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The Settlers of Catan
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The Settlers of Catan

English language edition; second edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-120 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

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Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 1995
Deutscher Spiele Preis
1st place, 1995

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

  • Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

  • Year: 1995

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 60 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 900 grams

  • 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.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.6 in 161 reviews

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Best board game to Date!
May 18, 2004

4.5 stars.....

Starting to wear the pieces out, we only spend a few seconds deciding which game we're going to play. Easy to play. Just gone and bought the expansion Pack. This is a must have in anyones board game collection. Haven't played anyone who doesn't like it yet......Puerto Rico, El Grande & Carcassonne are gathering dust. Tough call I know for we enjoy these ones too......But wait and see, you'll understand.

by Nate
I can't help it . . .
May 12, 2004

I am sick and tired of all these reviews ranting about how great this game is. So I'll only say this once: this is a great game. We have only had it for a week, and it's had more plays in that one week than games I've had and loved for years.

What makes Settlers so playable? I think it is a mix of good gameplay and accesibility: There is a lot for you to do if you like strategic thinking, but your little sister can play too and not get totally wiped out.

The premise is okay, the pieces are nice, the board is well-drawn but nothing special, but everyone I have introduced to this game loves it, myself included. I'm sure there are better games out there, but I have yet to find one with the draw of Settlers of Catan.

by Susan
Make friends and influence people...
March 17, 2004

These days whenever we visit, we are asked to bring our 'Catan' game. If we can't visit often enough, our friends and families have tended to get their own copy of the game. Until they do, if we just want to sit and visit or do something else, we can't- because the game is always in play. You could call this game 'Popularity in a Box'.

by Mike
a classic that redefines all classics
February 20, 2004

This is an amazing game that has got the attention of the entire world. Whether you're in Germany, France, the US, Japan or Korea, people everywhere are going crazy for this game. It's great for kids or adults, casual or serious gamers, guys or gals.

The only peeve I've got with the game is the fact that they haven't yet come out with a version that already has the 5-6 player expansion built in (along with Seafarers and Cities/Knights). I think that there would be a huge market for such a version, especially if they gave a discount for the whole package. Klaus, are you listening?

Board Games for fun?
January 25, 2004

Before a friend introduced me to this game when I heard board game I thought monopoly, chutes and ladders, scrabble, etc.

That was a month ago and now I see how I was wrong. Hard to believe that one of the best board games out there (Catan) can't even be found in most toy/department stores.

If you get a chance to buy this game-do it. If this is any test to my excitement for the game then know that after playing once I bought it and since I have played it three or four times and I have not won yet :-) But I still love it.

High Recommendation - 5 Stars

by Rich
One of the Best
January 15, 2004

This game has it all. Good stategy, lots of trading, player screwing, fast moving, and replayable over and over agian. The random set up board ensures new strategy every game. The game never gets old and is always fun to play. Kids and adults can both enjoy it too making it a great family game.

by Steve C
Ultimate Family Game
January 06, 2004

I play wargames. I like complexity. Do you think my wife and teenage daughters want to play them? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way). However, they like playing Settlers--even if I win too often. The game is easy to grasp, fast-paced, and it's genuinely tough to figure out who is going to win because there are always several different strategies available. Plus, the board is not the same every time, so a 'been there, done that' feeling doesn't settle in.

The hexagonal board pieces are shuffled and dealt out, thus guaranteeing a randomness to the board. Each player gets to place two 'settlements' and adjacent roads in a 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 fashion. This can make going 4th an advantage to the thoughtful player.

Unlike many games, there is no down time. Every turn holds the possibility of gaining and/or trading for resources. Plus, each player's moves potentially impact your available moves, so it behooves you to pay attention! Because of the interactive nature of the game, there's no time for anyone to get 'bored' (ever heard that complaint before?). This is a game that the whole family can enjoy (from about 9 and up--maybe younger depending on the child). And, if you've got more than 4 in your family, get the expansion--it's fun too!

by Dean
Fantastic Boardgame
January 04, 2004

After playing this game once, I was simply hooked. This game is great, everytime I play it with my friends, the game is changed. We each have to adapt to the new board quickly or else ...

I have been introducing this marvellous game to my other friends and now they are all hooked. We have been playing settlers every week for a few months now. I am looking forward to this weekend's Settlers game as I am writing this review.

The Barry Bonds of Boardgames
December 26, 2003

Settlers may or may not be the best game ever, and Barry Bonds may or may not be the best baseball player ever. There wouldn't be a debate if they didn't have a lot going for them. The variable setup is an obvious plus (especially with the Seafarers expansion). The trading provides a level of interaction not often matched (while at the same time providing less opportunity to take a bathroom break), and trading is really an essential part of the strategy. Still, it is a deeper game than something like Bohnanza; there are always tough decisions to be made, and you do have to make your own luck.

The robber is underappreciated. In all civilization-building games, there is a natural tendency towards exponential growth. If your strength and my strength are both exponential functions withdifferent bases, the gap between us will increase throughout the game. So in a board game such as Settlers, it is necessary to have a mechanism by which the other players can impede the leader's progress, so that the game does not drag on with everyone knowing who is going to win. And in my experience, the robber is just powerful enough to do this. In a more competitive group, it might be desirable to tweak the game a bit and make it more tactical; the robber is the mechanism one would want to examine first.

One of best game ever
December 25, 2003

I find this to be the most complete game i've come across. It's exciting, addictive and easy to play. The bag of emotions it taps into is also quite big: Frustration when somebody just built a road AND a settlement on YOUR spot, the feeling of being evil (feeling good being evil) when you ask your opponents for ALL their cards of a resource (play monopoly card) and so on. It's a game that can take you just about 30 minutes up to 1,5 hour, rarely more.

With additions, Seafarers of Catan or Cites and Knights you get variations that embrace the same concept, but add new dimension of strategy and complexity, which is still within the grasp of a 'normal' person.

In short it's an incredibly simple and fun game, that can be extremely fun and gets even more fun when you start getting some basic strategies that can help you win it more than 25% of the time.

Guaranteed enjoyment!
December 20, 2003

This was the first German board game I was introduced to and I absolutely loved it. I immediately ordered a copy for myself and for my parents. Literally every single person I have introduced this game to either likes it or gets addicted to playing it. This is a can't miss for people who enjoy quality board games.

Great game!
October 23, 2003

It's tough to find a game that everyone likes, but I've played this game with many people and everyone loves this game. It's a bit long, but you get so into the game, it's easy to lose track of the time. Few new games are out there that can keep your focus for so long and result in fun by everyone!

World's best board game - but the German version looks better
October 16, 2003

Settlers of Catan must be the most interesting game invented ever! With the additions that now exist (seafarers, towns & knights, Space Settlers, Stoneage Settlers etc.) you can so easily get hooked on this fantastic universe, and play forever and ever with friends and family.

The English version as shown on most internetsites is very dull looking compared to the original beautiful German vesrion (which we also have adapted in Denmark). Where did the 'grey soup colored' English version come from?

However - Settlers is still to be beaten by any other board game. Get it, play it, enjoy it!

by Jesse
A Gamer's Game for Everybody!
October 13, 2003

This may be my favorite game.

I am so pleased to finally have a game that my whole family plays but that challenges a gamer's mind.

Now for the pros and cons:


1) Its different every time you play it. The random board possibilites adds tremendously to the replay value.

2) Everybody seems to like the theme. Fun to play with everybody. Even more fun toplay with gamers!

3) Good mix of luck and strategy.


1) The biggest cons come from mixing good players with poor players. The problems with playing with poor players is that the game becomes about who can exploit them the most (samething with Monopoly). And poor players making poor decisions can contribute greatly to another's benefit, which can make serious gamers roll their eyes while those benefitting from other's poor strategy shrug to each other saying 'I'm sorry.' Also, if someone doesn't want a particular person to win, its too easy for them just to give all their resources to an underd of that could put them over the edge.

2) My only other problem is the cost involved in purchasing all the expansions. The 5-6 player expansion is overpriced for what you get, but necessary for playing with 5-6 people.

All in all, this is a great game. It is still fun even if poor players make bad decisions if you just consider they're playing a part of the overall strategy. And even though I hate feeling ripped off at high costs, this game still deserves 5 stars.

Great game. Really!
October 04, 2003

Laying out the map, and watching each new world develope, is almost as much fun as playing the game.The game play is very social and I feel lends itself well to mild variations and tweaks.

For example, my family plays the expansion with 3 children who tend to get a bit bent about the thief coming to keep the game civil, we simply place the thief on one pile of resources

and when a 7 is rolled you take a card from that pile, move the thief to the next resource pile, and continue your turn...It works for us.

by Houle
MIT Gamers Concur, One of the Best
September 16, 2003

This game is excellent. Extremely well balanced, has a smooth learning curve, and its fairly adaptable (through expansions, and slight rules tweaking)to add variety and encourage long term gaming. I was first introduced to this game during our january break when it took my fraternity house by storm. With one board, 40 guys, and no class, there was pretty much a game going 24/7 for that whole month. What's great about this game is that you don't need to be a hardcore board game nerd to learn the rules and basic strategies so its easy to get people together for a game. The game also does not take too long (30 minutes-2 hours depending on skill level and experience of players, if you think thats long for a board game you should keep your mouth shut on reviewing them because you obviously haven't played any real board games). Since time between turns is fairly short, interest can be maintained amongst all the players, which also helps when trying to round up people for a game.

For those of you who think luck is big in this game you couldn't be more wrong. I've played this game against the smartest people on earth and against many good gamers and myself and one other individual will each routinely win about 40% of the games that we play in. The more you play the more you'll learn just how little luck is involved across the length of a game. If a guy hits 4 out of 5 dice rolls on a city with wheat and ore and wins the game, thats because he was building towards that goal. You should have blocked him out with roads or whatever other strategy your squares support. Someone who has a monster square should also have one that is pretty bad and that should limit them.

This all is not too say that this is THE best game, but it certainly rates higher than 2 stars.

Enough said.

Fun social game with depth
September 13, 2003

This is an excellent game--beats Risk any day.

The only thing I will add to the various comments is that one may want to put restrictions on the placement of the Robber. According to the game rule, when a 7 is rolled, the Robber must be moved. But if he gets moved ONLY between two tiles, the person(s) owning those tiles will get seriously handicapped. Even though it is only a game and mostly adults play it, when a couple of players gang up on another player, it definately adds a bit of unpleasant taste to this otherwise fun and sociable game. Surely in real life people do get screwed, but why do so in a game, with friends, in an evening meant to be fun?

The same goes with the rule that allows the person who rolls a 7 to take a card from someone in whose hex he places the robber. The recommendations on the rule change from one of the reviewers sounds reasonable, and one surely can come up with some other ammendments to the rules that will make the game enjoyable for all.

by Jake
Best game I've ever played!
September 10, 2003

This is (so far) the greatest game I've ever played. While the game has many strong points, the randomized board is what sets it apart from other games. You can sit and play 3 of 4 games of Settlers and the game changes each time. Seriously, go buy this game. Now.

Best board game ever!
August 22, 2003

I've now realized how naive I was, when I thought that Risk was the best board game - SETTLERS IS #1, Hands down(not literally, mind you)! Very, very, very fun and addicting! I've only been playing this game for a few weeks now, but I enjoy playing it more than any other game I've played previously! It truly is the best board game that I've ever played.


What you've heard is correct...
June 30, 2003

Settlers has got to be one of the greatest games ever made. Fun, easy to learn, and heavily addicting, gamers and non-gamers alike beg to play it over and over. Settlers is the Monopoly of the new age, (except way more fun and strategic). Yes, some things depend on dice rolling and whatnot, but come on people - there's a lot more to it than that!

Trust what you've heard about this rare gem of a game - you won't be sorry.

Survey Says ... ding , ding, ding, ding, ding
June 23, 2003

My copy of this game is about shot. The box is taped up, the cards are sticky, pieces are missing, and my kids have colored on it. It is definitely the most used game on my game shelf, and there is good reason for that. It is simple for non-gamers to learn, and they always enjoy it. It is deep enough for gamers to appreciate, and they always enjoy it.

Let's face it, when most Americans think about playing games they think of Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and that's about it. It has been said that Settlers is a great game to introduce people to the wide world of German games. I would agree whole heartedly with that statement. The rules are simple, (remember the first time you tried to explain Axis and Allies to a non-gamer?), the mechanics of the game are simple, player interaction is supurb, and it is just the right length at abour 60-90 minutes. There are enough ways to win to keep your opponents guessing and the board is never exactly laid out the same way twice.

June 17, 2003

This is the best board game I have ever played. It is simple, easy to learn, fun to play, open to endless strategy, and amazingly addictive. Every body i have playe it with thinks it is great. I have people asking me to bring the game with me to lots of gatherings.

Excellent Game... And My Wife Will Even Play!
June 14, 2003

This is a great game. Period.

For those of you looking for a silver bullet that will forever satisfy your gaming thirsts, no, this one isn't it either. That said...

I question that logic put forth by those who say they have played 30+ or 50+ times and that this game is worthless (1-3 stars). That they have played it that many times says something about the built-in intrigue of the game. So it isn't perfect...

One of the biggest perks of this game is that it is an attractive option for non-gamers (i.e. my wife). The first time my wife played Risk was the last. Axis and Allies is on her top 10 list of tortures worse than death. The general rule of thumb (I have learned this the hard way) is that strategy games and females blend about as well as gasoline fumes and butane torches.

With Settlers, I have yet to meet a single female who had less than whole-hearted enthusiasm for this game. That doesn't mean there aren't some out there, but it does speak well for the wholistic appeal to the populace.

Men, give it a shot. If you can get your wife or girlfriend to sit down to this game, she will probably be the one to offer it up as an option on the next game night. Good luck and enjoy!

by Alan
More addictive than Tobacco
June 05, 2003

One of my friends introduced me to this game. I was a little skeptical at first just by the setup of the game, but as I played and got the hang of the game I loved it. I think the first night I played it, my friends and I played 3 games. After that I decided I wanted to buy it. The day I got it I played 5 or 6 games, all in one day.

This is a game of luck, strategy, skill and persuasiveness. Boy can this game get competive also. I highly recomend this game for everyone and may the best strategist win.


I never knew Board Games could be this good!
June 01, 2003

The Settlers Of Catan Is Fantastic!!! It is superb Mix of stratagy And luck That makes it perfect for older children and aduts alike! This is The best board game of all time I kid You not,To be enjoyed by people from 10-100. I Seriously Recommend This Game to any one and every one!!!

Greatest Game of the 21st Century! 10 Stars
May 31, 2003

Okay, this is a bold statement, but let me explain why I love this game. I use to be a hardcore gamer than I quit, I was bored with what was out there, I did party games for awhile...I discovered Settlers of Catan and my gaming life changed for the best!

I have played hundreds of games, against all ages, expansions, every version. The original is still my favorite, don't bother with the others. Luck, hah! Sure the dice have luck, but in the long term luck is reduced (statistically), so the longer you can play, the more you reduce the luck factor. I have played games where the luck was against me, I prolong the game, shut down other players, and manage amazing comebacks. I win practically every game I play, I play against competitive players, so luck is not a factor, but being persuasive and aggressive in trading is the key. I now play with a handicap and need more points than anyone else to win. I look forward to tournaments also.

This game combines so many great elements, it feels like I'm playing Monopoly, poker, craps, and tons of other great games all wrapped up in one. Is it simple to learn, is it cheap, is it quick, can you throw it in a small container and take it camping, can you play with all ages, can you try various strategies, can you have hours and hours of fun...the answer is yes to all! Even my non-gamer friends love this game. I want to get the pocket set next, hope it comes out in English.

I give this game out to everyone on birthdays and Christmas, cause this will become the greatest game of the new century! Buy it, if you don't like it, hundreds of people will buy it from you used. No risk! Give it a few tries, my first time out I wasn't crazy until I played more and more.

Good Gaming. -John D. Min

Super Fun to play with family, friends or both!
May 11, 2003

I usually play this with my family but when friends come they can play. The is game is so great you get to build and trade (sometimes I get mad when someone takes the port I was heading for)and it really fun. I know people who have played and enjoyed it from 9 years old - 29 years. I says on the game to play when you are 12 and older but really you just need to be able to read and understand things.

by Vv
Saved my life when trapped on an island!
May 11, 2003

I went to school on the island of Martha's Vineyard during the off-season. (AKA...season when there is nothing to do and no place to go!) The only thing that kept my friends and myself sane was SETTLERS OF CATAN! It was FUN FUN FUN!!!!!!!! And my life has never been the same since I played it! It is great! And I can't imagine life without it now.

