How complex is Settlers of Catan? I'm thinking about getting it for my Dad to play with my Mom. He has beginning stages of alzheimer's or something like it. I want something to stimulate his mind - but it can't be too complex or have too much to remember because it will frustrate him too much.
I work at Mayfair Games (the company which publishes Catan) and I would not say the game is complex, however there are several nuances in game mechanics that might be difficult for your father analyze and address effectively. The primary focus of the game is resource management and trade between players. As you play, you collect resources through dice rolls and trading in order to expand roads and place new settlements and cities, so it involves a decent bit of forethought. The game does come with reference cards that list the different resources needed in order to build different things, so that might help him keep track of what he needs to be looking for. Aside from my bias, I would still recommend the game because even if you find it does not work out for your father it is an award-winning game that belongs in everyone's gaming arsenal. I would also recommend looking at some of our other titles, specifically those in the FunFair division of our company because those are much more family-oriented rather than gamer-oriented and have much simpler game mechanics for kids to enjoy.
I hope that answer was adequate, though I know I did not really make much of a decision for you. At least it gives you things to consider.
The game isn't complex at all unless you're playing it for the first time --- as most Euro games tend to take a little bit of getting used to. My suggestion would be to grab one or two people who have played before and have them teach you. Or, read the rules for yourself and just jump into it and have 2 hours set aside to get going.
Also, even though Bob admits he is biased, the game is definitely worth getting from my non-bias, non-Mayfair employee mind. If you play the game a few times, it becomes evident as to why it was game of the year.