Catan Junior
December 12, 2014 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Wil Wheaton has a Youtube channel called "Tabletop" where he posts videos of himself with three guests playing various board games. Originally he thought the audience was going to be exclusively adults, but it turned out that a lot of people were watching the show with their kids. So in this week's episode, the game is Catan Junior, a cut-down version of Settlers of Catan intended for kids, and Wheaton's three guests are all 9 years old. Please enjoy Catan Junior.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (40 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's literally nothing wrong with Wil Wheaton, so there must be something wrong with the universe.
posted by Poldo at 4:47 PM on December 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Will watch the video but wanted to mention -- my then five-year-old niece quickly (and accidentally) discovered the secret to Catan Junior: I'd like to buy a Coco Token! Every. Single. Turn.

she's not a gracious winner, either
posted by trunk muffins at 4:47 PM on December 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


On the show, they call it the Parrot Recursion Effect. And yes, it is in effect.
posted by persona at 4:48 PM on December 12, 2014


You wouldn't inherently think that watching peoplelay board games would be fun, but I love Tabletop, so much that we backed the IndieGoGo for season three. I just bought Catan Jr. for my nephew, so I'm looking forward to watching this episode and playing the game when we visit for the holidays.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 5:28 PM on December 12, 2014


Wow, spoiler alert I guess, the kid who was in the lead the entire game basically ran away with it. I guess it improves on base Catan in a few ways (better trading mechanics, more flexible building, even dice rolls), but it still suffers from a lot of the same problems like snowball effects and how unfun the game is once you're out of it because of a stroke of luck.
posted by codacorolla at 5:35 PM on December 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Watching now, and yeah, this is confirming my impression that the parrot tokens are OP.
posted by trunk muffins at 5:37 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


the kid who was in the lead the entire game basically ran away with it.

That somehow happens every time I play adult Catan too.

I saw Star Trek Catan the other day--anyone know if Wil's played that?
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:50 PM on December 12, 2014


Tabletop: Star Trek Catan
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:52 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dunno about Wil, but I bought a copy of the Star Trek Catan for my wife a while back. It's nearly identical to the original game, except the pieces are cheap and crappy plastic instead of wood, and some of the building materials are things like dilithium and tritanium instead of wood and brick, which are pretty much meaningless and hard to remember what you need to build something. It does have an added set of "Support Cards" that give each player extra benefits when played - we usually don't use them - I feel like it takes some of the social element away by encouraging you to use the support cards instead of trading. Otherwise, it's the same game, with Star Trek imagery.
posted by jferg at 6:11 PM on December 12, 2014


Tabletop is an awesome show.
posted by nubs at 6:14 PM on December 12, 2014


Wheaton is a national treasure.
posted by mollweide at 6:32 PM on December 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd like to buy a Coco Token! Every. Single. Turn.

Ha! My kids, 6 and 4, have the same strategy.
posted by rbellon at 6:32 PM on December 12, 2014


jenfullmoon: "
That somehow happens every time I play adult Catan too.
"

No no, what happens is the person in the lead gets embargoed, and the person with a few key development cards sneaks by and takes over longest road after finally playing their third knight for largest army and wins the game. Advanced versions devolve into everyone accusing one another of being the sneaky one, until someone gets the clever idea of trading away all their sheep / wheat and then monopolying it all back.
posted by pwnguin at 6:50 PM on December 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


He has an unusual amount of timbre for a voice that high pitched... how loud did he scream at the Dinosaur Jr. cover band the night before while chugging Jack and chain-smoking Silk Cuts?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:11 PM on December 12, 2014


There's also an abridged version of the Star Trek Catan episode.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:33 PM on December 12, 2014


Yeah well it's still Catan. But it's a super short version of Catan, which to me sounds like the biggest improvement one could possibly make. It matters a lot less of someone's running away with the game and basically unstoppable if the whole thing takes 30 minutes with introduction, commentary, and an awards ceremony.
posted by aubilenon at 8:06 PM on December 12, 2014


Yeah well it's still Catan. But it's a super short version of Catan, which to me sounds like the biggest improvement one could possibly make. It matters a lot less of someone's running away with the game