The Best Game Ever
May 07, 2003

This game is like no other game before it. It sort of makes you feel as if your really building your own little empire. and while playing the game you have to plan out before you do something , this game is an old medival version of sims but ten times better.

by Henry
The greatest introductory game ever!
May 03, 2003

I have not found a single person that I have played this game with that has not enjoyed the game. If they don't live close to me were they can easily abscond with my game, they will almost inevitably ask where they can get their own copy. In fact I have ended up leaving three copies of this game at different locals around the country. The upside to this is that I get a new copy of the game. The only person I could see taking issue with this game are the most die hard, 'I don't want any luck what so ever involved in my games, even if it is somewhat controlled by my own tactics and strategy. Quick, get it before it goes out of print! If you order now you will get a free copy of the rules and an enclosed print of Klaus Teuber.

Not perfect, but nothing is. 5 stars all the way.
March 12, 2003

I collect games. I probably have around 30 of the top 50 best sellers on this site. I saying that, not to brag, but to put my following statements into perspective. Settlers was one of the first games I bought and I STILL play it quite often. It's that good. I even play it two player. Even though 3 is way better, 2 is as good as just about any other game I own. This is easily one of the top 5 games I've played.

Review of negatives reviews: strategic gaps in thinking
March 06, 2003

Many detractors have mentioned 'serious flaws' in Settlers. What they are really revealing are 'serious flaws' in their strategies.

One frequent 'flaw' mentioned is that one player tends to pull away. In a 4 player game, there are ways of dealing with this: keep the robber on his most productive and needed land, trade embargo, cooperating to cut him off with roads, etc. If the three other players put together can't stop the leader, then you clearly started trying to stop the leader too late, which was your own strategic or diplomatic error.

Now it could be that you are playing with a group of players who won't cooperate to stop the leader. This tells me you need to play with some more intelligent people. I have occasionally played Monopoly with people who NEVER traded their property. I never played a second game with such people.

Another 'fatal flaw' mentioned was initial placement. One reviewer went so far as to say that whoever gets to go first, wins. This is just plain wrong. Perhaps they don't understand the rules that state that the player who places first on the first settlement, places last on the second settlement? Having settlement 1 and 8 is often worse than having settlement 3 and 6.

If you go later, you DO have to be flexible in your thinking. If you think wheat/ore is the only way to go, then you may indeed think the game is over when the first player picks the prime wheat/ore location. However, there are many other strategies to play, IF you are flexible in your thinking. I have seen many games where brick was in short supply, and if you were well positioned for brick, you could trade for all of the ore and wheat you needed.

In summary, the 'fatal flaws' seem more to me to be flaws in strategy in reacting to situations, rather than flaws in the game. If you fail to use diplomacy to suppress the leader, then yes, the game can become a runaway. If you can't adapt to various strategies, then yes, not going first is a disaster. But if you have a flexible strategy and good diplomacy, you can find ways around these 'fatal flaws', and have a competitive and enjoyable game regardless of the situation.

by Rob
Absolutely no 'lucky' game
March 04, 2003

I like to add this comment because in many reviews people tend to overweigh the influence of the dice. Especially in the Cities & Knights version (that I'm absolutely addicted to, both offline and online) your victory really only depends on your tactical and strategical skills. The dice follow their normal statistical distribution and give every player equal chances!

You want proof? Ok.

(1) Within The Netherlands we have a yearly Settlers of Catan championship. Every year it's the same bunch of people that rank high. And guess what:

(2) these are the same people that rank high in the wannagame online Settlers of Catan ranking (with thousands of players from all over the world and every month again the same players win).

In my humble opinion (and I play the game since 1996!) those who feel it's all a matter of luck, are dead wrong and just not good enough in playing the game to understand the tactics involved. (take that for a challenge ;-)

One of the Best Games Ever
February 10, 2003

I have grown up in a game family and have experienced many fun board games. Then along came Settlers of Catan and challenged my gaming imagination. The game is never the same. The game board changes every game. There is a great combination of skill, strategy, and luck in this game. It is a must own if you truly enjoy challenging games. Enjoy.

This has to be one of the greatest games of all times!
January 27, 2003

This is one of the most simple yet challenging games on the market. I would highly recommend getting the expansions for this. It adds that much more to the game, not only in challenge but also in entertainment. Let's face it. We play games to be entertained and why not entertain ourselves until we wet ourselves with excitement. This is a most have for the gamers arsenal of entertainment, along with the 'Matrix'. Ciao . . .

January 21, 2003

This game has had me enthralled ever since I started playing it. I love it! It can change at any second, it is the luck of the draw and the luck of dice. But no matter how much luck is afforded to someone, without skill it would be useless!! GREAT GAME.

by Tim
Great game!
January 18, 2003

You bet luck is a part of the game; just as much as skill! That's the world we live in, and that's what makes this game great. Don't believe the negative comments if you think luck is a fun part of playing games. Perhaps they just have an unlucky life.

The Best All around game for gamers and non-gamers alike!
January 14, 2003

My wife and I discovered this game a year ago and fell in love with it. I grew up an avid gamer, my wife grew up on Life and Sorry. We both love it equally and get regular calls of friends wanting to play.

Catan including Settlers and the 40+ expansions that we have both found and created for the game is always changing for us. It is a great mix of strategy and interation with other players that lasts about 2 hours.

Can't reccomend a better game!

by Steve
Excellent four player game
January 08, 2003

This has been the game we have repeatedly gone back to (along with Hearts the card game). An ingenious system which ensures there's a good balance between luck and skill - plenty of player interaction too. We've started to extend the end game so that winner has to gain 12 victory points rather than 10 to increase playing time.It has never ending replayability. A real hit!

Everyone seems to love this game
January 03, 2003

Most of my friends are not board gamers and I struggle to find people who are interested in playing board games with me more than once every couple of months. But when I suggest we play Settlers, everyone wants to play!

The absence of war and the concept of building a community appeals to a lot of people. Also, the randomness of the board layout and trade aspects are considered to be among the top reasons why my friends say they love it.

by Andy C
Don't like luck? Play Diplomacy.
December 30, 2002

I can't think of too many games these days that don't incorporate at least a small amount of luck in their play.. can you? If dice scare you, I suggest sticking with chess, checkers, or perhaps marbles.

The point is, luck may be a factor, and a large one at that. However, if one sets up intelligently from the start of the game, putting him or herself in the best position to take advantage of the most likely rolls (Yes, there is a reason the 6's and 8's have more dots on them and are red.. *gasp*), and takes advantage of any of the rolls that do come his or her way with careful planning, shrewd trading, and board control, that player will most likely be in the best position to win. And last I checked, strategy and planning are fairly important tools needed to win any game, dice or not.

I own over 100 board games at this point, and while Settlers was one of my first German-style game experiences, it remains one of my favorites, even if I'm not a fan of Mr. Teuber's/Mayfair's expensive expansion policy.

At any rate, if you haven't yet (and if you're here reading this... how is that possible?), give this game a try.

Fantastisch, Unglaublich, Wunderbar, I'm not even German
December 26, 2002

I'm not even German, but I have to give credit to one of the best games around. I used to game a lot in HS and College, stop playing cause I got bored of everything, then a friend buys this game and everyone I know, even the non-gamers are playing this, we all bought a version and every single expansion. What game combines so many elements of dice luck, card luck, with random play, skill involved in placement, negotiation skills, you name it this game has it all, plus is easy to learn and has multiple levels of strategy to master, I've had the worse luck on roles and still can win using other strategies, my record so far is 43-12 against everyone I played and I still love this game! A must own! Beautiful to look at, simple to carry, we bring it on camping trips, we have a home-made fold out map for trips and all you need is the cards and pieces. I can't rave enough about this game, don't let a few times fool you, when I first played I didn't like the game, you need to play a few times to see the true beauty of the brillance! Good Luck Gaming. -John D. Min

by Nick
December 22, 2002

I'v read countless reviews on this page that suggest luck is the only part of this game. I agree luck is a big part of the game, but that is part of what makes the settlers of catan a great board game. when i played, i enjoyed the randomness and luck of the game. luck with the dice rolls will eventually even out, and if it doesnt, you just play the game over again. This game is not bad at all, and the luck factor can only improve the game's addictiveness, one aspect that i personally like.

It's all Luck
December 18, 2002

Life is Luck. Face it. You were born rich enough to afford this game, whose cost is more than some people in third world countries earn in a year. Already you were LUCKY enough to live in such extravagance. So if luck is bad, so is life. Today, while driving on icy roads, I was not hit and killed by a truck. Reason: skill, foresight and LUCK.

This game is great. It is based on probabilties and foresight. There are few games that don't involve chance. Chance is just a factor that CAN be planned on. Overall a good player will win. Will she win everytime? No, but I have found that losing all the time makes me lose interest in a game, so even poorer players should win part of the time.

In closing if any of you hate games because of luck, take a Probability class at the local college and learn how to calculate odds. Then hedge your bets in this game. Next, take a Psychology class and try to out guess your opponents. After that figure out how to make contigency plans (or atleast look up the word contigency). If this doesn't help, then don't play any games that have luck, keeping in mind that cards also involve chance.

by A Jones
An Excellent Game -- Fun each time and always unpredictible.
December 16, 2002

Hey guys, if you haven't played The Settelers of Catan game you are absolutely missing out.

I have to tell you that I'm a playstation fan (RPG's) all the way, but since I started playing Die Seitler Von Catan, I haven't wanted to stop.

This game is always changing and just when you think you have a stratgey all figured out, along comes 'Lady-luck' to tell you differently. Each time you set this board game out the properties come out differently, and the dice are never what you think they will be. Belive me when I tell you it all changes.

I challenge you to play this game and not have fun doing so, even when you loose it is fun, interesting, different and challenging. I don't see how anyone who loves games could possibly play this game and not enjoy it.

If you like Monopoly, I think you'll love The Settlers of Catan.

I was kinda saddened to see some of the bad comments about The Settlers game. However, I'm ever aware that not all games will be enjoyed by all people so I will let that pass.

I'm not the best 'Catan' player in the world, in fact out of the (probably 100 games) I've played now I have only won two games.

Contrary to what 'others' have said about the game. In the first game I won we were playing with four players I was the second person on the board (a position which, by the way I absolutely hate). The second time I won I was the last of four players to get on the board.

Is this because I'm not good at stratagy you may ask? Is this because my luck was purley bad?

My answer to both of the above questions is NO!!

Catan is a board game, where in the board changes each time. Each of the properties have a number placed on them at the beginning of the game and each player in the game takes a turn rolling the dice to see who rolls the highest number. This is the criteria by which the first player in the game is choosen.

However, contrary to popular (detractors) advise. I for one would rather be the last player on the board than the first (90 x out of 100, anyway).

Catan is played in such a way that 'yes' luck has something to do with who wins, but so does the placement of each 'hex piece'. The placement of where each number (the #'s that determine which commodity is paid) is placed. The properties and yes the numbers you choose to set your settlements and roads on.

The winner is also determined by what you choose to do with your commodities. ie: If you have the wherewithal to buy a 'special card' but choose instead to wait (because you really want that city) and then you end up with too many cards when you or somebody rolls a 7. Then it is your own [stratagy] fault (not luck's, not placement, not because you just had bad luck {althought that does come into it too}. But remember you had a choice at your last turn to decrease the amount of cards in your hand and YOU CHOSE, (YOU), not to do the move that might have saved you.

I have also found that those people you are palying the game with may just possibly choose the properties and numbers that look the best at the beginging of the game. And sure enough those numbers come up offten and that person seems to be doing just 'dandy'....but opps along comes that old hairy 'luck', and....well....darn! That person all of a sudden isn't getting any dice rolled for them. I have seen the dice change suddenly like this, during many, many games, many, many times throughout the game.

By the way if you choose properties just because they have the best numbers on them you could be in real trouble in this game. So I suggest you try many stratagies and find out what works best for you.

I have played in games where the 7, 6, 8 and 9, (which are supposed to be the most rolled numbers) don't come up but a few times in the whole game. On the other hand I have seen people who don't have either the (longest road or the most Ridders) cards winn.

I don't know (SHRUG) maybe I look at playing and winning games differently from most of you. I don't always have to win a game to enjoy it. I, of course do like to win, but sometimes it is just as fun just to play and interact with others.

Best All Around Game
December 10, 2002

I play games with a very diverse group, with tastes that run from Diplomacy to Pictionary. This is the only game we have found that satisfies every member of the group over and over again. It is simply the best blend of strategy and social gaming I've ever played.

It's not the most exciting theme (often people grimace when I explain it to them), but I encourage you try it once or twice. I haven't met a person yet who didn't keep coming back for more.

Best game ever!
December 07, 2002

I spend hours and hours playing this game. It's so much fun! It is a very intense game once you get into it, and the board is different every time. It brings people and families together, and provides fun for all ages. It is a must have for every household!

The Champion of games, ushering in a new standard
December 05, 2002

The Settlers of Catan may well be the single greatest board game ever designed. Like many other German games, it combines simple rules and a short playing time with the potential for intricate strategy and battles of wits. But Catan is arguably the best example of bringing all these elements into perfect balance.

Catan satisfies a wide range of people, even those who normally hate board games, since it is the players themselves that choose the character of each game. It can be as cutthroat or as amiable as you want (or both!). It also excels at keeping every player actively involved at all times, both through the ingenious system of resource production and the constant opportunities for trading and deal-making. I could go on, but other reviews already have.

I have no hesitation in recommending Settlers of Catan to pretty much anyone. From there, you may choose to explore more complex or more simple-structure games, but Catan is good for all!

Great Game
October 22, 2002

I can't get enough of this game. I've played it about 20 times now with friends and family and all of us have enjoyed it. This type of German game is new to me and blows out of the water other tried and true American games that mostly depend on luck to win. I love that this game is easy to learn but takes quite a bit of deep thought (not to mention quite a few gaming nights) to master winning strategies. I also like that each game is unique because of the random tile placements. Lastly, although I consider myself more of the gamer, my wife (a non-gamer) is the one who constantly wants to play. And more often than not she beats us all!

by Dave
If you don't have this game, your missing out
October 01, 2002

This is the easiest review I've ever written.

Buy Settlers of Catan.

Play Settlers of Catan.

Feel the love for Settlers of Catan.

Then go get the various expansions for the game.

It's money well spent.

(And besides, if you don't have Settlers, your gaming friends will laugh at you).

Great basic game with endless possibilities
September 19, 2002

I started playing this game with some friends, and shortly was sufficiently addicted that I went out and bought both the basic 4-player and the 6 player expansions. My favorite features of this game are the endless variations and the fact that while chance plays a great role in the production of resources, it is not the major determininig factor in winning the game. The more I have played, the more creative I have become in devising variants to make it more interesting. This game takes only about 90 minutes to play, usually less, actually, so it is an easy one to get through in a short evening. Easily my personal favorite.

The Original Monopoly
August 17, 2002

If you enjoy the American Game of buying property, owning enough to get more money for each property, and having a Monopoly on a certain area of a board, then you'll love the German version. I don't know if it is actually basedon Monopoly, but there are a lot of similarities. The best part of this game is that it is different each time you play it! The board is never the same in two consecutive games. This is one of the best games played!

Better than sandcrabs and peanut butter
July 28, 2002

I guess this game is sure to capture your imagination in one way or another. The majority of people think the game is better than sliced bread, banner ads, and fossil fuels. About .00000000001% would rather have sandcrabs in their underwear and eat unsliced loaves without peanut butter. If winning were the only thing that mattered to me I would join that whining minority of blabbering idiots, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing except a small sence of self. Luckily for me, when I don't win I am still able to sleep at night. Sometimes I even enjoy myself just because I'm interacting with other people. I especially enjoy not trading with those who whine about bad dice rolls and never understand why they do so poorly at the game. Ahh, the game is sweeter than they'll ever know, dishing out peotic justice in spoons of sweet social sarcasm as well as through players who refuse to trade with them!

by Scott
Fun and Addictive, Amazing game, MUST play
July 27, 2002

I first played this game at a club at my school and instantly I was hooked. Everyday I wanted to play I found others willing also.

