. It does not, however, feel much like Settlers of Catan. There simply doesn't seem to be enough interaction between the players, and in the games I have played, this even extended to the trading of resources.

While I do like this game, it just falls rather short of deserving the Settlers crown. One thumb up.

Actually nearer 3.5 stars...
June 24, 2000

...but Funagain's rating system is tough, having to award a whole number of stars.

I feel I need to justify my rather low rating of this game. First, it will lower the average rating of a game to which several prior reviewers have given a maximum five stars. Second, I've just written a five-star review of the original board game, so I'm clearly ranking this, its smaller sibling, rather lower.

I think that I can best justify the three-star rating for this one with reference to one way in which it is similar to the board game, and one way in which it is different. The games are similar in that the more resources you have, the more stuff you can build, and the more stuff you have built, the faster you acquire resources. In other words, both games have a positive feedback loop. Unless such a loop is compensated for, it will tend to produce a runaway winner.

Now for the crucial difference. The board game has a negative feedback loop. The better a player is doing, the more likely are the other players (plural, since the board game is for 3 or more) to act against that leading player. This negative feedback loop is a good thing; it damps, or reverses, the positive loop described above. On the other hand, the card game has no corresponding negative feedback loop. The leading player tends to increase her or his lead.

So, although the Settlers card game is ingenious, and a good game in its own right, it doesn't quite make the four-star level, let alone join its senior sibling on the lofty five-star perch.

by Tash
doesn't compare to the board game
November 15, 1999

I believe that the board game of the same name is excellent and deserves its good reputation. The card game however is a different story; it lacks interaction between the opponents; a friend described it as like 'playing solitaire'. Whilst it is easy to attempt to gauge the opponent's resources and method of play in the board game; it is both cumbersome and arduous to do this in the card game...... I was dissapointed particularly as the artwork of this card was so beautiful and the history of the game had promised so much. Perhaps another with lower expectations would think otherwise.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Didn't deliver
February 16, 2004

After all we had heard about the board game, we were very disappointed in this 2-player version. We like different combinations of luck and strategy. Two of the primary reasons we play games is to have fun and spend time together. In effect we did neither with this game. There are too many things to keep up with. It's too hard to get back in the game if you get behind early. There aren't enough of the protection (garrison) cards and their distribution is totally random. You're playing independently a lot of the time. And the game is incredibly tedious. We retired it from our collection.

NOT like the board game, slow, independent play
January 20, 2004

The game contains none of the competition for roads that make the board game so great. Two players sit across from each other and essentially play solitaire until one player reaches across the table to play a disaster on the other. The extra die makes everything random, and the resource cards everywhere make it hard to tell what you have in front of you.

This is a nice enough game, but it's just a spin-off with only the pictures in common with the board game.

Thank God for the Expansion Cards
June 24, 2003

The first half dozen times I played this game I enjoyed it. It became quickly clear that winning strategies are limited. Build the abbey to increase the number of cards in your hand, build a cheap knight with a 2 or 3 red number, build the garrison to protect resourses, build improvements that doubled production, etc. There was little player interaction, and limited strategy options.

HOWEVER, my wife likes to play and there aren't many games she will play willingly. So I played. I suspect that the reason she likes to play is that there are so few strategy decisions to be made (she likes light games), and additionally there is no way to seriously screw an opponent. (She is a nice person who hates to give the Queen of Spades in a game of Hearts, and if she gets the Queen of Spades it ruins her whole day). Sure you can play an Arsonist or Black Knight, but any damage dealt is quickly fixed.

Thank God for the expansion cards. They add some depth to the game by increasing choices. With five different themes to choose from (some of which increase player interaction) this game is increased to four stars. I suspect that the expansions will grow old eventually but by then maybe I can find a two player game we both will enjoy, or we can pick and choose cards to create our own custom expansion sets.

by Chad
Don't buy unless you're a huge Settlers fan.
November 02, 2001

I really enjoy the original Settlers of Catan, but it does not translate well into a 2-player card game. The trading aspect is gone. So is the friendly asmosphere. Due to the cards given, Settlers Card Game is much more cutthroat.

A lot of the reviews give game tatics that are all fine but miss the most important one. Get the windmill token and keep it. Whoever gets it gets plenty of resources of the exact type they need.

The cards are nice, though. The artwork and the two tokens are all top quality. But my final word on this one is 'yuck'.

Hmmmm... 5 stars? You must have better cards in your version
February 22, 2001

How anyone gave this game five stars I don't know. Whatever else this game may have for or against it, it isn't very fun, and after 10 plays it is very repetitive.

