Top positive review
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Simply a Great Game
on September 14, 2012
I imagine my 5-star review will just be a drop in the bucket here, but we love this game so much I still feel compelled to share.
We were introduced to this game about 2 years ago and have owned our own set for nearly the same amount of time. I can only reference our experience, so here are a few things that might help put my review in context: we are in our late 20s; our idea of a fun evening involves friends, food, and a good board game or movie; we often spend the evening playing a board game without company over.
The first night we played this game with our friends we ended up talking them into playing 3 rounds, it was very fun and immediately had us hooked. The game is straight forward with just enough complexity to keep things interesting. Set up takes about 5-10 minutes and gets easier once you're familiar with the rules, etc. Playing a full game (with 4 players) takes around 45 minutes to an hour. We all have a tendency to haggle for a while at the end of turns, so you might get through games more quickly.
All of the components of the game are durable, but we're careful with things and your mileage may vary. Our board fits together flat, but our friends own a board that ends up not being able to lock together perfectly. It doesn't interfere with playing the game, but I think it's worth noting that the fit of the board varies from box to box. Wood pieces are a pleasant surprise given the shift to plastic in our other childhood favorites.
We've played with the 5-6 player expansion on two occasions (both times with 6 players). This makes the game a bit longer and requires some revision to normal strategy. We enjoyed playing with 6 just as much as we enjoy playing with 4. The big difference is playing with 2 rather than 4. We tend to get kind of isolationist when it's just the two of us and that can make the game a little slower and less cordial, but we still play quite frequently (so it isn't that bad!).
4 may be the optimal number. But if you have good conversation and snacks, playing with 6 seems like a great option to have. At the time that we purchased it the combo pack was nearly the same price as the base game, so it was kind of an easy decision for us. If we hadn't purchased them together, I think we would have eventually purchased the expansion (even at full retail).
We've been playing this game pretty often for almost two years and the shine hasn't worn off. We always talk about inventing house rules or using some of the blank (replacement) pieces to spice the game up, but we just end up playing the game according to the standard set up and rules. It's a great time every time.
We plan to introduce our children to the game once we have some, but since we don't presently I cannot comment on the game in that regard. We did introduce the game to friends who aren't big board gamers with great results. After playing Settlers for one evening at our place they went out and bought their own (mentioned above). That isn't to say that everyone will love Settlers or that there is anything wrong with not liking it, but in our circle of friends it's 5-stars all around.