The Settlers of Canaan
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Each player represents a tribe of Israel who is seeking to be the first to settle Canaan! Guide your tribe throughout the fertile lands of Canaan. Each hex space will yield a certain resource that you can cash in for roads, settlements, and cities. Harvest resources of stone and ore from the land to help build Jerusalem and receive King David's blessing. Harvest timber, grain, wool, and brick to build more roads and settlements to expand your territory!
But work quickly! Your opponents are moving to settle the most fertile parts of Canaan! You also need to be wary, as a plague could come upon you at any time and destroy your harvest!
I liked it. I accept some of the complaints below, but it's a good variant of a great game system. I see the Skill/Luck ratio as the same as the original. This variant certainly adds color and a few new tactics.
This may bring the Settlers games to Christian Stores, which have become a fairly large market recently. Maybe this is how we 'convert' the American public to German boardgames!
A good game!
This is a commodity trading game based on the popular 'Settlers of Catan' series of games. You don't need to own 'Catan' for this game, because it's not just another historical scenario add-on. The play of the game is similar to 'Catan', except for the development cards. Of course that is the advantage of this game. This game was playtested by the author of 'Catan' so you can be sure it's worth the money. So open up the box with friends and family and in no time at all Jerusalem will rise stone by stone.
Do not be turned off by the religious theme, Settlers of Canaan is a very good game. The Settlers mechanics are kept intact and new concepts are introduced which add to the original game, not detract from it. You can add a brick to the temple by spending a brick and ore, the largest army card is replaced by the most priests card, and there are new, creative development cards, among other things.
After reading the previous reviews I was prompted to write my own. On one hand, my complaint wasn't addressed, on the other, I think all the complaints (mine included) are minor. Yes, the cards are lighter weight than in 'Settlers of Catan', and yes the 'bricks' are too big to fit into the spaces given, and perhaps there are too many red numbers on hills. I don't have a big problem with these things, my problem is with the number distribution. In the original there were 2 of each number except 2 and 12 of which there was 1 each, numbers were easy to keep track of. In Settlers of Canaan there are, for example, one 2, four 3s, three 4s, five 5s, etc. You must scour the board at least once each roll to make sure you didn't miss one.
Taken together all these minor faults do require me to give the game less than 5 stars, but I hate to. Settlers of Canaan is every bit as good as the original.
Usually, I don't see Christianising well-known boardgames a good idea, since they sometimes over-do it, i.e. stretch the theme too far. But this 'conversion' is quite well done, with the resources and mapping well thought out. To response to an earlier reviewer: the resource ports are designed to be at the same resource hex because they are to be traded for other resources, i.e. 3 wheat for something else at a wheat port. It makes perfect sense because why would I need a wheat port if I dont own a wheat hex. The development cards have to be powerful to encourage their purchase, since as observed, roads and settlements are rather easy to build with abundant wood and stones. My main gripe with the game is one of the issues the reviewer mentioned. It is not double of black building blocks. It is blue but so dark it is almost black. Also the pieces are too big. Cactus game design makes up for this with a discount for the next purchase. But since it is useless to an international buyer, I would rather they maunfacture it right in the first place. Hence 4-stars.
As an Austrian fan of 'The Settlers of Canaan' I just HAD to by this new variation simply for a collectors reason...
But apart from that: This is not a bad game. Of course it is a mix, consisiting of elements of the basic version of Settlers and the Historical Scenario 'Cheops'. There are only a few new mechanics added. But nevertheless, the theme is well done.
What we found is, that it seems to be really a 'land of milk and honey' like the biblical Canaan, because we always get a lot of income. I think, there are just a few of the lower numbers on the fields.
What I do not like is the look of the game. The colours are not as beautifully chosen as in the German editions. And the cards a simply too big. The material somehow looks 'raw' in my eyes. That takes away a bit of the atmosphere...
But all in all another nice scenario.
This is a game that is 'credited' to Klaus Teuber, but is really a reworking by Cactus Games. Having said that, I think Teuber should be pleased with the result! The added mechanic of the building of the Jerusalem wall makes for an alternative to the longest road race, with much classier results: a two to one trade on a resource of your choice. Yes, the board is fixed, but there is also a copper square that hits for 1-1 on a roll of ten. The placement phase at the start is more creative, in my opinion, when players know the board and are jockeying for position.
As to the biblical theme? Having played this game with folks of varying religions, they said it provided a neat mythical-historical flavor of the area it depicts. And even agnostics found the game to be just great playing, especially with the added mechanics. For a Jewish or Christian player, there is definitely an added excitement. This title should provide Cactus Games with more crossover appeal.
Overall, nicely done. Just enough Catan, just enough Canaan.
This game was playable but did not seem well balanced and in the end was decidedly less interesting than the original Settlers of Catan.
The board is fixed which is also true of Nuernberg but in Settlers of Canaan the number assignments seem ill-advised. For example, the majority of the 6s and 8s are on wood and brick. Three of the six ore hexes have the number 11. The brick port is touching a brick hex, the wheat port touching a wheat hex, and so on for each of the resource types.
With regard to the religious theme, the soldier/knights have become priests and the robber has become the plague. Each player's game summary card is labeled with the name of one of the tribes of Israel. The other standard development cards have been re-themed as well (e.g. the 'Ten Commandments' is a victory point). In addition, Settlers of Canaan adds new development cards some of which seemed too powerful. I suspect some of these would unbalance the game but I didn't see them actually played during the game so will reserve judgement.
Apart from the new development cards, the only other new element is a two point bonus similar to the longest road. This two point bonus card is held by the player who has played the most tokens in the 'wall area' adjacent to one edge of the map. These wall tokens cost one brick plus one ore to play. A player can only make a wall token if that player has a settlement on an outer vertex of a hex adjacent to the wall area. The holder of the two point wall card receives a 2:1 port of his or her choice (which is lost if the two point card is lost). A completed wall ends the game. Alternatively, the game ends when someone reaches 12 points.
Apart from the game play, the components also had some problems. The cardstock for the resource cards was somewhat less sturdy than that of the original English edition Settlers cards. Also, the copy of the game I played was missing the blue set of wall tokens. Instead, it had twice too many black wall tokens (these are the tokens added to the wall when a 7 is rolled). Also, the wall tokens are just a fraction too large for the printed grid on which the wall tokens are to be played.
On the plus side, perhaps this version of Settlers will lead some people to find and play the original version of Settlers who otherwise would not have found it.
Only buy this game if you need it to complete your collection of every Settlers variation ever made or if you know a group of non-gamers who might be convinced to try it because of the religious theme.
In the beginning, Klaus Teuber created Settlers of Catan. Doug Gray saw that it was good, and brought it to the Promised Land. The usual preliminary shuffling of terrain hexagons to form the board has been replaced by a fixed setup, albeit with some settlement sites next to potentially productive terrain. Bonus cards in the original Settlers are lost by their owners only when a competitor overtakes them. Their equivalents here are lost even if you merely tie their owners, and remain uncontrolled until someone leads again. Therefore bonus cards tend to change hands more frequently. You can now spend resources to build a stone in Jerusalem, if you have either a settlement on (or one connected by road to) its frontier. Having the most stones of your color earns you a bonus card, and play ends when Jerusalem is completed. Highest score wins--otherwise, the champ is the player who first reaches 12 Victory Points. We recommend this game to avid Settlers fans as well as to the unconverted.