Originally, I thought this game would be excellent: gorgeous graphics, Settlers of Catan tie-in, building improvements in cities (a la Civilization for PC)--perfect, right? Wrong. Now I should qualify what I am going to say by saying that I have not played with any of the (as yet only German-language) expansions. But I have played at least 15 games of this in the last year, and I believe I can say that my opinion of this game, as is, will not improve. The game is dry, drawn-out, long, has very little player interaction, and it is way too difficult to build big structures (and even when you do, your opponent is bound to burn them down).

I want to like this game, but it's never going to happen. I'll play it every once in a while with my brother who likes it a bit more than I do, but that's only because I'll play nearly anything, sometimes even Monopoly--and my dislike for Monopoly ought to be nearly as legendary as Greg Schloesser's dislike of Aladdin's Dragons. There is no way I could recommend this game. It doesn't stink, but it's dull, and frustrating, and the dice rolls with the Arsonist and Knight are way too powerful. If I want to be dull and frustrated and lose a game based on dice rolls, I'll play Monopoly--and I won't play Monopoly!

Too few strategic decisions for gamers, too dry and protracted for families. The novelty wears off quick and you're left with a pretty little game that just kind of collects dust in a corner. I want to play colorful games with interaction, tension, and theme. If you are desperate for a fun, good, two-player game with good interaction, I recommend Hera & Zeus, or Tally Ho! If you want something 2 player but bigger and more strategic, I've heard that Battle Cry is great, and I happen to know that Tikal and Wildlife Adventure (aka Expedition) are wonderful games for 2 players.

by Mike
Alot of Work....
December 06, 1999

The Settlers of Catan Card Game is a lot of work. Like everyone, I was looking forward to how Settlers would translate to two.

The cards are square with lots of nifty illustrations and useful information. The rules were easy to understand, considering there were so many different cards. As for the game itself...

My main complaint with Settlers-The Card Game is the amount of work you need to do. There are so many things to keep track of, including resources, usable cards in your hand, which cards were in which pile, etc. This turns what use to be a simple and elegant game, with a smattering of chance into a brain melt memory frenzy for two.

I can see Klaus Teuber trying to incorporate some of the game trends introduced into the gaming world by Collectable Card Games. The strength of games like Magic, Legend of the Five Rings, etc. is in the abiity for players to pick and choose cards to put in their decks. In Settlers, The Card Game, these choices are thrust upon you and it's up to you to keep track and capitalize on it.

The results is a game that complicated to manage, not elegant. After I while, I didn't care if I remembered which cards did what or where they were, because I wasn't having any fun.

The Settlers Card Game is well thought out. It offers a degree of depth not common to many cardgames. But I prefer elegant two player games with subtlety like Lost Cities and Ceasar vs. Cleopatra, over one that is so much work!

Just Doesn't Have the Feel of the Original
August 11, 1999

I was quite disappointed with this game as it didn't hold my interest for long. When compared with Settlers of Catan, this game depends too much on memorization, really doesn't encourage any trading, and doesn't really have as many interesting decision choices. I have only played the game twice and have no desire to play it again. However, every time I play the original I keep wanting to go another round. Avoid this card game and stick with the original.

Leave Civilization Building Games to Computers
July 22, 2003

First of all, the instruction booklet is strangely ambigious - some obvious game elements just aren't mentioned at all! We couldn't make heads or tails of the game, so left it to our kids to figure out, which they eventually did, more-or-less...

The game reminds us of a simplified version of PC civilization/strategy games like Lords of the Realm. While it may have potential, the game frustrates more than it challenges or entertains.

The inherent design of the game too often places players at the whim of the draw; too many elements are left to chance. The game begins slowly anyway, and unless you're rolling well or drawing good cards, too many turns become useless, with one or both players unable to do anything, forced to wait until conditions improve.

Once one player gains an advantage, s/he stays on top, while the other player suffers a slow and pathetic defeat. The game thus rarely gives opportunity for reliance on good strategy; winning seems largely based on luck. There are moments when both players are relatively equal and the strategy becomes more exciting and challenging, but such moments are RARE indeed.

We've put the game in our Yard Sale box. Any buyers?

Didn't impress us one bit.
January 15, 2003

Finally got a chance to play this after having a hard time finding anyone who wanted to teach it.

We found the game easy to play but then virtually a game of obvious moves and too much chaos.

The worst problem was that none of us could see any realistic way of making up ground once you fell behind. The leader gets more resources, builds faster and just stays ahead. Unless you get lucky with the Arsonist, you're destined to be stuck behind the leader.

After playing it I couldn't wait to get back to standard Catan.

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