The game is half skill and half luck.

Build roads to block other players, build cities to double resources, use to theif to screw over oppenent, try to develope the longest road, or largest army for bonus points.

One game is never the same.

Very addictive and impossible to get bored of it.

Play this game ASAP!
July 21, 2002

We bought this game two weekends ago and have already played it over 15 times! It seems like we are still learning different strategies but most important, I have a great time even if I do not end up winning. The fact that this game has strategy and social interaction is what sets it apart for me. What a perfect balance.

Very fun with great replay and player interaction
July 03, 2002

This game is the be-all , end-all of the board-building genre. The amount of stratagey can vary greatly and is light yet very deep and analitical. The random placement of the 'discs' at the beginning of the game ensures that no 2 games are ever alike. The trading and bartering can bring people to the table over and over again and embargoing certain people always makes for a good time.

If, for some reason, you don't own this game, buy it now!
June 14, 2002

Settlers of Catan will always have a place in my heart as the 'gateway' that led me into the world of European board games (as well as many great American made games not normally found in stores). I recommend this game in the hopes that it can open up other people to a world of great gaming, much the way it did for me.

Of course, most people on this site have already played Settlers to death, and they have found plenty of reasons to complain about it. Yes, the intital placement can be too large an advantage. Yes, as with any die rolling game, luck can often play a huge roll. Nonetheless, The Settlers of Catan overcomes these minor flaws and will leave you enjoying 90% of the games you play. It is my belief that Settlers is the perfect game to introduce people to the wonderful world of strategy board games.


1. It showcases the key elements of German Board Games (as opposed to Parker Brothers syle games): increased skill factor, the lack of player elimination, a medium length gaming experience that usually leaves you wanting more, nicely crafted bits and pieces, etc.,

2. It has a wondeful level of player interaction.

3. While having enough strategy for most serious gamers, it also is light enough for non-gamers.

4. It has wondeful replay value.

Even with all the games I own, The Settlers of Catan remains the most requested game by my friends. I would say my largest frusturation with the game is that it has prevented me from playing some other greats...but I get over that as soon as I have to place my first settlement.

Get this game. Oh, and the expansions are well done to...though Cities and Knights is leagues above Seafarers.

Words don't even describe it!
June 07, 2002

Settlers of Catan is a great game!!!!!!!!!! I have only played it twice but those two times were one of the best game playing moments of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reader, you have to get this game!!! I am excited for more games like this one to come out. The reason why I am writing this review right now is actually because I was buying it online. I encourage you to as well if you want to have tons of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unbelievable balance!
May 21, 2002

The balance of this game is exquisite and the theme is captivating. I have played this game over 50 times and it is still interesting. Almost every other game that I can say that about (with the exception of some abstract games like Chess and Go) accomplishes that goal with pages and pages of rules. Furthermore, this game is somewhat social which makes it a great game to introduce to non-gamers. It is no wonder this game has become the best selling game of the past 7 years and is still generating interest. There is no other German game with such few rules that is as good of a 4 player game. Period. This is the best multi-player game ever.

I'm disappointed by some of the bad reviews.
May 21, 2002

Many other reviews describe how this game plays. This review is about the malicious reviewing of others and how those reviews detract from the usefulness of this website.

Someone gave this game the lowest possible rating; 1 star. Unbelievable. Then he states he has played this game 40 - 50 times! Perhaps he is locked in a mental hospital where he is forced to play horrible board games or suffer shock treatment. More than likely, he plays with some people who are better then him and finds it easier to blame the dice than swallow the truth. I think it is immature to mess with the polls in this way. Now someone needs to give Princes of Florence, El Grande, Puerto Rico and other more complicated but just as fantastic games a 1 star rating in order to balance out the polls. How silly. Even the players who gave a 2 star rating (below average) should rethink their motive. How can they think that of all the silly games in the world, this one is below average?

Some players have latched onto the idea that rolling dice introduces random elements to a game. This is true. Rolling dice is one of the more obvious ways to introduce randomness into a game, but the truth is that every game on the market today (especially multi-player games) has an element of chance. Even chess can be random when a player makes a move for one reason and accidentally sets himself up for a good move two turns down the line. Chance is simply a part of reality that people need to come to grips with. More complicated games are simply more difficult to master which means the luck element is hidden for a longer period of time. As you and your gaming group grow to master these more complicated games, youll see that luck determines a greater percentage of the outcomes. Once every player reaches a certain level of mastery, every game is determined by chance. This is the sad reality. So please don't take out your frustrations on the gaming community. We are simply in search of good information. While this game is easier to master than many other games that have more rules, no other game has the same level of balance using the same amount or fewer rules. This does not mean this is the best multi-player game ever, it simply means that it is among the best.

Some luck with a lot of strategy
April 11, 2002

My first comment - can so many people be wrong about this game? My answer - no way! This simply put is a great game. The detractors do not like the luck of the dice, and yes it does contain dice and yes sometimes those dice can go against you. I had a game where for 4 entire rounds of 4 people I did not get even one resource card - and I had settlements on the hexagons with dice values of 5, 6, 8, and 10! Was I frustrated - absolutely! But I chalk that up to an incredible string of bad dice. And sometimes that does happen, however that is very, very, rare.

I have noticed however that some players win much more consistently than others. Is this because they always are lucky with the dice? Of course not - they (we) know what we are doing. In fact, in the example above I still won!

The game just plays well. I think one reason people might like this so much, and I have never heard anyone say this, is the game seems to slowly pick up momentum. At first, it moves kind of slowly, but before long you are hooked and the cards start coming and you just get reeled in. There is no downtime, and the number of options keeps the game fresh. I especially like the rule where if you have more than 7 cards and the robber surfaces (with a roll of 7), you must lose half of your cards. ARGHH! I hate that - but I love it at the same time.

If you absolutely and totally hate any dice or randomness in a game than I would agree this might not be the game for you. It is not a brain killer, and yes sometimes, (but rarely), your best strategic moves can blow up on you. But if you like a game that most anyone will like, has much more strategy than is first apparent, and looks good, then this is the game for you.

There is only one negative I do have about this game. The add-ons get very costly. You would think the expansions would be considerably less than the original game - but some (seafarers for example) cost as much as the original. Plus I would wish they would just include the extra pieces for a 5-6 player game and charge a few bucks more rather than require a whole expansion purchase. Because of this I have never purchased anything other than the basic game.

In review, this is a great game and worth the price. We have played this about 15 times in the 2 weeks since we got it and our family has not tired of it yet. Already that is only about $2 a play - not bad for 4 people. And I am sure we will play this over and over again. Like I said in the beginning can so many people who brag about this game be wrong?

The best game ever made.
March 25, 2002

I first played Settlers of Catan at GenCon in 1998. I immediately fell in love with the game and bought a set to bring home. Since then, I am directly and indirectly responsible for over 100 families who now play this game (that I know of). It is thoroughly addictive. Every time you play the game, it is different. If you ever do get tired of the regular game, I heartily endorse Seafarers and Cities and Knights.

Todd Bannon

Detractors haven't played enough!
March 17, 2002

Every game has flaws when viewed from a certain perspective. Yes, sometimes, very rarely, you get absolutely screwed by the dice. In other games without dice, you can get screwed by the kid to your right who has never played before. You blame the kid in those examples but perhaps you should blame the game too. Simply put, this game is popular for a reason. The ratio of 'Depth of play' to 'Time to learn the rules' is extraordinarily high. True, the game could have more depth with more rules but that is true for every game. The elegance of this game has to do with how easy it is to teach new players and with the fact that it is interesting to play many times over.

Conclusion for detractors: Invest a little less of your ego into each game and I bet you'll find those games more intellectually stimulating. Some of the subtleties of this game have to do with player interaction. How many people can say I have already learned all there is to know about interacting with other people? I wish I was one of them.

by Marc
Great balance between strategy and luck.
March 17, 2002

My first encounter with the settlers series started with the two player card game. I got a friend to try this great game and we immediately were hooked. I decided to buy the Setters Board game (4 player)and bring a couple other friends into the group. This game is quite different than the card game because of its lack of 'battle' conflict, but we all really got into the games trade and strategy options. We played once a week and people outside our original group started asking about it. The next thing we knew more and more people were playing it and enjoying the game tremendously. I would say that Settlers is the most balanced game that I've ever played. Our group has now moved into Cities and Knights which seems to fuse elements of the card game (conflict) and the board game (expansion). Open trading, skillfull expanding, luck of the dice, this game has it all.

Great time!!!

The category is... Egregious Oversights
March 02, 2002

How Funagain's most prolific reviewer could have overlooked one of the true gems of my collection is beyond me, but here is my review to correct this horrific error. There is very little that I can actually add to the multitude of reviews that appear for Settlers, but I will attempt to give a bit of an original slant on it.

Settlers of Catan is the perfect game for introducing American gamers to the wide world of Euro-games. The game is easy to grasp both in concept and in play, and the basic game hits the right note between cooperation and competition. After gamers have become hooked on the basic game, there are the Seafarers and the Cities & Knights expansions, as well as other members of the Catan clan. all of which are their own interesting takes on the basic mechanics of the game.

Still, the unadorned basic game is pretty much perfect, as is. Most gamers will never feel the need to expand beyond the borders of the beloved island of Catan. With the random setup, there is much room for variety, even when dealing with the same five commodities game after game.

There are few games that I would recommend wholeheartedly for all gamers. Settlers of Catan is definitely one of those few.

A Truly GREAT Game
February 27, 2002

This is truly a great game. Most games I tend to find at least one drawback. Either its too hard to learn/teach people, too much down time between turns, senseless rules,or just plain boring. Settlers sufffers from none of these. This is especially true of down time between moves. There are some boardgames where we will have a video game system going to fill the down time.(Tikal anyone?)In Settlers you are always somewhat involved with everyone's turn. Always getting cards and trading them out of turn. The board is different every game, no 'perfect strategy' syndrome, upgradeable to 8 players, I could go on and on. I purchased a new set only to find the box insert (the plastic thing that keeps the game from becoming a mixed mess)is no longer included,and pieces that are WAY TOO close in color.Shame on you Mayfair.

Addictive, quick, aggravatingly fun
February 26, 2002

I visited my sister this past weekend and she introduced me to this game. It was so much fun (I think we played 7 times in several hours), I immediately came home and purchased it for my own collection. The rules are simple to pick up. The variation of the board setting allows each game to be unique. The strategy involved in the start of the game seems to determine the winner at the start. However, the luck involved with aquiring resources does not make this necessarily true (as I learned much to my chagrin). Well worth owning. (It was better as a 3 person game than a 2 person game).

So good on so many levels.
February 24, 2002

Quite simply, this game is a gem. After years of playing everything but boardgames, I finally broke down and purchased Settlers of Catan from my local game store. I do not regret a single cent spent or a single moment playing it.

The game is engrossing yet simple. The goal: be the first to score 10 points, which is accomplished by doing various things. The theme of the game is the expansion of your fledgling civilisation and the point-scoring actions are inline with this theme. You can build settlements, upgrade the settlements into cities, build roads, or field the largest army. Along the way you are competing with the other civilisations on the island for resources and space. You might also be trading with them to your mutual benefits, or hindering them by careful use of the 'Robber' (the game's only directly antagonistic element).

One of my favourite things about the game is that there is almost no direct player-vs-player antagonism, such as what is found in traditional strategy board games like Risk or Axis and Allies. Thus the game seems to foster a very friendly, though competetive atmosphere. Furthermore, most games will take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete and combined with the friendliness of the competition it creates a very addictive pastime. (I played 5 straight games one lazy Sunday with a good group of friends before we considered doing anything else... we ended up playing another game, that's how good it is!)

The only problem I've found with the game is that a player's initial setup and luck in the first few turns can really have a huge impact. Furthermore, without any real atagonism, it can be difficult to win if someone else is far out in front. My group doesn't really find this a big deal though because we usually never play just once; so what goes around usually comes around on the same day.

I think that the game works best with 4 players, but 3 works as well only it is much less competetive. You can play with only 2 people, but it really limits the player interaction aspect which makes the game so much fun. Also, with only 2, I recommend building a smaller island in order to create competition for space, otherwise the game is reduced to a simple race to the goal, like snakes and ladders.

Every single person whom I've played the game with has immediately requested to play again when the first game was finished, whether they came close to winning or not. This includes my circle of hobby gaming friends as well as my 'there are other boargames besides monopoly and scrabble?' parents.

Furthermore, this game is great for families. Simple enough for children to understand, and do well at, yet complex enough to keep adults thoroughly entertained. The lack of strong direct antagonism and an atmosphere that encourages player interaction also makes this game good for teaching children a few valuable social skills.

Wonderful product all around.

by Rocco
This game is Awesome!
February 05, 2002

I have just recently started playing Settlers of Catan and it has quickly become one of my top 3 games. I love that even when it is not your turn you are still fully involved in the game, either making trades or collecting raw materials. There is nothing more satisfying then stealing one of the bonus victory point cards from someone. It is also great that every game is different because there are different ways to win and because the board is always different. This is a great game and you won't be disappointed if you buy it. I haven't even dipped into the expansions yet and I still love it.

by Redie
One of my all time favorites
January 22, 2002

Settlers of Catan is to me one of the best games of all time. There has been a lot of discussion about it, mostly positive. However, I want to address some of the criticisms of the game, that it based too much on luck, that initial placement matters too much, and that it is hard to catch up if someone jumps out into the lead.

Luck does play a part in the game, just as it does in most board games except for checkers and chess. But Settlers allows you to manage that luck through careful trading or through careful building of new settlements. I tend to notice that in the Settlers' games that I have played that certain people win more often than others. I don't think that this is because they are lucky, but because they play the game better. Speaking of playing the game better, initial set-up is a very important part of the game. People who place fourth or third usually have an advantage. But this can be nullified if the people who go first or second realize that sometimes you should place your second city in a place just to screw up your opponents.

Finally, people who jump out into the lead usually have earned that lead. But the players who see that someone has a sizable lead need to actively work against that person by using the robber and refusing to trade with that person. In short, the problems mentioned about Settlers have some validity, but these issues are not as serious as some of Settlers' dectractors make them out to be.

One Great Game!
January 17, 2002

Settlers of Catan is a fun game for two, three, or four players. The game is based on settling the imaginary island of Catan by building roads, settlements and cities. Winning the game requires obtaining ten victory points.

One strong point for this game is the variable board. The board consists of 19 terrain hexagon tiles that are shuffled and laid out in a hexagon shape to form the island of Catan. Six different types of terrain hexes make up the island: forest, mountains, hills, fields, pasture, and last and definitely least, dessert. These terrain hexes produce five different recourses: wood, ore, brick, wheat, and sheep, respectively. (The dessert produces nothing.) Although there are the same amounts of hexes producing any one resource in every game you play, the productivity of each hex changes. After all the hexagon tiles are placed, small cardboard discs with different numbers are placed on the hex tiles. These numbers determine which hexes produce their resource when the dice are rolled, simply in that those hexes with numbers matching what the dice rolls, produce resources. The probability of some numbers being rolled is much higher than other numbers. For example: there is only a single way to roll a twelve or a two, but for sixes and eights there are five ways. For this reason, a new strategy is needed for every game. Sometimes sheep are so plentiful that no one wants them. Other times sheep are very rare and people will trade four ore for one sheep.

There are four different things you can build using resource cards: roads, settlements, cities, and development cards. These four different purchase options take different combinations of resource cards. The roads are used to expand to another area in which to place a settlement. Each settlement will gather one resource card from its adjacent hexes when the numbers for these hexes are rolled. They also count as one victory point each. Settlements can be later upgraded to cities. A city is worth two victory points and collects twice the amount of resources.

Because of the game being based on victory points rather than annihilating other players, games can be very close. It is often surprising when a player announces he has won. You should not underestimate a player that appears worse off. Overall, you could win with any resource if you have enough of it, especially if you have a 2:1 trading seaport for that commodity. I played a game once in which my dad was cut off and could not build any more. He was stuck with four settlements on several good pasture hexes. He almost won with nine victory points and the cards for a city when my mom announced she won! This came from his occupation of the sheep seaport, resulting in many development card purchases. By the way, at the end of this game our victory points were 11, 9, 9, and 7. This is a typical game for my family.

