So, who's got wood for my sheep?
July 8, 2006 9:05 AM   Subscribe

Posit: Settlers of Catan is the greatest board game of all time. (Read the rules and see for yourself, just don't go too crazy with changing them.) Why not spend Saturday playing online? There are several java versions available for those leery of installing things.
posted by absalom (28 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Greatest "pretzels and beer" board game of all time possibly. IMO the greatest board game of all time is Advanced Squad Leader, which can also be played via java - just be prepared to devote your life to it.
posted by stbalbach at 9:14 AM on July 8, 2006

I prefer Starfarers of Catan, myself. But I've only played Settlers once or twice, so maybe I haven't given it a fair shake.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2006

Settlers is a fine, fine game. The randomness element is frustrating, and the advantages given over by turn order likewise, and it's a bit to easy to press an advantage via trade lockdown, but for all that it's ten times the game Monolopy is.
posted by cortex at 9:28 AM on July 8, 2006

One thing that bugs me about Settlers is the rule that disallows players from building roads through other players' roads. Most players probably find this a welcome challenge, but to me it's little more than a good way for more experienced players to easily crush newer ones (I speak from experience). I can't really see a really compelling reason for that rule, and anyway, roads intersect in real life. I prefer Starfarers mostly because of the greater freedom of movement it allows.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:34 AM on July 8, 2006

This post nees a link to a basic "What is this?" page for folks like me that have zero game background.

Little help?
posted by cccorlew at 9:39 AM on July 8, 2006

About Catan.
posted by cortex at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2006

Here is a great Catan t-shirt.
posted by amber_dale at 9:48 AM on July 8, 2006

Puerto Rico and Tigris both > Settlers. But it's still a good 'un for all that.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:52 AM on July 8, 2006

amber_dale that is freaking awesome. I've only played Catan a couple of times but I couldn't stop giggling after I followed your link.

Admittedly, I am simple. But it's still funny.
posted by quin at 10:22 AM on July 8, 2006

Wolfdog: You're about the dozenth person to tell me how great Puerto Rico is.
posted by absalom at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2006

Settlers is even better with the Cities & Knights expansion. Add on the Seafarers expansion (along with the 5-6 player expansions of all of them if some extra friens over happen to come knocking) and you've got a good start on making your Saturday afternoon and evening completely disappear without even noticing.

There are card game spinoffs and some new scenarios and settings as well, along with a kid's version and new travel edition (see here for descriptions of all of the expansions and spinoffs).

And, I have to agree with beats the pants off of Monopoly.
posted by hrbrmstr at 10:30 AM on July 8, 2006

Go, Chess, Risk, Axis and Allies, Condottiere...
posted by SaintCynr at 10:48 AM on July 8, 2006

For those with no board game background is very much your friend. At one time Settlers may have been regarded by many as the greatest game, but right now the ranking there doesn't even put it in the top 20. Still, it will always be a classic and it is a game that inspires people to spend far more than they would on other titles.
posted by meinvt at 10:54 AM on July 8, 2006

My kids are absolutely hooked on this game. It's very popular in their high school, too.
posted by tommasz at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2006

Puerto Rico is a good game but it depends too much on your position relative to other people of different skill. If you play it with a group of people of similar skill it is a good game but if even one player is bad it unbalances the game for everyone. It can be a lot of fun but it is kind of fatally flawed.
posted by I Foody at 11:07 AM on July 8, 2006

I've only played the card based version (because Deputy Pink has no friends), but it is indeed awesome.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:09 AM on July 8, 2006

We never got into the Cities and Knights expansion and went back to playing the basic game. Haven't been able to try Seafarers yet.

In response to the post title (blithely ignoring the joke): No. No one wants your sheep. You probably shouldn't have placed next to the hills with the 8 on it in the set up phase. Your baaing hordes will probably have to be turned in 4-for-1.
posted by JHarris at 11:47 AM on July 8, 2006

Sheep horde strategies usually do well for me. Resource control is important in Settlers, and there's less competition to control sheep, but the sheep port is just as good as any other 2:1 port. Besides, "everybody loves sheep. Sheep go 'baa.'"
posted by yeolcoatl at 12:25 PM on July 8, 2006

Catan also allows poor players (like me) a great chance to act simply as vindictive kingmakers.

