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Catan das Kartenspiel CD-ROM
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The long-awaited PC-version of the card game. This game has its own website at www.catan.de -- the basic deck can be played against computer players, and the tournament decks can be played online against real players. The CD-ROM includes 10 new tournament cards.
Important Note: The text within this software is in German, but an unsupported software patch to convert the text to English can be downloaded online at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/viewitem.php3?gameid=3087. We cannot accept returns on opened copies of this product.
Average Rating: 3.5 in 2 reviews
If you like the Catan Card Game, or even tried to like it, the CD-Rom will give you a new appreciation of this two-player game.
In a nutshell, this game has AI players designed by Klaus Teuber with whom you play the Base Game, and you can play online with cards you select from the Expansion Sets (including a set of 10 cards not included in Mayfair versions) in a huge online tournament.
Don't speak German, do you? Well, an English converter that I made is now available from www.boardgamegeek.com. The fine folks at funagain have also promised to make it available on their site. You can find installation instructions with the zip file. After it is installed, only a few simple words like 'Ja' and 'Nein' are left in German. All cards and program messages are in English and are 100% compatible with the Mayfair versions.
Now to CD-Rom specifics. The graphics in the game are quite simple. Each player has the choice of representing him/herself as one of eight character icons. The icons don't move, talk, or dance. They just smile or frown depending on who's winning at the time. There is no background music, just music or sounds that are specific to each card played.
The Deck Editor is where you build your cards to play in the tournament. It is also very straightforward and lean. You have the pool of cards to select from, you drag and drop what you want into your expansion stacks and the event card stack, and move 3 into your hand for the start of the game.
Gameplay is, as far as I can tell, identical to the face-to-face game. I found no surprises.
This game was designed for the online tournament, which is found at www.catan.de, and is hosted by Kosmos. Nearly 1000 people are currently registered in the tournament and competition is fierce. It's a typical online gaming arena, where you meet people in a chat room, then host or join a game. And you'll be happy to know that once in a game, the connections are quite stable. Also, don't be shy if you don't know German. Most of the people there know enough English that you'll get by. If you buy this game and only play against the AI, you're really missing the boat.
The key to playing the tournament is strategy! Do you play with wizards and rely on gold? Do you try to cripple your opponent with a deck loaded with action cards? Do you go for as many resources as possible and build quickly? It all depends on the cards you choose in your tournament deck. Thankfully, the game has five tournament decks you can use to start, each one with its own strategic slant to help you win the game. You can use one of these or dive right into building your own.
The only downside to this game is the fact that the tournament site is in Germany, where the time difference to the East Coast is 6 hours. If you're ready to play at 9pm EST, it's doubtful that anyone in Germany is ready to play, it being 3am their time. However, my hope is that more folks from the U.S. will be playing, making that a bit less of an obstacle.
This is a CD-Rom with a simple design and few frills. The cards have the familiar artwork seen on the face-to-face game, and the screen scrolls across a small river between your principality and your opponent's. No 3-D animation, no animatics, nothing but cards on a background. What makes it great is the tournament and the ability to match wits with multiple opponents using a strategy all your own. Also, if you want to gain an edge with your face-to-face opponents, it's well worth the investment to learn from Klaus's AI players. I highly recommend this game because it is good, strategic, highly competitive fun!
Just a quick update to my previous review. The online tournament is currently in the hands of a pay site in Germany which also hosts the regular version of Settlers and Cities & Knights. They bill through the German phone company, so there's no way us Yanks can play. Some time ago, they said they were trying to work out a credit card payment system, but as far as I know, that's not happening. Without more play partners, the game loses a star from me.