I must admit, when you follow the rules, setup is rather unfair. Whoever places his settlement first receives a huge advantage. However, with board games, amendments to the rules are easy to make on your own. We play with the order of settlement placement reversing when placing the second settlement. In this order, whoever places their first settlement first, places their second settlement last. The person that places their first settlement last, places their second settlement first. By the way, if people seem to take a long time when placing their settlements, have contests with building towers out of the pieces.

The Settlers of Catan is fun game. It is well worth the price tag it carries. My mom (mother of six) usually does not take the time to play board games. However, when given the opportunity to play Settlers of Catan, she seldom refuses. When SHE wins, we all celebrate with a bowl of ice cream! Even with this seemingly unfair advantage, the game is so fun we all try to come out in triumph ourselves.

played every weekend by us
January 13, 2002

I have a group of 9 people who are addicted to this game. We have all the varients (worth getting seafarers and Cities&Kinghts and alexander/cheops). We love it and play it at least every weekend, if not other times as well. Get it and you will never look back. Having re-read that it seems really sick-making, but it's true :}

A True Classic Game - A Necessity For Your Collection
January 09, 2002

Simply put, this is one of the greatest games available. I have this game and all expansions and I find it to be a favorite of most of my friends. You can play this game cooperatively, where all players focus on taming the continent, or competitively, where you do whatever it takes to make your opponents' land fail. I highly recommend that you purchase the Cities and Knights of Catan, as this expansion immensly adds to the game.

by Erwin
It's Simply One of The Best Games I've Ever Played
December 21, 2001

My wife, kids (8 and 11), and I have been playing this game for a year and a half and the fun simply has not run out. We have two of the sets so we can play large games with our friends who are all hooked. We also have the Seafarers expansion and sometimes add city walls from the Cities & Knights expansion just to protect our cities. The first few times we played, it seemed like nothing special, but once you really learn how to start expanding, this game is fun!

I've played it over 200 times
December 18, 2001

If you play a game over 200 times, it's got to be one of the best games ever made. I can't think of any other boardgame that you can play this much without getting tired of it. Although there is much luck in the game, this just adds to the replayability. And this is a game where all players are constantly active dealing with each other.

Ive recently added The Cities & Knights of Catan expansion. Although it takes double the time to play now, I also think it has added more strategy to the game. On the other hand, it is no longer the quick, fun game that you can play 4 times in an evening. But still, I think this expansion adds to the game that I have played so many times.

This was my first 'German' boradgame and my introduction to the quicker games that take less than 4 hours to play. I now also enjoy [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euphrates, [page scan/se=0630/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Through the Desert, and [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande.

Im definitely going to get more of these quick, fun, and strategic boardgames.

Best game I've seen in a long time
December 17, 2001

Some comments on critiques made by other reviewers:

The game with 2 players is no fun. This is true. However, it is sold as a 3-4 player game, so what do you expect?

Dice are too influential / sometimes you get hosed no matter what. When you place your settlements next to a bunch of 6's and 5's, you're making a risky gamble. If you instead placed your settlements such that your numbers were slightly worse but the variety of numbers was greater, you'd have more security. In other words, you have control of how risky a situation you're in. If you go the risky route, it's only to be expected that sometimes you get hosed. That said, there are rare occasions when even the best planning fails to protect you from bad luck.

Starting positions are too influential. It is true that the starting position is very important. I don't think this is a bad thing--it's fun to carefully consider where to place your settlements. One of the beauties of the game is that no matter who places first, no one is at a disadvantage.

It's all constructive. I think this is one of the best features of the game. I like blowing things up, but many people don't. A strategy game that is easy to learn, challenging, and doesn't involve blowing anything up is a rare find! Settlers is more enjoyable for more people than many board games, making it a great choice for someone who doesn't have a circle of hard-core gamer friends.

by Paul
Years of Fun for the Whole family
December 16, 2001

My roommate introduced me to Settlers about 6 years ago. Since getting the original, we have bought Seafarers, Starfarers, and now Cities and Knights. We have also upgraded each set with the 5-6 player [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]expansions. It is the most played game in our house. We always play different versions, and with Cities and Knights, it adds a lot of variation to keep the game fresh each time. It is wonderful to have a game I can play with my sons and not get burned out on it.

Too much luck?
December 07, 2001

For those reviewers who think there's too much luck, here's a hint: build on every number, then you always get something. This is a very elegant game with a high level of replayability. Unlike many games, where the scenario and strategy are the same each time, this game's strategy constantly changes. A great game.

Enjoyable by all types of people
October 17, 2001

I bought this game on the basis of the hype. I figured that a game this raved about must be good. I bought the game in Australia at an overinflated price and have not regretted the purchase. All my friends and friends of friends who have played it have loved it to death. Even younger gamers (in their late teens) who I find have a short attention span seemed to grasp all the rules within a few rounds. The game has a good pace and, with player interaction during all players' turns, there is rarely a dull moment. What can I say? Buy it, buy it, buy it...

Good game. Better with expansions
September 08, 2001

The game is good, but, as some people rightfully claim, the resources are not evenly valuable. Sheep do become worthless at end game. That is why I have both the Seafarers and the Cities & Knights expansions. Here Klaus Tauber has evened out the values a bit. Grain is not in 80% of the building options, and if you plan to sail, you can't do it without sheep. The barbarian horde and the aspect of improving the cities give the game a new depth.

a game my wife wins all the time...
September 07, 2001

With a quiet and unprovocative disposition, my wife seems to be one of the least likely opponents to steal the title of 'Lord of Catan'. Yet she continues to baffle us in the end when she takes the island in a single momentous turn of events. Every time she beats me (and everyone else at the table), I can only cheer for her ingenious strategy and surprising guile. That makes this a great game!

kudos from an amatuer
September 06, 2001

I haven't played many of the new boardgames out there, but I do know that I enjoy this one. Although the two player version has not been well-received, I enjoy playing a game with my wife after a long day.

The only criticism that I have is that the expansion sets are too costly and the company is trying too hard to squeeze profits out of this one. If you buy the whole set of expansions at the price listed on this site, it adds up to around $127. That seems like a bit much for a game.

However, since I am not rating the expansions per se, I still give this game a five-star rating and some essential advice: don't play with people who take too long and are obsessed with making the 'perfect' move each turn throughout the game.

Brilliant introductory game for 3 or 4
August 27, 2001

The Settlers of Catan hardly needs another ringing endorsement. However, I would say it justly deserves every one that it receives!

Settlers is about the exploitation and the civilization of the small island of Catan. As the players, your objective is to be the first one to reach 10 victory points. Victory points are earned by building settlements, converting the same into cities, building the Largest Road or Army, and building civic works. This is accomplished through the trading of resources among the players and turning them in for the point-earning structures.

No two games of Settlers are ever the same, because the resources of the island and their distribution are never the same twice. It is up to the players to strategically place their resource-drawing settlements and cities and then excercise skill in their trades to determine who the winner will be. Luck plays a part, but players can cooperate in an aggressive fashion against a front-runner who is enjoying a streak of good fortune.

The game is fast playing, easy to learn, and FUN! The theme and mechanics are complementory, and new players often want to play again after their first experience. Furthermore, the game is open to great variety thanks to a number of [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]expansion products that can be added to the game to make it open to more players and complexity as desired.

Settlers heralded the wave of 'German-style' family-strategy games from Europe that is currently in vogue with boardgamers. It is often the standard that many new family-strategy games are compared with.

Just Right
August 26, 2001

This game has just the right amount of luck and strategy, yet it's simple enough to play easily--once you get past the separate almanac and rule book. Why they didn't combine them...

The game changes every time, making no one strategy the 'key' to winning. Luck also plays a huge 'roll' (pardon the pun). I have often lost after having the 'best' opening position because luck wasn't with me.

I agree that three players is probably the best. Four can get a bit cramped. If you play with two players, it usually becomes a one-sided blowout.

by Mille
No Use in Denying Catan
August 22, 2001

The Settlers of Catan has flaws that have been mentioned numerous times and some of the arguments are quite justified. That being said, it is still one of the best games to play, especially as an introduction to German games. Why? Because it's a game which has straightforward rules, doesn't take too long to play, and introduces elements that can be found in many German games, such as randomized board layout, luck, player interaction, and--yes--even some strategy. If, after playing Catan, you're interested in trying other German games, you'll have a better idea whether games with player interaction are more important to you or if you want games with more strategy.

Catan was indeed the first German board game I played. It was definitely a surprise to learn there were games coming from Germany and was more than enough to convince me to try more. And even after playing other German board games, The Settlers of Catan remains an enjoyable gaming experience for our group. It is not the deepest game, but it is still fun. It is not perfect, but it is still a classic.

A brilliant game, balanced, and appealing
August 08, 2001

This game is a wonderful one to introduce people to boardgames beyond Monopoly and [page scan/se=0050/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Scrabble.

It's a fun game as everyone is involved nearly every turn--everyone watches the dice roll with bated breath, often picks up resources, and is involved in trading. The robber adds more interaction between players. Players race one another to build roads and settlements in prime positions.

As to the criticisms of it being unbalanced, well, I don't agree. For a start, if one player does get unlucky with dice rolls one game, they are usually loving the dice by the next game!

Sheep boom towards the end? No more than any other type of resource. By this reckoning, wood and clay should boom too, there's little point building roads without expecting to build settlements on them. If you have an overabundance of wool, grab the wool trading port or at least a 3-for-1 port. Or, heck, buy cards!

If people at the start are not picking up wood or clay, chances are they're getting ore and grain and are upgrading to cities with it! With that done, they can quickly obtain the wood/clay needed for roads. And if they have a slower start building roads, they are often doing well toward the end as everyone else needs the grain and ore they are producing!

Anyway, this is a wonderful game that is FUN, EASY, INVOLVING, and entertaining.

Fun with hexes!
August 06, 2001

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! Oh, did I mention that this game is fun? I was introduced to this game about a year ago, and my boyfriend and I haven't stopped playing it since. We've played it with all the expansions, and they just increase the fun of the game. We've even made up our own variations. The use of hexagons provides so many combinations for board layout that one almost never gets bored. I recommend this game highly, and I think that is worth the $30, and more!

Note: The one game you do NOT want to play is when you have the desert hex right in the middle of the board. YES, there IS a desert.

Can I give it 6 stars? *The* Game - look no further!
June 25, 2001

This is THE GAME. The one that got me started on my wonderful German game expedition. We instituted a gaming night at my house with some close friends of mine (more of an excuse to get together) and we would struggle and play some lackluster American games (read: if it doesnt have a license attached to it, it won't sell), UNTIL I was introduced to Settlers of Catan at work. This game is everything that is wrong with American games, and everything that is right with German games at the same time.

Ok I lost you... there are a lot of comparisons in here to Monopoly and the like. This is nonsense. This game blows the doors off even the classic Monopoly. It has all the right elements: e.g. resource management, trading, cut throat partnerships (which seem to work in my group). :) I won't explain how the game plays, you can read that elsewhere. I highly recommend this game, whether it is your first German game or one of many. And when you think you're tired of it, pick up the Seafarers expansion. AMAZING.

by Steve
Settlers Remains King of the Hill
June 21, 2001

Settlers was my first German board game purchase. I love the game but am always looking for something new to try. I now have a closet full of German board games. After trying all the new games a time or two, when my gaming group and my casual gaming friends get together, their default first choice is always Settlers with rare exception.

The only thing that still irks me is having to 'upgrade' to the third edition to take advantage of Seafarers and [/page 11245]Cities & Knights, as though it were some kind of Microsoft product. Buying into the game with [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]all the expansions is no small investment. But I'd have to say, it's worth it. Now, the original edition decorates my cubicle wall at work, if only to entice other would-be addicts.

Settlers is the bread and butter of German games. It's timeless. A hit in every crowd. A masterful game with outstanding components. I have found nothing to bump it off its lofty perch... but I'm still trying.

One of my all time favorite multi-player games
June 02, 2001

Settlers of Catan is an all around great game. There are many decisions to make, all with pros and cons. Where should you place your initial settlements: do you want to generate materials to help build, cities, settlements, roads, or the special 'Pick a cards'? Do you want to go for a lot of one type of resource and its corresponding port? During play should you hoard your cards and risk the thief, or spend them now, perhaps not on what you really want? If you spend them, what should you spend them on? Should you trade, and with whom, how much, and what? Should you place your road towards the good spot that your opponent is also heading towards or play it safe and build for that less desirable spot?

If these are not enough choices, buy the Seafarers expansion and now you have shipping lanes to add to the fun. If this sounds to complicated, it is not. While there is a lot of strategy, it is also easy to learn and play. You might find it easier to play than to win, however. Settlers' Fans might also enjoy Carcassone and Elfen Land, other fun multi-player games with lots of choices and thinking. I do not recommend Settlers as a two player game however, because the trading aspect of it is lost. For a two player game, I recommend Battle Line, [page scan/se=0630/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Through the Desert or [page scan/se=0525/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Caesar and Cleopatra.

A Grand Slam
May 06, 2001

I was very hesitant to write a review for this game, simply because I felt there was nothing else I could add....

This was my first experience into 'THE REAL BOARDGAME WORLD'. Before Settlers, a boardgame to me was Monopoly or MAYBE Risk. I was very hesitant, but WOW this game has officially made me a board game freak. Since then I have dozens of different games, and I always go back to Settlers. It is a shame... if you slapped a Parker Brothers logo on this and sold it on the mass market, more people would made aware of this game's incredible gameplay.

And that is the best endorsement I can give. This is a must have. The perfect game? I don't know... but it is my favorite for sure.

Everything about this game is true!
April 29, 2001

I started to play the game this past Friday with some friends--we caught up pretty fast with the rules and setup. What amazes me most is that my father joined us and played the game with us (he doesn't like board games or games at all). We were more than astonished.

Sunday midnight he still wanted to play one more! LOL! This game made me have a great weekend with my dad--that only happens once a year or when we play golf. I really want to thank the designers of this game.

This game is fun for all kinds of players--I understand that some hardcore gamers find some bugs and think this game relies too much on luck... that might be true but still... the game is FUN! And thats what games are all about.

by James
Yet another Settlers variant
April 01, 2001

Some complain about the exponential growth in this game, i.e. the rich get richer. Here is a suggestion that will help, but not eliminate the problem: use a timer.

We have begun playing with a timer to speed play. The introduction of the timer makes it difficult for the player with lots of resource cards to optimize his trades and builds for the turn. If the buzzer goes off, turn over and pass the dice. If the rich player is left holding many cards at the end of his turn, he'll have to hope no one rolls a 7 before his next turn.

I recommend the use of a timer with experienced players only.

With or without this suggestion, Settlers is clearly a 5 star game. Cities & Knights is my favorite.

Great Game, but stop insulting it!
March 14, 2001

Several reviewers have called Settlers "The New Monopoly". I couldn't DISAGREE more. Monopoly is lame!

It's sort of like calling certain politicians certain names--you insult pigs, dogs, and horses in the process.

Our group has two variations that may help combat a couple of the (semi-legitimate) complaints.


When setting up the initial board, don't allow any adjacent hexes to have the same resource. When you draw a hex to put it down, move it forward to the next hex (in your pattern) that won't put it next to the same resource. When you get to the end, SWAP that hex with the most recently placed hex that will fix the problem. We always play with boards created this way and it avoids certain 'broken' boards.


Used with Seafarers, which we always play unless we have newbies around... If a CITY (not a settlement) is on a shoreline, you can build any available seafarers port token, in an EMPTY Sea hex, by spending one each of the 5 resources. So, if your city is on a point (unusual) you can build two ports. These don't count for victory points, but they can help if you end up really short of a particular resource late in the game. We find that this rule is rarely used--but useful when it is.


When playing Seafarers (don't try it with plain Settlers) we play to 12 points and 2 above. So, if someone else gets to 11, you need to get to 13 to win. When the game is close, this extends it a little bit. Some games have gone to 16 points or more. The game also ends one round AFTER the last development card is drawn. At that point there are no more in the deck to draw for.


