The Settlers of Catan Travel Edition
English language edition
List Price: $28.00
Your Price: $25.20
(Worth 2,520 Funagain Points!)
from 3 customer reviews
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Now the most renowned Game of the Year comes in a cool, compact, portable edition! A beautifully designed plastic game board with drop-in tiles and plug-in roads and settlements enables you to enjoy The Settlers of Catan almost anytime and anywhere.
You can set up the game freely or randomly by using the colorful hexagon-shaped region tiles. Align the hole in each tile over the numbers in the plastic game board and drop the regions into place. Then, place your starting settlements and roads into the holes along the hex sides, get your cards, and you're ready to play!
This Travel Edition is perfect for a crew on the move or away from home. the playing pieces peg securely into place. All the cards and accessories fit into the tray in the compact game box. So, whether you're hanging out at a school or coffee shop, cruising on the road, riding the rails, outside in windy wilds, or simply stuck in a tight place, you and your friends can now enjoy The Settlers of Catan!
I got this game a couple months ago and it's already missing 1 port.
To me, "travel games" mean that the game is built in such a way that both the case and the game use components are sturdy, withstand lots of handling, and are not easily dislodged.
The components are cardboard paper hexes and ports that fit into a plastic gameboard "just so". However, they do not lock into place. Any jostling or bumping can cause them to be dislodged.
The graphics on the ports is nearly illegible, and a lot of it looks like it was just misprinted. I would have just had the resource image consume the entire surface of the port and bleed to the edge, rather than a microscopic circle and a bit of blue and white on the bottom.
As far as "make this great game into a travel edition" games go, this one could have been done a lot better. I spend most of my time wishing, "why didn't they do it better" rather than marvelling at the brilliance of how they travell-ized the componence. The settlements and roads poke nicely into little holes, which is nice.
On the positive side, you can actually play on a soft surfce such as a sleeping bag as the plastic board keeps the hexes flat. The original game requires an expansive hard surface. Just don't plan on jostling the board that much, and keep those ports and other parts well accounted for as they are so small they are easy to lose.
Travel games are usually restricted to hangman, the license plate game, or Connect 4. No longer! Now gamers can take the best selling German board game of all time on the road with them! Settlers of Catan has gone mini-plastic!
I dare not delve into the mechanics and game of Settlers of Catan. There are more than 150 reviews of Settlers of Catan on this website alone! Go there fore mechanics. What I want to dwell on is how well this game has translated into a travel edition.
Let's face it, a game that has been converted to a travel edition is bound to be judges primarily on how well the graphics shrink (everything needs to be clear), and how well the components shrink (everything needs to be wieldly). Mayfair, that graphical nightmare of a company; that Amalgamate of Visual Mediocrity; that Bane of Beauty and Useable Form, usually does one thing exceptionally well: uglifies games. Lately their approach has been much more approachable as they have stayed with the original (and much more functional) German art instead of inventing their own.
Sadly, since their fortunes depend so largely on the success of Settlers of Catan, and since they want to keep their franchise familiar (which is a laudable goal) they stuck with the decidedly medicore art of their edition of Settlers of Catan, which, even more sadly, has become downright frustrating when miniaturized.
Forests look too much like meadows; roads look too much like settlements; settlements look too much like cities; the symbols on the ports are so small as to be almost literally indistinguishable. Not a good start.
But they did make a couple great adjustments for the travel version. The numbers are now fixed, which takes some of the fun out of the game, but in doing so, they are bright, legible, and they can not move if the board gets bumped. The hexes are fairly thin, but they settle into the hexagon slots very well and are very functional for this travel edition (my frustrations about meadows and forests aside). The cards though VERY small, are actually quite distinguishable, the development cards have a clean look to them, and the tray that holds the components actually seems designed to hold all the components (an absolute FIRST for Mayfair!)
But all the visuals that don't work really do make the game frustrating to play. Players will often find themselves squinting at a port or double checking a hex to see if they are looking at wood or brick or sheep! And the biggest problem with the game? The all important Robber (who is an important part of teh startegy in the game) is a simple, black, plastic pawn ... that does NOT fix to the board. That means everytime you hit a bump while traveling, or jolt the board when shifting in a seat -- there goes the robber, who you now have to remember which hex he was on and stand him up again. Simply inexcusable. Why not make the base of the robber fit over the numbered circles??
Still, the travel game genre is one with slim quality pickings. If you can get past the mediocre visuals and the bad robber design, then Settlers of Catan Travel Edition ports quite well, holds the components nicely when boxed and when being played,still serves up the tactical punch and socialness of the big brother game... and serves as a nice break from hangman.
Okay, if you want to know about Catan, read my review on the full-size game. I will rate the travel box aspects. I first saw the German version, and this is a perfect US version for carrying on the road. I tried it out at the 2003 International Toy & Game Convention in Chicago. The numbers are fixed, but the resource tiles pop out and can be moved around which is awesome. The little roads and settlements stick into the peg style board, the only bad thing is the Robber can slip and slide and does not have any surface to hold and the desert is always in the center. All the cards and game mechanics are the same. This game isn't a 5 star like the original for those reasons stated above, so please play the original first, but if you need a travel game, this one is a must buy over everything out there. If it does well, I'm hoping other great games will come out on travel-size versions. Thank you and game well!