I'm a big fan.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:38 PM on July 8, 2006

I guess it shows what a huge nerd I am, but this post makes me actually angry.

Instead of ranting about the shortcomings of Catan, I'm going to push a game from a small developer that is excellent and deserves more exposure! Glory To Rome is kind of like Puerto Rico (closer to San Juan really), but there's more variety in how the game winds up going.

Production quality is lousy (Clipart!), but it's good fun to play!
posted by aubilenon at 1:22 PM on July 8, 2006

A good game? Absolutely. A great game? Probably? Best of all time? Hardly. Though, it did get me back on the game bandwagon and pretty much single-handedly revived boardgaming in the last decade. When the first online app for it popped up, my friends and I pretty much burned through all of the strategy for it fairly quickly- cortex is right, it all comes down to trade lockouts.

I highly recommend BoardGameGeek, which has great game lists. AskMe has several questions full of game recommendations as well.
posted by mkultra at 8:50 PM on July 8, 2006

I tried the Cities and Knights expansion, and it really left a bad taste in my mouth. It gussied up a beautifully simple game with lots of extra cruft that wasn't that much more fun for me.

What I've always loved about Settlers is that it isn't as intense as games like Tigris, San Juan, or El Grande. It's very people oriented, it has a fantastic and clear metaphor, play moves quickly, it's easy to formulate short term and long term goals, skill clearly matters (experts will definitely win over slightly less expert players pretty consistenly), but there's enough noise that new players don't get discouraged. Yes, from an academic perspective it's not as rich as some of the other German style games, but so what? Much as I wish those were more popular, they're not, and they're not to get more popular through MetaFilter and BoardGameGeek love-ins.

Besides, it's cooler if people stick to Settlers. We all know nothing is any good if other people like it.

PS. I also love Carcassone. It's similarly simple and awesome, but somewhat more subject to analysis paralysis.
posted by heresiarch at 9:48 PM on July 8, 2006

Settlers is great. We used to play it like madmen in college; then my wife's law school friends all got hooked. I pulled it out last Christmas and taught my family to play, and they went nuts about it.
posted by tingley at 10:49 PM on July 8, 2006

My favorite Settlers shirt.

Actually, I prefer the license plate frame, but I can't seem to find it at Meeple People anymore...
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:16 AM on July 9, 2006

The latest Catan game from Teuber is Elasund which has garnered some praise as the best Settlers-ish game yet. I'll be buying it as soon as I have the money...

I may be one of the few who liked the prequel, Candamir: the First Settlers, which I bought in German, in which you run around the countryside dodging bears and wolves helping to build a single village. So far no sign of a Settlers game that details the building of a single road.

Personally I don't enjoy the actual original Settlers with or without expansions. But I'm not a fan of trading games.
posted by fleacircus at 3:55 AM on July 9, 2006

I miss our weekly Settlers Night at the office.

I've never played Starfarers (and nobody else I know really got into it as much as settlers) or Cities & Knights, but the original game, 6-player expansion, and Seafarers are all awesome. :)
posted by Foosnark at 11:27 AM on July 9, 2006

I guess I'm the only one who thinks Settlers is duller than month old dishwater. It's Monopoly meets Fish meets the Flanders.

"Got any wood?"
"Oh. Erm, I guess I'll build a road then."
"Alrighty then, neighborino."

Somebody should make a board game of Warcraft II.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:50 PM on July 9, 2006

Warcraft, the Boardgame

World of Warcraft, the Boardgame

I've played neither, but I know some people who have played the latter and it's actually pretty good. If nothing else, Fantasy Flight makes very nice looking games.
posted by mkultra at 8:18 AM on July 10, 2006

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