While I am typing, I have to make a plug for Cities and Knights. After you have your Master's degree in Settlers/Seafarers, consider Cities and Knights. It makes for a much more challenging game. It won't get rid of the 'luck factor' that the chess players dislike, but it gives you a lot more to think (and worry) about.

by Beth
Grand Fun!
February 26, 2001

This is Monopoly to the 10th degree! I found myself playing for hours and hours with much zest every game! It's a healthy addiction and a better way to spend time with family and friends than in front of the TV or computer. With luck, stategy and player interaction, it is the perfect game for all. The roll of the dice is random, the hexes are random, luck is random--thus making a new game every time. With the Seafarers expansion the possibilities are endless. I like the variation idea of placing a settlement and a city for the introduction (as the 2nd settlement is usually a less-desired spot). If you aren't producing early in the game, don't dismay--the law of averages will bring better dice rolls to you eventually. As in most games, sometimes you have better luck (and karma) than others and sometimes you get walloped! Just keep playing!

Good game for advanced and beginners alike.
February 24, 2001

I have played bookcase and boardgames for over twenty years and this is one of the best games I have played. It has many variables, so that no two games feel exactly alike and there are many different strategy options available. However, one of the things I like most about this game is the fact that my wife, who never plays these types of games, loves it. She enjoys the game because--well, it is fun, and not too complicated. I like the game because it isn't overly simple and there are many options and strategies for how to play the game. This is a game in which you have to do some thinking, but will not be overwhelmed with too many rules. In addition, although some luck is involved, the game is primarily won through skill. If you don't like this game I would be hard pressed to find one you do.

by Chris
Best game in my closet!
February 11, 2001

Everything you read is true. It's a game that changes strategy every game and I've seen people win with lots of different techniques (but almost none by pure luck). It's not overly complex, but really takes some planning and also some luck (but not all luck). We've played it dozens of times and it's our favorite.

Once in a while you'll get shut out early because the dice just don't go your way, but that's rare (1 in 5).

The poor get richer... with a simple rule variant.
January 24, 2001

Many criticisms of Settlers of Catan stem from the fact that falling behind early in the game--which can easily result from unlucky die rolls--will keep you from being able to compete in later stages. This is all too true, and has been the source of much annoyance for members of my game group. In fact, we stopped playing Settlers for a long time because of this. Recently I was introduced to a simple variant that makes gameplay MUCH more balanced. Each time that the dice are rolled and you receive no resources (and the roll was not a '7'), you receive a small token or marker (we use glass beads). During your turn you can cash in these tokens at the rate of one per victory point you presently have to receive one resource (or commodity in Knights and Cities) of your choice. For example, if you have 4 victory points, you can cash in 4 of these tokens for a single resource or commodity of your choosing. This really helps those falling behind, but does not lead to inflation because as you become more powerful with more victory points, cashing these tokens in becomes harder and harder. Ever since we have employed this variant, games have become much more close, tense, and engaging. Now I won't play Settlers any other way.

Great Game, but a Flawed (if correctable) Beginner's Setup
January 22, 2001

I bought this game a few months ago along with a boatload of others and have been on a gaming spree with anyone and everyone I can snare. Of the many games, this one has received consistently high praise from everyone who has played it and is clearly a favorite. There are better games from a technical and strategic aspect, including for instance El Grande and Tigris and Euphrates that have more depth and challenge (and a little less luck); however, if you are like me, lacking a regular group of gamers, you will likely find that this game has nearly universal appeal and will bring those friends back for more.

There is little new to be said in light of the wealth of reviews. But I do have a tip for the beginning play setup. I have played this game with many different people, so I have played the beginner's setup (way too) many times. Friends called to my attention that they read that red always wins, and in retrospect, my experience teaches likewise. Also, yellow (orange?) always loses pretty badly. So I tinkered with the basic setup a bit and found something that I think provides much more balance and makes for a closer game. In the recommended setup, red starts with the advantage of having too much access to bricks and lumber, and yellow starts off at a disadvantage and usually remains there. Yellow lacks two key resources (bricks and ore) and red cuts it off quickly from access to bricks by making a run for the coast in a direction tending away from its white neighbor. So if you're interested, try the following setup. (These directions are given as if you are looking at the beginner's map with the yellow pieces in the upper right. So call the yellow position northeast and, as another guidepost, call the position where blue starts southwest).

Take the northernmost yellow settlement on the wheat harbor and place it at the other end of the preset road position. Now, it should be on the brick/wool/wheat intersection with a road facing northeast toward the wheat harbor.

Take the southernmost red settlement and move it two intersections to the west with a road pointing east. It should end up on the intersection of the lumber(3)/wheat(11)/wool(10) hex with a road pointing to another wool/lumber/wheat intersection.

That's it. Red still has access to lumber, but inferior access and the ability to reach better lumber. Yellow is only cutoff (or nearly so) from one critical resource (ore) just like everybody else is (everybody else has a lousy hex for at least one resource).

Good luck. Buy this game, and you can't really go wrong.

by Tom
A Unique Gaming Treat
January 14, 2001

The Settlers of Catan is an enjoyable game in which you try to expand your civilization in an attempt to become the most dominant group on the island of Catan. The game board--or island--is randomly created each time you play so no two games are alike. There are three stages to a given turn:

  1. Roll for Resource Production
  2. Trade Resources
  3. Build/Buy
Here is a brief rundown of these three turn stages:

Roll for Resource Production: The player rolls two dice for resource production. If, say, a 5 comes up then every player whose settlements or cities border a resource hex with a 5 on it receives resource card(s) of that type. You need resource cards to buy new settlements, cities, roads, and development cards.

Trade Resources: The player then has the option of trading resource cards. They can either do 'domestic trading' (trading with other players) or 'maritime trading' (predefined trades with the resource common stock). Maritime trading is usually less favorable then domestic trading. But if you can't get a good deal trading with other players it's nice to still have options. Having settlements/cities on harbor spaces gives you more favorable maritime trading options.

Build/Buy: The player then has the option of expanding their civilization by building new settlements or roads, upgrading settlements to cities, or purchasing development cards. All of these are paid for with the resource cards that they've acquired.

There is also a robber piece which moves around the board when a seven is rolled for resource production or when an army card is played. This nasty little piece halts resource production from the hex it is moved to and allows the person who activated it to steal a resource card from someone bordering the hex. Also, if the robber is activated by a seven being rolled, any player with more than seven resource cards in their hand loses half of them (which is a huge bummer when it happens to you).

Each settlement is worth 1 victory point, each city is worth 2, some development cards provide points, having the longest road earns you 2 points, and having the largest army (most army development cards) earns you 2 points. First person to get 10 victory points wins.

I found this game to be very entertaining. It accommodates 3-4 players and seems most fun with 4. Since resource production is random, a bad run of the dice along with unfortunate robber attacks can and will take a good player completely out of winning contention through no fault of their own. The drawbacks of this--the best player doesn't always win. Advantages of this--the best player doesn't always win. Both can be argued depending on what you are looking for in a game. My recommendation--buy this game. Whether you are winning or losing, you find yourself having a great time with your friends through this unique and highly interactive gaming experience.

There are also several different expansion sets offered for this game. I haven't tried any yet, but from reading other reviews the general consensus is that they only add to the fun.

Within a week, it's become an obsession.
January 12, 2001

I have always enjoyed playing board games, but I would only play them about once a month. When I got Settlers, I played four times in the first week and then immediately ordered the Seafarers expansion. Meanwhile, one of my friends wanted to play on a night I was unavailable, so he ran out and got the main game with the Cities and Knights expansion. Someone in our group has played every night since. Last night, we had a marathon game with both expansions go for over three hours and were immediately ready to play again.

This game has made me into a board gamer again--it's easily one of the best board games ever. With its ever-changing board and customizable scenarios, I doubt I'll ever get tired of it.

Great fun, let's play two
December 03, 2000

My wife and I played Settlers for the first time this weekend and it was great fun. The other couple are new to gaming and had a splendid time--in fact the winner was one of them. The game takes a little getting used to, but once you have the hang of it the action is fast and furious. They want to play again soon--what more can you ask?

by Bart
Five Stars, and here's a shortcut that makes it even better
August 14, 2000

I've played numerous games of Settlers with a combination of adults and reasonably sophisticated child players under 10. This game is always a hit. A few parents in our neighborhood have commented that they want to see the game because their kids love it.

To shorten the playing time, we have modified the initial setup of the board. The standard set-up provides for each player to place one settlement on the board in turn. Then, in a second round of initial settlement placement, the players place settlements in reverse order from the first round. Thus, each player actually starts play with two settlements. Because the game features a geometric progression in resource productivity, the building of each player's first additional settlement takes about 40% longer than building the second additional one. About one fourth of the game playing time is consumed in the effort to build the first additional settlement or to upgrade one of the two initial settlements to a city.

To speed up the game, we modify the second round of settlement placement in the initial setup by allowing for the placement of a city rather than a settlement. Thus, each player starts the game with a settlement (placed first) and a city (placed second). This reduces the game length by 25% on average.

I've noticed that starting with one city and one settlement also cures a problem a couple of other folks complain about below. A few complain that often some player gets knocked out early because of bad rolls of the dice in the first few turns of the game. That is less likely to happen with our variant because when a player attains his first additional settlement he enhances productivity by only 33% instead of 50% as under the standard setup. Of course, a player might find himself far behind at some point in the game anyway, but using our modified setup he will suffer less because the game concludes more rapidly.

Another reviewer also complains of a "wool boom in the endgame". While he refers to it as "obvious", Ive never noticed this. It may be that our modification reduces this problem since adding a city at the start modestly reduces the demand for wheat and ore for subsequent city development. Combining these "excess" wheat and ore with the excess wool that the other reviwer disparages allows players to buy more development cards. Now that I think about it, I have noticed that we buy more of these since we adopted the new setup phase. I previously attributed our increased development card purchases to increased sophistication from having played several times. Anyway, I think increasing the number of development cards in play actually may improve the game also.

Give our modification a try. Also, introduce this game to a few of your kids' friends. It will replace some of the neighborhood's Nintendo time for a few hours each week.

My intro to German games
June 24, 2000

What do I like about this game? Well, the rules are relatively simple, but the game itself is not so simple. It allows, or demands, interaction between the players, so that the time between your turns is not dead time. And so on....

Some might respond that, if you like games like this, then there are better examples, and to find them, you just need to play more German games. They may be right. But this is the first German game I played, and, during my parents' recent visit, we had a lot of fun together playing it.

So, however highly I come to rate other German games, this will always be special to me, and I can't forsee myself ever wanting to give it fewer than the maximum number of stars.

And, by the way, I like the orange color that others seem to detest.

by Chuck
Take a second look. . .
June 18, 2000

For those who think the game is flawed in some way, I can only say, take a second look. The randomness from turn to turn (dice rolling) affects all players equally, and the beginning game randomness (set up selection for your first two settlements) is something that the most basic of beginners gets a very early handle on (usually after just one learning game).

Always a hit, both with hardened, crusty wargamers; and also with non-gaming family members this game has always been a great way for me to introduce the joys of boardgaming to new people. Heck, even role-players enjoy it!

A word to the dissenters...
June 16, 2000

I really appreciate the arguments made by that one fellow, about the statistical probability of someone getting shut out of a game, and the superiority of the game with the Seafarers expansion. I have been the one to get shut out of a game quite frequently, and it's awful. However, I'm not disillusioned with the game. Any game which depends on die rolls is going to have an element of luck. I remember one game where I had been able to place my original two settlements so that I was on two ore-producing hexes, one of which was an 8, and I also had the ore port. And I had almost no ore for the whole game, and lost horribly! Them's the breaks, you know? You have to accept the possibility of that kind of thing to get the excitement of playing at all. I still rate this game five stars. I remember, after my first time playing it, I drove home and couldn't get it out of my mind.

I will agree that the Seafarers expansion adds a lot to the game, but I think it's only good for people who have played normal Settlers to their hearts content. In my experience, you need to get good and familiar with the game before you even move to randomizing the board; adding the Seafarers stuff would be too much.

And as for comparing the game to El Grande, please! I like El Grande, but it is kind of a clunky game, and of doubtful appeal to non-gamers. Settlers is the definition of elegance in design, and almost everyone I've introduced it to loves it immediately.

Just had to add my two bits.

Excellent game!
June 14, 2000

This is a great social game with a little luck and a lot of fun. If you are looking for deep complexity -- play chess, but for a lighter game I highly recommend S of C!

A Rare Game that Transcends Game Boundaries!
June 14, 2000

The weekend after I bought this game, my gaming group and I (a mixture of 20-30 somethings) played several times the first night. The next day, I was somehow able to coax my father (60 years old, who NEVER plays boardgames), my mother (54, a veteran of traditional boardgames, Monopoly, Life, Parcheesi, etc.), and my younger brother (14 years old, a video & computer game addict) into playing a game of Settlers. My father won, they all enjoyed it immensely, and we have played several more times since. That same weekend, my younger brother invited some of his teenage friends over, and they played 4-5 times in one day/night; they couldn't get enough! It seems whomever I introduce this game to, regardless of gaming experience/background, loves this game! A classic that transcends the gaming borders.

A must for any collection
April 11, 2000

Folks, this is one of the most enjoyable games I've played. Its simple mechanics make it a perfect game to indoctrinate non-gamers into the wonderful world of board games. It's also a perfect game to play between more serious games or to finish out an evening.

Here's a brief description of how the game works. The board consists of many randomly distributed hexagons. Each hex produces a certain type of material when its corresponding number (also random) is rolled. Any player with a settlement on the corner of a hex whose number has been rolled gains a material card. These cards can be used to build more settlements, cities, and a few other things. These structures are worth points. 10 points and you win the game.

So let's say my opponent rolls a 5 and I have a settlement sitting on the corner of a wheat field with the number 5 on it. Then bam, I get a wheat card. On my turn I can use that card in combination with other cards I've been saving to buy myself a road piece, a building, or even a mystery card!

Great & Challenging Game
March 05, 2000

This is a great game for our unschooling family. Last winter we were calling ourselves Catanaholics, because we played it so much. The variable game board adds enough variety, so that it seems like a new challenge each game.

Even the younger children played along and learned about the statistical probability of the rolls of the dice for resource distribution.

Just when we thought we'd like to settle other islands, Seafarers of Catan became available.

Now we are trying to teach enough of our friends the game so that we can have Catan marathons.

Best family game I've seen in years
February 06, 2000

The settlers of Catan became a success in my family after its first game was started. The game has an ideal mixture of player interaction, luck and strategy. Moreover, a game has an ideal length (something like 1.5 hours). Overall, this is the nicest family game I have seen in many, many years.

What Fun!
January 18, 2000

I was just introduced to this game on Jan. 15th. We were up until 12:30 playing this! This is the most fun and challenging game I've seen in a long time.

The fact that the board changes each time makes the game exciting and different. No one player is able to dominate the play of the game for long!

Buy it and enjoy!

Game of the 90s!
January 12, 2000

When I started managing a game store, one of my goals was to bring real strategy games to the general public. Not to my suprise at all, the best game at crossing over is also the best game. Settlers is the PERFECT mix of luck, skill, and interaction. It's so balanced that no one can dominate the game, but is less random than many classics such as backgammon or Axis & Allies. A fantastic game, that almost anyone will enjoy!!

What a great game!
January 06, 2000

My wife and I were introduced to Settlers six months ago--and we've been playing it with everyone and anyone we can ever since! And each person we play with wants to get a copy for themselves.

This was our first game we've ever played beyond the 'usual' Parker Brothers/Milton Bradley Monopoly/Trivial Pursuit/Etc fair, and what an introduction. The game is just beautiful and wonderfully different. Everything exudes of quality--the pieces, the tiles, the artwork.

Best of all is the replay value. I can't imagine ever tiring of this game. We've since played many other German board games and 'expanded our horizons,' but we keep coming back to this classic. Each game is different and you're never sure what might happen. Just recently, a person we taught the game too ended up beating us in her very first try--I didn't even score a single point and she had won.

Buy this game and buy it from Funagain!

Truly addicting
October 31, 1999

The only problem with this game is that once you get your friends hooked on it, they won't play anything else! This is the perfect game to introduce 'non-gamers' into the European gaming scene. Everyone I've introduced it to has loved it. The length (45-60 mins), the degree of player interaction (no fighting, but plenty of trading and diplomacy), and the joy of watching your settlement expand, seem make the game click perfectly.

The complaint that there's too much luck is valid, but it is also a key factor in giving a gaming newcomer an enjoyable experience. If you aren't getting the rolls one game, just wait for the next... it won't take long.

