Most helpful positive review
102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
A solid children's version of this board game classic.
on June 2, 2012
Unlike like other "kid's" versions of popular adult games, Catan Junior remains very true to the game play of the original, while removing and modifying many of the more complex rules of the original. The rules book is very well laid out and easy to walk through with a child, and there are enough chips and resources that need to be put out at setup to keep their hands busy while you read the rules. Game play goes smoothly due to the limited decisions you can make but rarely feels like you don't have options.
The largest differences are found in resource gathering, trading, and road/city (in this case ship/lair) placement. Resources have a fixed die value on the card instead of being determined by a separate chip being placed on the island, trading is done with a marketplace instead of other players, and you only need one ship/road segment between your city/lair. These small changes make the game much easier for kids to grasp.
It plays well as a 2 player game due to the separate board format for 2 player games vs. 3 or 4 players. The board layout is fixed instead of being tiles you place.
The reason I gave this game 4 instead of five stars is because the rules are simple enough for a 6 year old to understand, but you really need to pack your patience because most kids will get overwhelmed with all the pieces and new rules compared to other games they may have played. It's worth it when they grasp everything, but don't expect them to get it right away.
TL;DR - simplifies game play of the original without dumbing it down or putting it on rails. Children will be able to learn how to play the game, but be patient while you're teaching them.