... y'all need to learn how to organize. Catan is a political game about identifying threats and boycotting them with extreme prejudice; the player in the lead can only run away with the game when you listen to their lies about the importance of a liberal free market and fail to recognize your own collective power to shape the outcome.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:59 PM on December 12, 2014 [15 favorites]


My favorite way to organize is in a way as to never play Settlers of Catan for the rest of my life, if possible.
posted by codacorolla at 9:18 PM on December 12, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yeah I must say that my experience is that Catan is super-fun for the first 15 minutes when everyone still has a chance at winning, and then progressively more boring until it's almost unbearable.
posted by dontjumplarry at 9:43 PM on December 12, 2014


Huh. Every turn, everyone usually wins something.That seems appropriate for a kids' game somehow.
posted by unmake at 9:59 PM on December 12, 2014


the player in the lead can only run away with the game when you listen to their lies about the importance of a liberal free market and fail to recognize your own collective power to shape the outcome.

My experience is that a good number of games get to the point where there's maybe two people who could possibly win, and the other two people are pretty much shut out. Because there totally is a snowball effect with production. I assure you, we're all seasoned strategy gamers, and there's nothing three out of the four of us at any given time love more than beating up on the winner. But if you're producing more than 2x as much as me, a trade embargo hurts me more than it hurts you. At a certain point, you give up on playing to win, you stop playing for second, because all that's left is playing to be able to even make a damn move ever.

That's what I don't like about Catan.
posted by aubilenon at 10:01 PM on December 12, 2014 [7 favorites]


Apart from resource production, there are also numerous occasions where (because of how the board is set up) you realize you're pretty fucked before the first dice roll because you got a bum rap in the snake draft, and you have no real possibilities for expansion. I play it now and again for nostalgia's sake, and then summarily regret the 2 hours of my life I've wasted. That's why any new game I buy I aim to have it slot in at 45 minutes or under.
posted by codacorolla at 10:03 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoy playing Catan against the dumb AIs on my phone. Against real people, it's okay.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:25 PM on December 12, 2014


I don't play Catan much, but if it's taking 2 hours, you're doing it wrong. Tournaments generally allow 1 hour per round. And despite what some people claim, coming from behind is very possible, thanks to 10 points being such a low total. In my last game, I played my 3rd Knight to win the Largest Army, upgraded a Settlement, and revealed 1VP card all in one turn to pip the guy who was sat on 9 points. Also 9-year-olds are quite capable of playing the real thing.
posted by salmacis at 12:08 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It only takes 2 hours when there are novice players who keep holding out for deals that nobody's going to make.
posted by aubilenon at 12:21 AM on December 13, 2014


(Or with a couple expansions)
posted by aubilenon at 12:22 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've never been much of a board game person, but I would happily play anything if I could play with Wil Wheaton.
posted by kinnakeet at 1:19 AM on December 13, 2014


What kind of monster invites kids around to play a game then puts Catan on the table when everybody knows he has King of Tokyo, Small World, Forbidden Desert, Tokaido, Takenoko, X-Wing, Forbidden Island, Munchkin, Formula D, Love Letter, and Castle Panic on the shelf?

What did he do for snacks? Carob?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:51 AM on December 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


My six year old is no prodigy, and he plays proper Catan, not sure what the need for a dumbed down version is.
posted by wilful at 2:17 AM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hey, they have an episode with my favourite game: Carcassonne.
posted by Pendragon at 5:23 AM on December 13, 2014


I played my 3rd Knight to win the Largest Army, upgraded a Settlement, and revealed 1VP card all in one turn to pip the guy who was sat on 9 points. Also 9-year-olds are quite capable of playing the real thing.

Meaning you:
- Were sitting on six points before,
- had two unrevealed cards, and
- had two played soldiers/knights already, with no one else at three.

You just played a strong development card strategy, which works best when you're the only player buying them. All it took was one opponent to play a third soldier (possibly the player at 9 VPs, who'd immediately win) and you would be pretty much stuck at 8 VPs, until you could get another Soldier.

Hey, they have an episode with my favourite game: Carcassonne.