One last issue is that I believe it plays best with 4 people, although it certainly works with 2, 3, or 5.

A great introduction to the German game genre
July 14, 1999

It was Settlers that got me interested in German games. We were in a games shop and had this weird-named game called The Settlers of Catan recommended by the sales person. It looked interesting enough, so we thought we'd take a gamble. Pretty surprising since Settlers isn't really a two-player game, and that's usually how many players there are at our table. (It works all right with two players if each takes two colours, although it still is really a three-to-four player game.) It was an instant hit, and we ended up carrying the game with us everywhere we went for the next two weeks, playing it in hotel rooms and airports.

The pieces are well-constructed and pretty to look at. The map of 37 hexagons is lots of fun to put together and the randomness of laying out the board adds replayability to the game.

The most important phase of the game is selecting a starting place for your two initial settlements. This can make or break your game as much as unlucky dice rolls can starve you of resources.

Trading is important in this game - the players who win despite bad luck are usually those who are better able to trade, either with each other or with the bank.

One feature of this game that I love is that once something has been placed on the board, it stays there - so other players vindictive can't destroy your little budding empire. Because of this, there are few if any battles in Settlers. The focus is definitely on trade.

My one complaint is that the red and orange pieces are very difficult to tell apart, which make four-player games awkward until you get some paint and make the two colours easier to differentiate. (The Seafarers expansion solves this.)

Now we have a respectable collection of German games. I recommend Settlers, it's a great game and will always be a favourite of mine. (And for two players, I also recommend the Settlers Card Game.)

The favorite game of our casual quartet
February 02, 1999

This game provides an entertaining and amusing scenario of trying to build an empire -- without combat! You try to build roads, settlements, and cities next to spaces of desirable terrain. By building near desirable terrain, you are more likely to gain the resources (lumber, bricks, etc.) to build more roads, settlements, and cities.

If you can't get the resources you want, you trade with other players. If they won't trade with you, you can always make exchanges at the 'bank.'

This game has the wonderful balance of being easy to learn, yet full of countless strategies. The board is different every time you play, creating constant puzzles: Where is the best place to start? What is the best direction to build?

Our four-player games take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours to play in a casual environment. When we get together and are tired or don't want to bother learning a new game, we always turn back to Settlers.

The New Monopoly
December 05, 1998

Not since Monopoly has any one game turned the game playing world on its ear as this one has. After winning awards in Europe and creating legions of fans (and variants), it has the potential to revive board game playing in the North Americas. If you don't have it you are not a serious gamer. If you do have it you didn't need to read this review, you know it already. Just get the game!

One game I think I will never tire of
December 20, 1997
This is the German game of settlement- and road-building, trading and producing of resources that, as well as spawning many expansions and variants, became the darling of our games group two years ago and still stays on our Absolute Fave list. One of my favorite aspects is the always-different playing board, and the anticipation that comes with each set-up and initial selection of settlement locations. Although it's true that in this business, we never get to play ANY one game as often as we'd like, this is one game I think I will never tire of.
still popular in Germany
October 17, 2003

i'm really surprised to see how popular this game seems to be on the u.s. market...(and of course) that european or german games seem to build a certain kind of separate genre in the world of board gaming makes me even kind of 'proud' :P

...and why not? the games that are produced here (in germany) simply ARE very entertaining...especially for families or if you're constantly playing with large groups of friends...(do i sound like a commercial?)

i always thought that americans already had all that kind of variety in board games...but in fact in times where almost anybody is just enjoying playing computer games it seems to me to be very important to not totally neglect the part of 'real' social interaction (especially if you're inviting friends etc.) which can certainly be improved with well designed board games as it is with settlers...

and i can assure you that it still IS a VERY popular game in germany nowadays (though it's some years old now)...i (i am 25) know even older people (around 40 or 50 or something) that enjoy playing settlers...which seems to me to be quite odd...but surely represents the addicting component of this intriguing game ;)

the german edition has some advantages i think (i just can tell from the pics provided on this and other i-net pages)...the design really is better in the original version and as i read, the american version seems to be a little less valuable concerning the products pieces than the german one...(i dunno...just read) but the main components seem to be the same...

and that's another point...why should games always have so many gimmicks or too valuable stuff (like extremely well designed figures or whatever)...why not just play a game that consists of some cards, chips and wooden pieces?...on the one hand it's sort of 'eco friendly' (very important in germany...) *g* but what really matters is the rules of the shouldn't be boring but have a certain shouldn't be too complicated because you don't want to study the rules every time before playing for about an hour on the one hand, but it shouldn't be too simple on the other hand too because thus it'd get boring almost half an hour after having begun playing...

in my (ever changing) gaming group settlers of catan is quite a popular game though...we also enjoy many games (also american) like risk etc. too but we still often come to play settlers...especially if there are more than just two or three persons involved...i think that the real fun first comes with the expansion set 'stdte und ritter' or 'cities & knights' in english...the seafarers is a bit too much for my group (the game doesn't gain so much with it as it does with 'cities and knights'...

we all think that 'settlers of catan' alone is a little bit too dull or boring if you play it more often...but with the expansion set it gains a new level of fun...but as a stand-alone it's still enjoyable though...

by Jake
A new house rule.
June 06, 2003

I'd like to introduce a house rule I made up which has vastly increased my enjoyment of this game. If you are aware of the gameplay, when a '7' is rolled, the roller gets to place the robber on a hex and steal cards from those players touching that hex. Experience shows the roller gains little and player(s) touching the hex get hurt a lot.

My proposed change is that the roller can place the robber on someone's hex, but the player(s) touching that hex do not have to give up a card. All players who are NOT touching that hex have to give up a card OF THEIR CHOICE. So what we have happening is that everyone is now affected by the roll of the 7 and the consequences are more balanced:

1) Those who are touching the hex where the robber has been planted are hurt by the robber, but at least they don't have to give up a card.

2) Everyone NOT touching the hex have to give up a card, but at least it's one of their choice, so they can give up an insignificant one (to them). This is crucial in that a precious card won't be stolen away from you by the powers of chance.

3) The roller will likely receive multiple cards after a 7 is rolled - not a bad thing and definitely not a bad thing in that the players chose which cards to give away.

4) Soldier cards also follow this rule.

This rule change is important to me because it cuts down on the luck factor. There is so much randomness in this game to begin with in the chance happening of a '7' being rolled in addition to blindly picking one of someone's cards - what we have is layers of luck happening. At least with this rule change, there is more 'choice' introduced and where there's choice, there's strategy and where there's strategy there's less luck.

Also note that if the roller opts to place the robber on a vacant hex where NOBODY is touching it, then ALL players have to donate a card to the roller (at their choice).

It is the least disruptive way to add some tactics to a game that really is based on luck. It works.

It isn't perfect (but then again neither is anything else)
March 05, 2003

To say there's no luck in Settlers is a rather dubious claim: the dice will only 'follow their normal statistical distribution and give every player equal chances' over the course of a huge number of rolls in *lots* of game (last time I played we rolled 7 on 2d6 three times and lost count of 8s, for example), and if you do get screwed by resource rolls there's really nothing to do but wait for the next game.

That's far from saying 'it's all luck', but if luck is against you the game is really quite static, and even when things are going to plan the board isn't exactly buzzing as the real dynamic action on a turn to turn basis is in the handling of resource cards (getting the ones you want more than anyone else can manage).

I don't want this to sound too negative: I've given it 4 stars after all, and genuinely like the game, but there are others with more depth, more choices turn to turn, more skill and more dynamic action. Settlers has a good theme, nice pieces, a playing time that fits it well and a good mix of skill and luck, but I do wish more actually happened on the board during the game!

It's a good 'canonical German game' as it has a bit of everything, but if your tastes veer towards rather more of one thing than another it's not necessarily a 'no-brainer'. Having said that, it was my first German game and though not my favourite I've no regrets over buying it.

A classic, but not quite perfect
February 24, 2003

Given the dearth of reviews already up for this game I'll cut right to the chase:

Settlers is a high quality game, it's very much a family appropriate one, and it serves as an excellent starting place when you want to introduce your friends to the ever widening world of international board games. The game play is fast, and the trading mechanism works.

That said, there are definitely some flaws with the game...

As mentioned previously, without the Seafarers expansion sheep become nigh useless in the late game without the use of the sheep port.

Also as mentioned previously making a mistake in placement, like the frequent newbie one of putting your initial settlements on the same numbers, can cripple you for the entire game unless the dice go completely in your favour. Indeed, early game dice rolls dictate the eventual winner in many cases because early resources and expansion are so critical so you can get to that needed 4th or 5th resource, or so you can get more trade fodder.

Additionally, ports can become overly powerful, and without the pirate of the Seafarers expansion you have no effective way of shutting a prospective wheat/lumber/what-have-you baron down.

The biggest strike though has to do with the 4 player game. As packaged there simply isn't enough space for 4 players to play on the board. Someone is going to get hemmed in completely in the first turn or two, not out of malice, but out of simple logical expansion. This obviously is zero fun for the player in question, and to me this issue says that the game wasn't tested enough with the number of tiles included, as expansion is definitely necessary to make all 4 players competitive.

A final gripe is the definite air of the inevitable that can take over midway into some games where one player, usually the first to get that fourth settlement, or who has that city on a tile that came up 4 rolls out of 5, starts to absolutely roll over the others, usually with the aid of a port. Trade blockades and such can slow this kind of issue down if you realise the game state fast enough, but often it's a case of too little too late, and everyone is left sitting around waiting for the game to end.

To conclude, don't let the negative tinge of this review stop you from buying this game if you're looking for a sample of the wonderful games the Germans have created in the past few years, but be aware that it's not the perfect gem that many would paint it as.

Also be aware that if you're planning to play with 4 players the 5-6 player expansion pack is probably necessary, and that the Seafarers expansion is another almost must-have to balance out the power of the ports.

I love this game, but I just wish that Mayfair Games wasn't so intent on gouging you every step of the way to get the whole thing...

A genuine classic of the European designs
February 05, 2003

Although our group doesn't play Settlers of Catan nearly as much as it used to (there are just so many great games to chose from), there's no denying that it is still fun and challenging to play. If there is any element of the game that I am not completely satisfied with -- and prevents me from giving it 5-stars -- it's the luck of the die rolls, which can really skew outcomes. However, there are ways of working around this (using a card deck, for instance).

It remains one of the best designs for introducing new players to European games, and it's a much better family game than Monopoly. I'll always highly recommend Settlers of Catan to gamers of any level of experience or interest.

The Cities & Knights of Catan expansion adds complexity and playing time to the basic game, but is well-worth the investment if basic Settlers gets routine, or you're ready for more challenging decisions.

But my favorite of the Settlers 'family' of titles is Die Siedler von Nurnberg, which was a limited edition design by Klaus Tueber for the 950th anniversary of the city of Nurnberg, Germany. This game uses a card deck in place of the die, has even more scoring mechanisms, and has gotten more popular within our group. I prefer it to Cities & Knight.

Great game for everyone
January 11, 2003

While I personally prefer not to play this game, at least its a great game for beginners, and I havent met anyone who hasnt liked it. The amount of luck in the game may turn off the hardcore, but everyone should have this one in their collection for when its time to play with the family.

Just a touch too much luck short of perfect
October 17, 2002

Uber-quickie review.

Fun and generally laid-back strategy game that plays out nicely without the in-your-face aggression that is necessary for so many other strategy games.

I enjoy the interaction with trading and the tiny bits of island negotiation that go on but my one small gripe with the game is the utter dependence on dice rolls for the basic economy of the game.

Yes, this *can* be alleviated somewhat by clever growth and placement of settlements *but* it is still not uncommon for a player to just breeze through 4 or 5 rounds of bad rolls and add NOTHING to his hand. (and you are still simply playing the 'odds')

But even the basic luck factor of resource generation doesn't detract enough from making this game a very worthwhile investment.

by Steve
Yes, it's luck, but not in the long run.
September 15, 2002

More than dice rolls or initial placements that make or break games, I think it has to do with a combination of the board setup (it's random each time) and the turn you get to make intitial placements. Sometimes it's best to go first, sometimes last.

That said, I recommend playing with a group of people and trying to be the first player to 50 points, over a series of several games. With 2 bonus points given to the winner of each game. That way, luck may determine every individual game, but the best player will win the match.

Number of reviews indicates that this game...
September 15, 2002

Is worthy of your purchase! Any game that could generate so many comments and debate obviously has something going for it. Here is my take, on an amazing phenomenom:

1) It's a classic. Simple, easy to teach, lots of replay value. Can be won by a first-timer against veteran players. Rewards different stategies. Reasonably priced, and if you like it, tons of expansion products.

2) Chance plays an important part; Psychology just as much so.

You must decide how much this bothers you. If you understand the game for what it is (not chess), you can really enjoy the twists of fate that occur within a 60 minute session. If you take it too seriously, it can drive you crazy after 6-7 turns with no resources gained, and nothing to trade.

Chance CAN be minimized by careful setup, and shrewd trading pyschology. This is true in many games.

How many times have YOU lost a game of RISK or MONOPOLY because one of the players refused to form and alliance or trade with you, because of their experience with you on a prior playing?

How many times have you WON a game thru stealth/cunning, because someone would rather trade with YOU than your opponent, because you always seem to deal with them less harshly, or fairly?

Psycology plays a BIG part after a few playings with the same team, as the folks who always seem to win with Bricks/Road, get DENIED their one-dimensional strategy due to crazy initial placement by the opponents during setup?

3) Practice against the computer! Use to search the web, there is a simple 'DOS/Windows3.1 style' computer version out there (written mostly in German, but understandble) for you to practice various strategies.

One of the most important (and overlooked) that I have now come to appreciate is CARD COUNTING. How many times have you seen an opponent (or yourself) play the 'monopoly card', and find out your opponent has none or only 1 of the resource that you choose? Or play the thief on a player who has only sheep?

The game is deeper and more subtle that you might think - That's the only explanation for it's popularity.

Conclusion: Just like a movie that gets a 'Best Picture Oscar', even if you don't like the theme, you will probably appreciate the film for it's artistic merit. Give Settlers a try - it is a best seller for a reason!

Dave Oberheu, Allentown, PA

One of the all-time classics, but not perfect
April 18, 2002

Like many other boardgame geeks, I got hooked with Settlers of Catan. The trading, the strategy, the crazy hex board - it just was so weird and wonderful that I played it almost every chance I had for years. I believe it is a classic game that everyone should play and probably own.

But after years of experience, I can't say the game is without some flaws. I don't mind fickle randomness that pulls six rolls of 3 out of midair while the two 8s you are counting on aren't rolled the whole game. That's the way things just go sometimes.

The primary flaw is that it is nearly impossible to overcome someone with an early lead (i.e. two or three settlements when the opponents only have one) because growth is exponential. Even if the opposing players try to hit the leading player with a trade embargo and drop the robber on him, it is still very tough to reel someone in the lead back in. There are other elements that prevent this situation from playing out every time, such as if the leading player can be boxed into a smaller area, but more often than not an early lead turns the other players into spectators.

That said, I've played the game probably a hundred times and enjoyed almost every game. I probably won't initiate many more games, but I can't think I will ever turn a game of Settlers down.

by Jon
Very Entertaining - Play with the kids
April 17, 2002

I have found that I can play this with my kids and have a good time. You can play with a highly agressive set of people that like to go and get deap into strategy or you can play it casually. Think of this a a modern bridge game. Invite friends and play and it does not take too long to learn and you can have a good time and talk and chit chat oretty easily while playing.

by Brett
Counting sheep sometimes puts me to sleep.
April 11, 2002

At first blush, I found this to be one of the greatest games ever. There is no doubt that it is extremely addictive. Perhaps I am the only one who has awakened in the middle of the night finding myself muttering 'Ill give you wool for wheat.' (This is the absolute truth.)

Having played Settlers over thirty times, I have decided it is not near the game that I originally thought that it was. What I thought was a highly strategic game based upon playing the odds and being a shrewd trader, has turned into a game not too different from Monopoly. (Now bear with me on this analogy!)

