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on December 15, 2015
I have lost many a Sunday afternoon to Settlers. Do you know why I purchased Settlers? Because each of my friends has purchased our own set... we do not want to find ourselves at each others house and wanting to play but not have a board to set up. We have taken turns hosting and every time it has been fun.

It is a game of strategy, in my opinion a slightly more complicated/sophisticated version of Monopoly (although my friends vehemently disagree). Instead of building houses and hotels you build towns and cities, instead of collecting rent, you collect resources, and instead of chance cards you have victory cards... but somehow it seems more fun. There is an element of Chess- because you do have to build roads to tie your cities together, and to do that you have to have foresight and plan ahead.

This is a game of champions- and voted best Table Game by folks who vote on those things- be warned that once you start playing it may become addictive. Be prepared to be suckered into the sport for years to come.

I am reviewing this product in an effort to help other Amazon customers through relaying my experience with the product and providing any insight I garnered. Had I not liked this product, I would state so here in my review. I would really appreciate that if you found my review helpful, that you would please indicate so below by clicking the YES button below.
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on May 9, 2013
Awesome strategy game that's fun for hardcore strategy nerds and and regular board game players alike. The setup and rules look really intimidating to start out with, but the gameplay really boils down to three rules: Roll, trade, buy. A player rolls the dice to see what resources will be distributed, trades resources with other players (or through special rules with the "bank) if desired, and then buys anything he or she wants and can afford. Victory points are given based on items bought, and the first to 10 points wins! The game even comes with a handy cheat-sheet for every player to know what each item costs and how many victory points it's worth. The simple rules make it easy for just about anyone to break into playing.

Despite the simple rules, a great deal of strategy goes into deciding where you want to place your settlements and cities (that determines which resources you get) and how you want to expand around the map. The map can be shuffled and recreated randomly for each game, making it infinitely playable with different results every time. There is an element of chance in which resources are distributed when, but most of that can be handled with a little foresight and planning.

After a single game, Settlers of Catan became a favorite of our gaming group and we play it pretty regularly.
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on December 29, 2015
One of the best board games out there. Very repayable as the game board changes each time you play. This is my wife and I's favorite game, and is always the first game we play when friends visit. The game involves strategy, but there is a lot of luck involved as well. I'd say 50% strategy and 50% luck. Sometimes your numbers are just not rolled!
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on January 3, 2014
Our son is home from college and teaching us the game for a family time. I must say, takes a couple games to learn, about 5 games to really get in the swing of things, and then the fun really begins. An easy concept with strategy, tactics, and the luck of the roll of the die. We have had a blast playing this game for 3-4 people where you are the first to build settlements, cities, and gain resources to gather the 10 points to win. Yes it is online, but this is fun face to face.
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on September 4, 2013
Anyone with any contact with board gaming culture has heard, by now, that we are in the midst of a Golden Age of board games. You may have heard this second-hand by now, or even via a New York Times style piece. And if you've heard that, you've also probably heard that this game is where the renaissance started. All this is basically true.

Despite it's towering role in the recent history of the hobby, among serious gamers, it's fashionable to proclaim Settlers of Catan to be overrated, or a fun but shallow offering. Also, among American gamers, there is a rising contempt for the occasionally anodyne themes of Eurogames, and Settlers is practically synonymous with the style.

Nevertheless, I feel that all these criticisms are misguided, and Settlers of Catan is a once-a-generation classic for a reason. For a number of reasons, actually, which I will outline for you here:

1. Balance

Settlers of Catan is shockingly balanced for a game that relies so heavily on dice. The secret sauce of Catan - and this is going to come up again - is the social dimension. In any game of four players, the ability to gang up on a leader ends up flattening out a lot of the randomness.

By the way, and this is a quick aside, Settlers of Catan should be played with four players. Fewer players throws off the balance and flow a little, and two is barely tenable. I've played with five and six players via the expansion, and it does as good a job as it could, but the truth is that four-player Catan is the way to go.

2. Accessibility

Part of the appeal of Eurogames is that they are designed for a more family-oriented market. Settlers of Catan has extremely simple rules that can be explained to a child, or a tipsy uncle. There are no adult or controversial themes that could alienate any audience I can think of (dice haters?). Nobody is eliminated, and the balancing that comes with the social dimension can keep the race interesting until the final turn. Games are of a manageable length, and they don't interfere with more casual conversations between players and non-players.

3. Depth

I flatly disagree that Settlers is a shallow game. It is true that it's simple, but complexity and depth are not the same things at all. Despite this great simplicity, there are several different paths to winning the game, with a variety of overlapping strategies. Play benefits from careful planning, but requires constant adaptation. And again, the social element adds as many layers as you and your fellow players bring to the game.

