Catan: Junior
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
I bought this game to play with my son, who recently turned six. We've quickly become addicted to it! The game has a strong pirate theme and each player competes to build the most pirate lairs. The lairs are connected by cute plastic pirate ships. He did not have much trouble grasping the rules and is very quickly developing his own strategy.

Unlike the normal version of Catan, this one comes with a stationary board. On one side of the board is a layout for a two person game (using the red and blue pirate colors). The other side contains a version for 3 or 4 players. Both options involve five resources: goats, swords (cutlasses), molasses, wood, and gold. The board comes with an attached marketplace where you can trade for resources at a rate of 1:1. This is a nice addition for younger players. The artwork on the board and on the resource tokens is very nice!

My biggest concern is that the resource chips may be too easy to damage as they are all made out of cardboard. I am a little nervous that a spill might ruin the pieces or the kids might draw on them or tear them up. The lairs and ships are made out of plastic and more durable. I also wish that the game came with a better storage option. Inside the box is a black insert that contains two large pockets. This means that all of the player's pieces are mixed up, and all of the resources get mixed up. Setting up a game takes a little longer as you need to sort everything all over again. I will be buying some small baggies to keep things separated, but I wish that the company had thought to include better storage. It may be worthwhile to buy enough wooden resource pieces off of The Game Crafter to replace the cardboard bits, although there aren't any good alternatives to a better Coco card.

The game does come with a very pretty d6. Mine is a lighter, translucent blue with white marbling through it. It's absolutely gorgeous and I would love to have an entire set in this color! It is definitely better than the standard white d6s that come with most games.

Catan Junior is a great introduction to the Catan setup for younger players. I am really looking forward to teaching my son how to play Settlers of Catan, but until then, we are totally rocking the pirate theme. Overall, four stars, due to the lack of durability in the resource tokens. Plastic would have been a better choice for a children's game!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
We were on vacation and the three grandsons were bored! We ordered Catan and they played for days. Thanks for occupying the fellows!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2014
I've been a big fan of the "German-style board games" like Settlers of Catan and Carcassone for quite some time. On a recent shopping trip to find new board games for the family, we picked up Catan Junior. Tonight was our first night playing, but me and the kids (4, 8, and 9) played and they all picked up the rules very quickly (I came in last place). It's only slightly more simple than standard Settlers of Catan and is an excellent introduction to this type of game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a game that has to be played a few times to really get your head around it. It’s not really like any other game I’ve ever played. While it’s simple enough for a five or six year old child to play, there is quite a bit going on in the game and it can take a bit to get a feel for how to play and which strategies to pursue. The game is also strongly influenced by how many people are playing – we have found the more the better.

The board has two different sides depending on how many people are playing – each side has islands in slightly different configurations. Each player starts with two pirate bases and one ship already on the board. Your objective is the be the first to build seven bases. But you can’t just build bases willy-nilly – each base has to be next to one of your ships, which in turn has to be next to one of your bases in alternating fashion. The two starting bases and the starting ship positions are marked on the board for each color.

You build ships and bases by using the resources you gain throughout the play. Each base, for instance, requires one goat, one cutlass, one woodpile and one barrel of molasses. Each ship requires a goat and wood. You collect these resources both on your own turn and on others’ turns. On your turn you roll the dice. Each possible dice roll (except for six) is represented on two or three different islands, along with a picture of one of the five resources (the fifth resource being gold, which is needed for coco tiles, which we’ll get to). You get each resource pictured on an island with your dice roll. Additionally, each other player whose bases touch that island also gets that resource (unless the ghost captain is on that island – confused yet?).

Resources can also be gained by trading with the marketplace, the stockpile or (in advanced games) with other players. Additionally, players may also use their resources (gold, molasses and cutlass) to buy coco tiles, which may allow a player to have a free base or ship, get additional free resources, or move the ghost captain (which gains you two of the resource for that island, and prevents any player whose bases touch that island from getting resources if another player rolls that number). In addition, the player with the most coco tiles gets to put a base on the ghost captain’s island, which counts toward their seven bases – until another player has equal or more coco tiles. Each turn you have to decide the best use of the resources you have – whether to simply pursue bases and ships, or whether to take your chances with the coco tiles.

The rule sheet for this game is three full pages, front and back, which is why the first several games can be very confusing. But once you get the hang of it, it all makes sense and it’s quite an interesting game to play, which also teaches kids some valuable skills as far as assessing different strategies, planning ahead and, in the advanced version, negotiating with others.

Santa brought this game for our six-year-old daughter for Christmas and it’s a game that both she and her eight-year-old sister enjoy playing (along with my husband and me). If anything, now that we’ve gotten our heads around the game a bit, it’s getting somewhat easy and we’ve already been talking about moving on to the Settlers of Catan game.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2013
I bought this game for my nephew's seventh birthday, then we played it together. We both really enjoyed it! He was totally engaged and learned very quickly how to gather the things he needed to build ships and lairs and win. I liked it a lot more than the other games he tends to play - and it would be fun to play with more people, up to four. I try to get him toys/games that require some thought because he is a smart kid and has plenty of mindless toys. This was perfect for that - it requires strategy and thought yet it wasn't so complicated that a seven year old would get frustrated.
Great game!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2013
Big fan of the original game and this is a lot like it but the rules are a little easier, the pace is faster, and being a jerk is more difficult which keeps it light for the kids. My 8 year old daughter loves it so far though we've only played it twice. Looking forward to many more game nights, turning my kids into game nerds like their dear old dad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2013
Our daughter is 5. This game is complex enough to totally intrigue and challenge her, but not so difficult that she can't strategize and plan ahead. It's an unexpected pleasure to watch her plan her ships and lairs, and delight in penalizing her parents' islands, so while we hadn't bought it with 'educational game' in mind it certainly turned out to be a great thinking exercise. She loves it - asks over and over if we can play - and unlike many of her other games, we don't mind saying yes!

Edit to add: a year later, it's still fun, and now a real competition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2013
In my opinion this is the best kids version of an adult game yet. We're a family of gamers: board games, card games, video games, you name it, we love to play. And like a lot of kids, our children see us having game nights with friends and want to play with us, games they aren't quite ready for, and that's why we love Catan Jr. My 5 and 9 yrs old just aren't quite ready for a full blown Catan match, but this one is right on their level...without being boring for the adults playing the game with them!!! Let me stress this. My hubs and I play games all the time with our kids, but so often kids games are just boring to us....especially after the 50th time! But Catan Jr, is literally "fun for the whole family". The kids caught on quickly and really enjoy it. I love that its basically regular Catan with out the risk of hearing "thats not fair" when it comes to trading. This is a very clever simplification, and I think it's prepping the munchkins into being ready to play the grown up version sooner rather than later since they've mastered the basic concepts!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2013
Awesome game! We bought this game to start teaching strategy play to our young son. It's a total hit with him! Hope to teach him Carcassonne after he masters Catan Jr!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2013
This is a very quick game to teach your young ones. I have a 9 yr old and he loves it!
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