Just as in Monopoly, you have to have resources (property). And you get those resources by the rolling of dice. If the dice arent rolled in your favor, then you will not be successful in this game. No matter how good you are at wheeling and dealing, if you arent getting the resources to trade, you wont be able to do much. My favorite part of the game is the initial settlement placement. And after that, the rest is anti-climatic as the dice are rolled and it is a race to see who can get to 10 victory points the fastest.

Please understand, I think this is a great game. I love the interaction with the trading. I love some of the tough decisions like 'Should I go ahead and build a settlement or should I build two roads to block off my opponent?' But in the end, the game is simply about collecting resources. And 90% of the time whoever collects the most resources, wins the game.

Why would I play Settlers over other games? Well, it is one of the few games that allows you to play with 6 players (if you have shelled out the nickels for the expansion). I also find that it is an excellent game to introduce to people who have never played German games before. I love seeing them fall in love with the game like I did when I first started playing it. And it is hard to find a game with more player interaction than Settlers.

Why would I rather play another game instead of Settlers? If I want something with more strategy and less luck, then I would prefer to play Taj Mahal, Tigris & Euphrates, La Citt, Modern Art, Torres or El Grande.

As you can see, I still give it four stars. Any game that affects my dreams should at least get four stars!

by Mike M
A really excellent game!
February 25, 2002

I bought the basic Settlers of Catan game on a whim one day... it was an instant hit with my friends. A week later, I had purchased Seafarers, Cities & Knights, plus all three 5-6 player expansion packs. Had there been any more expansions, I would have purchased them as well :-)

The basic game is easy to learn, and offers a great deal of replay value. The Seafarers expansion adds more gameplay than it does complexity, so if you like the simplicity of Settlers, it's a safe bet you'll enjoy Seafarers.

Cities & Knights increases the complexity of the game significantly, though regular 'gamers' will feel right at home with, and probably welcome, the added strategic depth. Casual 'Monopoly' style players may find C&K too involved and time-consuming (or perhaps they'll just be turned on to strategy gaming!).

Buy the game, and you'll probably want all the expansions. Leave out C&K when playing with your non-gamer friends and family.. It's a blast either way :-D

Recommended - FUN - but not perfect
January 16, 2002

Settlers is a very fun game! I enjoy playing this game almost every time. There are some flaws in the game, though, that keep it from getting a perfect score. These flaws do not affect every game and the game is a GREAT deal of fun (read the rest of these reviews). It is easy to learn and play. While not super quick, it isn't a marathon, either. A solid, very fun, game.


Game Balance is one problem. Once someone pulls ahead, it becomes very difficult to catch them. It can happen, but not often.

Also, luck in the game early on seems to have a major impact on the final outcome. If you get unlucky (or lucky) the game can be over quickly.

The thief, while a nice deterrent, too often hurts players who aren't doing well, whether directly or indirectly. I've seen games where the losing player shares a spot with the winning player (who has no resources) and the losing player even gets stolen from.

by Jacob
The most popular island in the world.
December 16, 2001

When I have a group of four or more together, there isnt any game that parallels Settlers of Catan in terms of fun factor. It is a brilliantly designed game that requires interaction between people through trading in order to be successful. The most impressive features to me are the durable, artistically bold hexagons (plus the wooden pieces which everyone Ive played with loves to turn into their own original constructs) and the fact that the island has a new look every time. There could have easily been a board instead of individual pieces, but thankfully, Teuber had the insight to create it with separate tiles. The random board alone provides for continual replay.

Ive played the game several times with more than 4 people (where two people take one colour and work together with the decision-making) and the result has been surprisingly positive. Trading becomes more aggressive and frequent. What also happens is an alliance between two colours so that they become main trading partners and they actually try to help each other, if only to stay ahead of the other two sides and, thus, place themselves closer to the top. Its a very dynamic game this way.

I was initially puzzled why there was as much appeal to females as males. Of the fifteen plus people Ive introduced the game to, half of them are females and they absolutely love this game. At first, I thought it was because any game that has sheep cant be seen as that bad. Then I realized it was because of two other reasons: although this is a competitive game, it is non-violent, and there is a lot of luck involved with little strategy.

The luck factor (rolls of the dice) allows every game to have an abundance of highs and lows. Highs when your number is rolled and you score big resources and also when you pull off a trade to acquire exactly what you need (more skill involved than one might think). Lows when the dastardly '7' is rolled and you lose half your cards--thus being a high for everyone else.

Not to bewilder anyone, but I do have reasons for not granting this terrific game a '5' score. There was one game I recall where the probability laws were so off that day that I had the most frustrating time collecting resources. There were four of us playing and, for one stretch, we went four straight rounds where I did not pick up a single resource card. I finished the game with four points (thanks to the development cards) and was never really a factor in the game. But I guess this is to be expected once in a while.

Settlers also lacks progressive strategy. In fact, the options one has at any point in the game are quite limited. This can speed the game up, I suppose, but at a sacrifice of the enjoyment of thinking through advanced strategies, which is what I crave in a board game. Very few games have satisfied me in this respect (e.g. [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande, Acquire).

Settlers of Catan belongs in the Boardgame Hall of Fame if ever there is such a thing.

A wonderful game that relies too much on dice
August 31, 2001

Let me start by saying that Settlers is a modern classic. It has opened the eyes of many to the wonder of Euro/German games.

My big complaint with this game is that it is overly reliant on dice. European games typically require careful planning and strategy and are not heavily reliant on luck. The luck of the dice in Settlers can make or break a game.

The 'penny' variant helps fix this. If the dice roll does not produce goods, you are allowed to collect a penny (unless the roll is a 7 or you did not collect as a result of the robber). Pennies can be cashed in for any resource card(s) equivalent to the amount of total points you have. This helps cure the luck-of-the-die problem.

Every gamer should own a copy of Settlers as it is a great way to introduce people to a new genre of gaming. With time, serious gamers will likely find it doesn't make it to the table as often as it once did.

by Troy
Great Game For 'non-gamers' Whooie!
August 05, 2001

This is my first review for any game (let alone a board game). I was actually looking for a game called Broadsides and Boarding Parties and came upon this website about 2 weeks ago. (It is now August 6th 2001. I didn't even know that these 'new' or 'European' games existed... I'm glad I found this stuff!)

I bought Settlers, since it seems (from what I've been reading) that Settlers is used as sort of a benchmark for other games. Every other review I've read for various newer games says something to the effect of 'like in Settlers' or 'similar to Settlers', so I thought I should start by buying it.

The game arrived at the door about 5 days ago. Since then I've played it about 10 times: with 2 players (yeah, yeah, I know), 3 players (mostly this way), and one 4 player game.

This is a great game. I can't really contrast this game with 'other new european style games' as I haven't played any yet. But, if you want a 'should I buy it, or shouldn't I buy it', this one is a thumbs up.

If you, however, are a hard-core wargamer, and balk at even the THOUGHT of playing games such as Monopoly, then this is not the game for you. This is sort of a cross between Monopoly, and say, Civilization or Imperialism. It is FOR SURE deeper than Monopoly, while still simple enough for 'Mom and Dad' to be able to handle the rules and short learning curve of the game.

I gave this one four stars. I think this is a great board game, and fun for everyone. The only reason I didn't give it five, is I have nothing to compare it to. I ordered Tikal at the same time as Settlers, and will probably play it, [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande, [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euphrates, and a few others before I feel that I can compare games to each other fairly.

Great Easy Strategy Game
July 11, 2001

I have played Settlers many times now and I think I will be buying the expansion for it. The game is great with four players, yet with three it gets a little too simple. I think you need the additional player for complex interaction.

Overall, it is a nice strategy game; you don't have to destroy your enemies, like so many others games I have played. There is good replayability due to the randomness of resource collection. The one fear is that occasionally when one player is winning, everyone refuses to trade with them, which can be a bit of a downer for that player. Aside from that, I would recommend the game. Yet, I may give it a five after having tried out the expansions, because it is a little too simplistic with the game just as it is.

Set sail for the New World
June 30, 2001

This game is the one German game that some non-gamers are actually aware of. I have to agree that this is a game that nearly everyone will like, and thus makes it a great intro game for those people who grew up playing Monopoly and now think that board games are boring. A lot of my friends who previously disliked mass-produced American board games love playing my German games now.

There is plenty to like about this game: no violence, lots of trading, and the satisfaction of watching your settlement grow by careful planning. The theme is used very well in this game, too: groups of settlers vying to use the resources of the island to expand their presence there. The down side to this game is that it is only for 3-4 players, and with 4 players it is very difficult to expand, making it really only a 3 player game. There are [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]expansions to Settlers of Catan, but who wants to pay more money to get a few expansions to make it playable by more people? For that much money, I could buy 2 or 3 different games that I could then play with my friends.

Though this game is the best selling German board game in America, I actually think there are at least a dozen games that are better. Having said that, this game is excellent, simple, thematically satisfying, interactive, and--like I said before--almost everybody likes Settlers of Catan. This is a great one for families!

One complaint: Mayfair's version of this game is so much uglier than the very handsome Kosmos version. Mayfair's is much cheaper, so I bought it, but why couldn't they keep the nicer art that Kosmos produced?

Another review from Charlotte
June 21, 2000

Here is yet another southerner chiming in on the positive side of the Settlers debate. First of all, I want to say that Settlers is the best introduction to boardgaming for the uninitiated that I have seen. My mother and brother-in-law were skeptical but have been won over after only one playing. I agree that luck plays a large factor in the game, but this is a positive for the casual gamer and assures that anyone can win (which I know some of you despise).

For all those who complain of getting hosed in the game by the dice, and it has happened to anyone who has played this game more than a few times, I would say lighten up. It is just a game. And I believe if you are playing with a savvy group that can recognize this, the problem can be solved by giving the down on her luck player some good trading deals. I would also agree that the Seafarers expansion is a must, and highly recommend the German Alexander and Cheops expansion. It is very English-friendly and easy to pick up. Also check out Mayfair's website for a few variants and new tiles from Klaus Teuber.

Finally, I want to extend an invite to any gamers in the Charlotte area, North or South Carolina, to email me if they would like to form a gaming night or if they have room for one more (namely me) in their current group.

by Lee
A light, fun, social game
June 18, 2000

Let me first say that I'm not a huge fan of this game. The randomness of the dice is enough to turn me off--now throw in the trading aspect of it and I'm even less attracted to the game.

With that said, I rate the game 4 stars--I rate it for what it is--a light, social game. There's not a tremendous amount of deep strategy here. The game can be fun, however, with the right people. Like so many games, the amount of fun you have is determined by who you play with. I do not play this game with serious strategy gamers. It just doesn't appeal to them.

I HAVE enjoyed some games with my wife and other family members. We've had a good time, and it was a nice alternative to spending the night in front of the TV.

But, like Robert pointed out, the game can literally force you out of contention of winning. And this is the reason that some people aren't quite as fond of the game as others, especially people who disdain luck and lack of control in a game. I, for one, don't like games where I feel as if I have no control in the outcome. The dice may not go my way, or someone may just refuse to trade with me. It can be frustrating, especially when you really want to win--there's nothing worse than losing to your wife or your brother! As you can probably tell, I'm not usually a happy loser. :) I guess that's why chess is my all-time favorite game--no luck there.

But, in the end, it really doesn't matter who wins--utlimately I'm playing for fun and social interaction--and Catan certainly delivers in that department.

Great game, as long as the dice favour you...
June 01, 1999

Part expansion game, part trading game, Settlers is typically continental: big on juicy game mechanics, low on simulation.

When youre winning Settlers of Catan and the brick and ore are pouring in its is the greatest game youll ever play--good fun and easy to learn with game mechanics that encourage both short-term and long-term strategy. You constantly have several building/expansion options in front of you every turn, all which require careful planning.

If the dice are unkind and your settlements are bringing in one sheep every turn youll rue it with its over-reliance on dice rolls to advance in the game and the inability to recover from a slow start.

Strategically its a fairly simple game. Once players learn where to place settlements and realise the importance of receiving a constant flow of resource cards, the game comes down to luck. This could reduce the longevity of the game, although the expansion sets should increase long-term interest.

Highly original and enjoyable, Settlers aims for both the family and strategic gaming markets and scores hits with both.

The best new game I've played in the last few years
January 07, 1999

I first heard of Siedler when I was telling my cousin about Advanced Civilization, my absolute favorite game of all time. He said (roughly translated from the German), 'gee, that sounds kind of similar to Settlers of Catan.' So he started telling me about it. And then his mother chimed in -- it turns out that she likes Siedler, too. Naturally, I had to buy it. (I sent my cousin a copy of Advanced Civilization, too -- sort of to thank him for his recommendation.)

Of course, Siedler isn't really all that similar to Civ. But it does have the one feature that I like best: your primary goal in both games isn't so much to prevent your opponents from doing well, it's to enhance your own civilization to a point where you win the game. And it does have a similar way of limiting competition for territory (since there are only so many pieces available to each player), as well as the purchasing of improvements to one's civilization with commodity cards.

In Siedler, your goal is to accumulate a certain number of points, which you achieve by building settlements, upgrading your settlements to cities, and acquiring special cards. While there is a sufficient amount of space on the board for all players to build settlements, roads, and cities, some parts of the board are far better than others.

Success at Siedler requires the ability to assess the randomly-generated board, place initial settlements cleverly, and not get overly locked in to one strategy as the game unfolds. A strategy that worked well in one game may be a recipe for complete frustration in the next game, simply because of the changes in board configuration and in the actions of the other players.

I think Siedler is going to be one of those games I'm still playing in 10 years, particularly with the Stdte & Ritter expansion set (currently available only for Die Siedler von Catan, the German edition of the game --Ed.). As a Civ player, I think of Siedler as a game that feels somewhat similar, but requires fewer players, takes less time, and has less complicated rules.

Note: Having played both the English (Mayfair) and German (Kosmos) editions of this game, I believe that the graphics representing the different kinds of land and commodities are considerably more distinct in the German edition. This is particularly true for players who are red-green colorblind.

by Reed C
Good game, but rarely played
December 10, 2003

Settlers is fairly unique, strategic and fun, but beware the 3-4 player restriction! Because only a specific number can play, I rarely play it. I have only played it once in about 3 years...and when we get the right number of people we loathe to have to re-read the instructions again and just end up playing something else.

by HL
Vastly overrated but somewhat fun game
January 19, 2003

This game needs no introduction. Very overrated in my opinion.

I find that too much luck is involved and that the starting position of players has too big an impact on the chance of success later in the game.

The trading element is also slightly 'forced', it never comes quite naturally.

If you enjoy the trading element, check out the simple and really fun card game 'Bohnanza' elsewhere on this site.

Good but not Great; There are better
January 01, 2003

I bought this game with anticipation of a playing a blockbuster, but the game was not to fail my expectations. The game is a good game; its solid and enjoyable, but it is not as good as the hype says it is. Firstly there is way too much randomness; its all about who gets lucky in the beginning. To counter this, we downloaded some PDFs from fan sites and printed out some cards that help take out some randomness -- this is a must have for the games. It definetely made the game more enjoyable. My friends and I are avid game players, and no one is particularly excited to play this game again and again. Instead we love Carcassonne and Puerto Rico. In my opinion, those two are far better games than Settlers. Don't fall for the hype, the game is just slightly better than mediocre.

Don't believe the hype!
December 19, 2002

With over 100 reviews to date this is a game that probably doesn't need anymore. But when I see a string of 5 star reviews and proclamations such as 'Best game ever' I can't let that go. Someone has to stop the madness (at least for the moment). My beef with this game is the same as everyone else who gave it less than 5 stars. Yes, luck exists in many fine games and it certainly exists in life (?) but there is in fact such a thing as too much luck (if you don't think so you may enjoy a game I like to call 'Flipping A Coin' or maybe the classic 'What Number Am I Thinking Of'). This game suffers from this problem. It is a fine 3 star game but nothing more.

So the obvious question, why all the 5 star reviews?'s a curious phenomenon and could probably be explained by an understanding of the same laws of human nature that account for how the worst movies get to be #1 at the box office time and again. But I also suspect that those whose gaming experience prior to Setters consisted of lots of Clue or Monopoly or other mainstream fare are likely to be blown away by this game. In 1995, when this was named the German game of the year, there wasn't a whole lot out there. But the boardgaming world has evolved remarkably since 1995 and, frankly, there are lots of games now available that put Settlers to shame.