4. Fun

I've had a hard time finding a game that provokes the same kind of experience in players, hardcore or casual, young or old, whatever. The fact that it remains a horse race till the end, and so much of the game is trading and interacting, keeps it totally engaging for the duration. It succeeds at the rare accomplishment of actually facilitating human interaction between players. Very few of even the most lauded games in the hobby are able to promote the same kind of fun socializing, unless we're talking about actual party games (a genre which is probably underrated by many serious gamers, anyway).

All that being said...

Put together, these are the ingredients of a true classic. You could play it with parents and children at Thanksgiving, in a college dorm room, in the lunchroom in the right kind of corporate be honest, I've seen it played in all these places and more. You can learn it as a child and still enjoy it as an adult. It's balanced, nuanced, and painstakingly designed to be fun for everyone in the universe. It's a goddamn work of art, so bow down to Settlers of Catan!

As for the rest of the usual stuff: attractive, durable and simple components. Very Euro. It can be tricky to get everything back in the tray after unboxing, but when isn't it? The rules could be organized a little better, but if you look for it, you can derive an unambiguous ruling for pretty much whatever happens. Only once did we have to resolve a debate by consulting the online consensus (I forget what it was about, but I think I was wrong).

Any game collection is incomplete with it. For casual gamers, it should be a go-to for board game situations. For more devoted hobbyists, it simply needs to be studied and appreciated, and dusted off when you need to remember how good it is. It's the closest thing we've seen to chess in quite some time (I'm going to avoid hyperbole by refraining from specifying a time period, here).
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on March 17, 2014
This game has always intrigued me since it started to rise in popularity several years ago. I always wanted to give it a try but could never be bothered to make the $35 investment. My fiancee and I ended up trying the game with some friends recently and I ended up buying it a week later.

The gameplay is pretty much what I expected - that is to say, a great blend of strategy and resource management. I love that the board is randomly generated giving each game a unique scenario. I'm sure others have covered gameplay, so I really wanted to talk about the quality of the product.

The game comes packed neatly with several carboard tablets containing the game tiles. You have to go through and punch out all the pieces which can be a pain when the printed side snags and pulls away slightly. On the other hand the quality of the printing and punch cuts is great. Everything is lined up perfectly. The game pieces are made of stained wood which is a nice touch. Finally the instruction manual/almanac/stategy guide is well-organized and printed in a large format for easy reference. Overall I am very happy with the quality of the game materials.

I would recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the strategy genre, or just wants to play a complex and interesting game.
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on November 24, 2015
One of the best board games I've ever played. I love games like Puerto Rico and Ticket to Ride but those games can lose some replay value over time as people begin to develop certain strategies and the game can become a bit predictable. Settlers of Catan is a different beast entirely. Since the game changes every time you play no two games are ever the same. You can play dozens of games with the same people but the experience is always different. A must have for any board game addict's collection.
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on August 4, 2014
Love this game! Played this at a friend's house and just had to purchase it. Was worried it might be too boring or too complex for my five year old but she loves it. She's came up with her own strategy of taking the longest road and largest army and actually wins more than the other family members. The game says for ages 10 and up but my five year old plays it really well since we keep our development cards facing up instead of down. She can't read so it wouldn't be fair for the player helping her with those cards to know what she has without everyone else knowing. It doesn't seem to really affect the game play by doing that way. My teenager also loves this game. Love the ease of mixing the game up so it never gets old. My family loves it so much that we already purchased the 5-6 player extension for when we have guests over because it's such a hoot! Planning on purchasing a themed expansion for each Christmas until we've collected them all. Well worth the price considering all the garbage board games out there that are close to $30 or more.
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on December 4, 2013
This is seriously one of the best board games I have ever played. It is one of the few that is both truly easy to teach a group and great to play in one. There is a considerable amount of luck involved, so even good players may find themselves in tough situations based on random rolls of the dice or luck of the draw. That may put some off, but for me it keeps the game very interesting as you can lose even to "novice" players.

The gameboard is unique in that it changes from game to game. No game of Settlers is ever exactly the same due to this randomization. Each time you play it, it's like a whole new world to settle. My family has played this dozens of times, and it was easy for my kids to pick up even at 8 years old. Still our household favorite.

If you've never tried Settlers, buy this with confidence. If you like board games and playing with people, you will love this game!
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on January 9, 2014
Got this game recently to play with the family (all adults), and we very much enjoy it. It's a fun strategy game that is partially based on skill, and partially based on luck (luck as in what number is rolled with 2 die, so really probabilities but mostly luck within a single game). This version can only be played with 3 or 4 people, so it's definitely not a party game or a game just for 2. There is however, a 5-6 player expansion pack (which we also have), which makes the board bigger and allows for up to 6 people to play. You could also play as teams, so a lot of people could end up playing it that way. You could say it's similar in theory to monopoly (you buy houses & cities), but it's much quicker once you understand the rules. Each games lasts ~60 minutes for 4 people, or about 90 minutes for 6 people. I'm looking forward to getting other varieties of this game in the future.
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