We played a lot of Carcassonne until it became evident that we were kind of playing by unspoken house rules, which are the worst kind of house rules, because when you realize there's no reason you should be holding back the other player feels betrayed. So you go back, not playing by the forbidden strategy, but then the other player does something similar, and you wonder why it wasn't okay for you.

Because Carcassonne can be surprisingly cutthroat. I once had a game in which I tied up five of my opponent's meeple so they couldn't be reclaimed, by playing tiles so their claimed features would be impossible. In a two-player game (which was the kind we played the most) it can be a recipe for strife, and when we played with more then frequently the player in last place has decided to play spoiler more than trying to come from behind, and just do everything he can to prevent the leader from winning. The result: last-place is last but feels smug, formerly-first-now-second feels cheated, and formerly-second-now-winner knows he probably only won because last-place played kingmaker.

I have no doubt that Carcassonne can be enjoyable, a lot of people really like it, but apparently it's bad our for specific group.
posted by JHarris at 6:19 AM on December 13, 2014


Because Carcassonne can be surprisingly cutthroat.

I know. My brother refused to speak to me for a week when I prevented his potential game winning city from completing :-)
posted by Pendragon at 7:07 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Because Carcassonne can be surprisingly cutthroat. I once had a game in which I tied up five of my opponent's meeple so they couldn't be reclaimed, by playing tiles so their claimed features would be impossible. In a two-player game (which was the kind we played the most) it can be a recipe for strife,

I routinely place a tile showing my wife what I could do, and then place it somewhere else.
posted by LionIndex at 7:23 AM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think part of the fun of 3+ player cutthroat games is the politics. Sure it makes you feel like a good strategist to knock someone way behind, but if they can still mess with your chances of winning, that "genius" move probably just cost you the game. And it pisses the heck out of ruthlessly competitive folks who don't get that.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:24 AM on December 13, 2014


Aaargh. The Boy.
posted by Twang at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2014


I love that Wheaton has made a show out of people playing table-top games (and that it's good).

As for all the Catan hate/frustration in the thread: 4-player, standard Catan is a difficult game to make fun once all four players are reasonably proficient at the game. With my family/friends, Catan is always in regular rotation but if there are four of us, we raise the point total to win significantly (13 if it's a standard set-up) but more importantly we just play the expansions, which are much more fun for four. Especially Seafarers, because you can make those giant maps that have unrevealed hexes, which makes the game more unpredictable. Also, for four players the Star Trek Catan expansion maps are great.

For three, we'll use a standard set-up but play to 13 or 14; we'll often also eliminate longest road/largest army, etc. If you just tweak the gameplay some there are easy ways to mitigate anyone running away with a game. (It really is an extremely well-balanced game but sometimes needs a bit of adjustment with four. Three really is ideal for the standard set-up.)

We've also found and honed a very workable 2-player version (2 versions, actually, one quick and one epic), and those are fun, too.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:26 AM on December 13, 2014


My objection to Catan is not that someone can run away with it, but that after the third turn there is usually someone blocked in completely and unable to win or do much of anything. Usually that person is me. I like the five player version for that reason. It's played with extra tiles, so everyone has more room to expand and you have to be spectacularly dumb to get blocked in. I still manage it, but it takes longer.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:34 AM on December 13, 2014


My objection to Catan is it's boring; like if Monopoly made you gather the lumber and asbestos to build a hotel on Northumberland. Contrast with 7 Wonders, which is also about gathering resources:

"I build a settlement."
"That's sweet. Maybe y'all can come visit my gladiator arena."
"Oh yeah? Well, I have the longest road."
"Yes, I can see it. From the top of my motherfucking pyramid."
"But..."
"Too late, I already smoked you with my war mirror."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:42 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


My objection to Catan is it's boring

Yeah I appreciate Catan in a theoretical sort of way, but if I'm going to sit down to a board game I need something more Betrayal at House on the Hill, or Robo Rally, or Space Hulk. Something that'll hold my attention a little better than a rivalry between colonial ordnance surveyors.
posted by rifflesby at 1:15 PM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


colonial ordnance surveyors

/registers sockpuppet account name
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2014


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