I would say if you're not a particularly experienced gamer you're likely to enjoy this game initially. But if you want something that requires a little thought and has a little more meat on its bones I suggest you look elsewhere (e.g. Carcassone would be a great place to start).

I should have 'Settled' for more...
September 03, 2002

I would describe myself now as an experienced Settlers player, having about 20 or more games under my belt. The majority of games I play are with 5 or more players, and we use the expansion set in order to do this. (The basic version is four player only) At this point I think I'm qualified enough to offer an opinion on the game.( As if enough hasnt been said already !)

Initially, my first exposure to the game was very positive. It was fun, it was fresh, it offered a lot of player interaction. There seemed to be numerous strategies to explore. With time the high has worn off.

The problem with Settlers is that if you dont get a decent initial placement, you'll end up spending the entire game struggling to make the most out of measly resources. In this situation, your options are few. At most you might be able to buy a few development cards, which hopefully will lead to a few points, but this strategy is difficult to maintain. And you certainly cant trade your way to success because you havent got anything to trade with. The game becomes an exercise in futility.

The key strategy is to place settlements on areas that have high die roll success odds, namely ones marked by sixes or eights. (Sevens are not mapped, they are reserved by the Robber) In addition, if you can place settlements on key building resources, then you can follow certain strategies. For example, if your settlements are generating wood and brick, you can build roads and 'migrate' to more important building resources, such as iron ore, and then use them to build cities. If however, you are unfortunate and have colonized on a poor location (one with die roll odds like a two or a twelve) then you wont be generating resources for a while. Sure you can hope for a seven and try to steal some resources, but this strategy will not help you in the long run. Trading at Ports can sometimes help a bad placement, but it all depends on what you have to trade in the first place.

A player with good initial setup will tend to increase his resources, and expand rapidly. Once this happens, it extremely difficult to dislodge him from that course.

In the last 5-player game we played, only two players were ever really in contention. The third player had mediocre results and the other two players struggled thoughout the entire game. The players in contention both had very good initial placements. The rest were stuck in difficult waters and were essentially just going thru the motions. To me, this does not seem to be the mark of a very 'balanced' game. This pattern I found repeated in other sessions as well.

In conclusion, I still recomend the game to novice gamers, party gamers, or as a family game.

Experienced boardgamers will quickly learn the ins and outs, and eventually yearn for something else.

Fun... but
July 07, 2002

This game is only good if you don't have players that try to screw you in the initial set up. Ok once in a while, but the random distribution of resources, and reliance on die rolls every turn can make this game frustrating for anyone trying to develop a strategy. Many games can become fairly inevitable as to who will have a chance to win, but can be long drawn out affairs of playing turn after turn in order to actually arrive at ten victory points.

Good game, but based too much on luck
June 13, 2002

The game is fun for a while, but you soon realize that the luck of the dice roll ALWAYS determines the winner. Yes, there is some strategy involved, but you can't use any of those strategies unless you have resources to build with, which you only have if your numbers are rolled on the dice. It's a semi-fun game the first 5 to 10 times, but gets frustrating when you know you have no chance of winning because your numbers aren't being rolled.

Good but not great.
September 01, 2001

Although the game is very well designed, it does have a flaw that stops it from being great. The luck factor is way too high in the game. I've seen fatally flawed strategies rescued by the dice on too many occasions to report here.

With that caveat in mind, this game is played by my group of gamers when we're in the mood for a 'beer and pretzel' game or we don't have a lot of time to play a more 'serious' game. If I was able to give the game 3 1/2 stars I would have, but I couldn't justify four. Enjoy.

A solid game, but fatally flawed and overhyped.
August 10, 2001

You guys are killing this game.

To be more clear, you're building it up way too much in your reviews. Everyone is overhyping this game to a degree that not even the most brilliantly executed, flawless game could meet expectations. Settlers is a good game, with a brilliant concept, but is unfortunately not executed with brilliance, and it is certainly not without serious flaws.

Players take the roles of settlers on the island of Catan. By drawing resources from the island, and trading these resources with other players, they seek to expand their little empire by building roads, settlements, and cities. The first player to reach 10 points through a combination of settlements, cities, certain development cards, and the 'Longest Road' and 'Largest Army' bonuses wins.

While it may sound like an expand-and-conquer game, it is really, at heart, a trading game, for the building aspect is rather mechanical and not *extremely* strategic (most strategies are disappointingly obvious). The trading is unpredictable, but often unfair; unfortunately, as it is the central mechanic in the game, this hurts the game.

A main flaw of the game, in my opinion, is the lack of balance in resource importance. For example: wheat and rock are very valuable, for they are needed for the ever important cities and development cards, but sheep eventually become virtually worthless near endgame, as they are used only for development cards and settlements.

As mentioned in a previous review, the game is also designed in a way that the rich always get richer, and the poor stay poor. I don't really need to elaborate here; if you've played the game, then you probably know what I'm talking about. The playing field should be more even.

Another flaw lies in the over-importance of initial pregame settlement placement. A game can literally be decided just by a lucky 'place-first' die roll and a placement in a super-advantageous location. Even the 'Beginner's Setup', which is supposed to fix this, is flawed; in this setup, the red player has an amazing advantage, having an enviable amount of access to brick and wood. The yellow player, in contrast, has poor access to any worthwhile resources. The red player, in the beginner's setup, will probably win 4 out of 5 times.

Finally, my last problem with Settlers is the art. It's drab, uninspired, and when compared to the vibrant, bold artwork for the German version, Mayfair's diluted, pale, Americanized art is uninspiring and ugly. But aesthetic complaints really aren't the problem here.

The problem is that Settlers is too flawed and too overhyped to be a rewarding gaming experience to most people trying it for the first time. Unlike a lot of you out there, Settlers was not my first German game--not even close--and I think that played a big role in my disillusionment; hearing everyone call this game the be-all and end-all of German gaming is strange when I've got a half-dozen *better* German games already under my belt. Stop overhyping this game. To be fair, it's nice, it's social, and it's easy to learn. But, after close examination, it's neither as good as it's made out to be, nor nearly as good as it could be. Settlers is like a big, flawed gem of a game. Unfortunately, not everyone likes their gems flawed. You shouldn't expect them to, either.

Fun game, but decided in the first 5 minutes.
March 17, 2001

I like playing Settlers of Catan, but find that too much seems to be determined in the first 5 minutes of the game. Too many games I have played were decided when the tiles were flipped and the first areas picked. There usually seems to be one or two places that have the best resources and numbers that can throw the game from the get go. It might also be in part that my brother, who is legendary at board games, always seems to get that spot and trounce us, but there are many othter games I reach for over Settlers. Despite this, I have always enjoyed playing.

A word to the orthodoxy...
June 19, 2000

Despite the widespread (and zealously defended) popularity of this game, there are some people who don't much like it--myself included. As others have said, the luck of the dice can ruin the fun. Defenders argue that skillful trading can overcome a bad run of dice and this may be, but but I haven't seen it. Like many 'infrastructure building games' where income produces infrastructure which produces income (etc.) an early lead can grow exponentially.

Maybe I haven't played this enough times to appreciate its subtlety and grandeur, but that's because I haven't had much fun when I did play it. Considering how many really fun games there are available today I'm not going to work at liking a game that I don't enjoy.

Try the game before you buy it. Based on everyone's reactions, you'll probably love it. However, you may be among us 'dissenters' who prefer other games.

A brilliant game with serious flaws
June 13, 2000

This has become something of a personal crusade for me. But bear with me.

When Klaus Teuber submitted his design of Die Siedler von Catan to Kosmos (the original German publisher), the company was unhappy with the game's complexity and its length of play. To placate them, he took what was a terrific design and cut out what is now the Seefahrers (aka Seafarers) expansion.

The resulting game is hugely popular. It's also badly broken.

The most obvious symptom of its being broken is the wool boom in the endgame. There's nothing to spend wool on once you've built your four settlements. So players just accumulate wool. This is a bug, not a feature: in Seefahrers, building boats consumes wool right up to the end of the game. In plain vanilla Settlers, the only thing you can do with wool is trade it 4-1 for other resources and hope you don't get hit by the robber.

The less obvious bug--you may have to play the game ten or twenty times before you see that it's really there--is that in about one game out of 4, one player will be knocked out of the game at the very beginning, entirely by bad dice rolls. That is, the other players will have built their fourth settlements by the time the disadvantaged player has an opportunity to finish his second road segment.

To make this worse, there's a geometric progression of productivity that comes along with having your third and fourth settlements. In 9 out of 10 cases, by the time the dice relent and let the hapless fourth player build a third settlement, it comes too late to catch up.

Settlers devotees will argue that the ability to trade mitigates this problem. But it really doesn't. You can't trade if you can't produce resources that anyone wants. At the beginning of the game, if you aren't producing wood or brick, you can just forget about trading anything else. 'Well, you should have put your settlement on a forest hex with a 5 on it' is the typical response to this. But the thing is, even if you are fortunate enough that you can always put one settlement on a forest hex with a 5 on it, one game out of four (actually, 27.4% of the time) you'll get nothing from it in the first 12 turns of the game.

Most people don't notice this in their first games of Settlers. Only about one game out of four gets skewed this way, and usually only one player gets hosed by the dice, so it'll probably only happen to you one game out of sixteen. On the other hand, this does mean that in at least one game out of four (and I think it's even more frequent than that), one player is knocked out of the game for no fault of his own.

This is not a fatal flaw in a game that moves quickly and that nobody takes very seriously. But that's not quite the case with Settlers. People tend to take it pretty seriously: there's a lot to think about in the game, particularly if you're new to it. Just the other night I sat in on a game between experienced players who were playing the game as fast as they could--they were done in half an hour--and even so one player got hosed by the dice and was disgusted enough that he quit before the game was over.

Note that this rarely happens if you're playing with the Seefahrers expansion. Played with the original rules, Settlers games last long enough (that is, have enough production die rolls) that the chance of getting screwed so completely by the dice drops way down, to less than 5%. The game is also much longer, though, and becomes much less of a charming introduction to German-style family strategy games.

One more rant, while I'm at it: the German edition of Settlers has brilliant, elegant graphic design, from the beautiful large box with the enormous orange-yellow setting sun to the distinctly color-coded resource cards and tiles. It's a strong design and one that has helped build a strong brand: every Kosmos Settlers product, from the board game, the Seefahrers and Stadte und Ritter expansions, the five- and six-player expansions, the card game (which, incidentally, is extraordinary, a much better game than the boardgame it takes off on), the card game's several expansions, and so on, features some clever variation of the graphics. Mayfair licensed the game design, but not the graphic design, and the result is something like the English version of Monopoly: the underlying game is still the same, but everything about it is drab and mediocre. It's often hard to distinguish one resource card from another, the Knight cards are confusingly also called soldier cards, and the beautiful and distinct setting-sun design is replaced with drab colonial-American illustrations that don't inspire the imagination but anchor it. Yes, it's cheaper than the German edition, and the cards are in English, but to me this is a case where the German edition is vastly superior.

by Schey
I liked this game a LOT
February 25, 2004

until I played Puerto Rico. It has similar game play and no dice. If you've ever waited around as you pray for a 3 to come up so you can get that brick you need you know what I mean. That, combined with the endless variations on the theme, (spacefarers, anyone?)have killed this game for me. I haven't even taken it out of the cupboard in at least a year. If you hear great things about this game and want to buy it, pick up Puerto Rico instead. You'll be glad you did!

Fallen out of favor
January 05, 2003

I've played this game over many years, and slowly gone from relatively positive to very negative.

My favourite part of this game is the trading of cards and discussion thereof. Even newbies can quickly refer to the purchase quick reference card and get a good idea of what they want to trade for, and with the unpredictable production, the relative worth of items oscillates to make for good dealmaking discussion. The production values are high, the accessability is good, and there are indeed different paths to victory.

That said, I no longer enjoy this game at all. The worst offence, to my mind, is the exceedingly important step of initial placement. Make a poor choice here and you may never recover. That isn't fun at all for new players, or less skilled gamers. Even if you make a reasonable choice, you may get hemmed in or simply have the dice decline to favor you initially and get locked out of your expansion options.

Which brings us to the role of luck in the game. Luck certainly is not as overriding as some feel it is, but the rolls _can_ leave you with nothing to do, which isn't any fun. When you add to that the adversarial nature of cards like monopoly and the play of the robber, it's not uncommon that a significant percentage (sometimes everyone playing) feels the game is unfairly 'against them'. Even the best of sports have succumed to the whining 'Don't take my card, I've not had any production for 5 turns!'.

Lastly, and unforgivably, the game drags. A lot. It can stall at any point. I've had games with an obvious winner drag out for 20 more minutes, and I've had it go four rounds until first settlement is placed. This wouldn't be _so_ bad, except of course at least one of the players usually ends up completely out of the running for the last 30 minutes or so, simply waiting for the game to end. Maybe it's because I've played with five or six players a good deal, but the game often seems to go a good two and a half hours or more. Some mitigation can be had by lowering the victory conditions to eight points from the normal ten, although the game stalls can make even this take an unexpectedly long time.

If I could find an entry-level game with this level of social chatty interactivity, I think I'd pack this one away for good.

Too Much Luck
October 13, 2002

This will be short and simple.

The Good:

Lots of player interaction.

Rules are easy too pick up.

The Bad:

-This game is 'heavy' on luck.

-The Robber shows up too often and slows the game down.

-The game just seems to be missing something. Maybe there need to be more to build or more varied cardplay. There is not enough meat to the game to hold my interest.

If have played the Settlers card game and the expansion card game. They are excellent and offer many more options for the players. If your trying to decide between the two...get the card game.

by Ben
The rich get richer
January 23, 2001

I will preface this review by stating that I have come to realize that I am a gamer in the style of [page sdj]Spiel des Jahres. That is to say that I like difficult (not necessarily complex) games that require a great deal of planning and thought. I understand that not everyone enjoys this sort of thing, so this review is directed towards those gamers out there like me.

I felt the need to add my opinion of this game, after having seen so many shining reviews. This game suffers from what I call the exponential growth effect. That is to say that early resources allow you to build new resource gatherers (cities) which continue to generate more resources. The only way to slow down an early lead in this game is to use the occasional robber, but even that doesn't change much in the long run. Statistically the dice rolls will, over a great many rolls, come in the expected ratios, however, due to the exponential-type growth, the early die rolls are much more important than later die rolls, making this game much more random than it should be.

I admit, I really enjoyed this game at first, and it was the first German-style game added to my swelling collection. Now, when I compare this game to much better German games, like Euphrat & Tigris or El Grande, Settlers just seems too simple and too biased towards early acceleration.

by Matt
What's All The Fuss About?
June 12, 2000

This game looked promising but failed to do anything for me. The settler theme is kind of a snoozer and the strategy wasn't enough to keep me from getting bored either. I kind of look at Settlers as what you would get if you took Kings & Things (Games Workshop/West End 1986), dumped the combat part and over-developed the economic and building aspects of it. [Kings & Things did take place in the random-hex-world of 'Kadab' which is not so different from 'Catan' so maybe there's something to the connection]. I would recommend Kings & Things (only available in German these days), Tikal or Elfenroads over this game. Of course I seem to be the only one who doesn't like this game so you don't have to listen to me.

A badly broken but beautiful game.
February 03, 1999

This is a beautiful game that introduced many Americans to European-style board games and is for many people the only one that they have played. The game is broken, however, and doesn't play as well as its peers. Players can easily be left with nothing to do on a turn after a lengthy wait and there is often very limited interaction between players. Pick up El Grande instead.

Worst Game Ever Overhyped
April 16, 2002

I will throw my two cents in anonymously in order to prevent hostile responses to this review. I have played Settlers now 40-50 times as my family really enjoys it and I love to interact with my family through boardgames. This game also served as a launching point for my obsession with boardgames (although the first game I actually purchased was Cosmic Encounter. That being said my opinion of this game has plumetted. Here is the reason why. The initial placement makes or breaks the winner. The reason why some win more often than others is they know this simple fact. It is all about the initial placement. Then die roll after die roll. Initial placement is decided by a roll of the die. So why not skip the entire game and just have whoever (granted they have to be experienced in Settlers to know it is all about the first placement) rolls the highest declared the winner. And don't get me started on the 5-6 player expansionas we all know that those green and brown expansions never have a shot and 5-6 quickly becomes a 2-3 player game with the winner predetermined by the first roll of the die.

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