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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 July 24, 2014
I got this for my son, because he loves strategy board games, and he dislikes games that are pure luck (Monopoly, Sorry, etc...).

Catan also has an element of luck, but there is a lot of strategy as well. Here is my opinion:

Pro:
1. Kids can learn the strategies, and enjoy the game.
2. Lots of opportunity for future expansion.
3. Apparently there is a community that plays the game online.

Con:
1. There are many dozens of pieces, and it takes a while to set the game up.
2. If you have an active six-year-old, you will eventually lose a few pieces.
3. On the basic board, the player who rolls first has a huge advantage.
4. If you have to put the game aside (for dinner, or whatever), it can be very hard to move.

Although the company includes a suggested layout for beginners, there is still a huge advantage to which-ever player stakes out their territory first. Although there are some alternate strategies for different layouts, the strategies don't work very well for the default board. We usually play with just three players, and the players who rolls first wins about 80% to 90% of the time.
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on June 2, 2012
A friend of mine had this game, and recommended it to me. I was a bit skeptical because I could not see the "conflict" in the game, which tends to add to a games excitement. My 14 year old daughter set the game up quickly but struggled with the rules. They are a bit complex, but once you actually play through the situations, it actually makes a lot of sense. The rules end with a glossary of rules, which we found very helpful. The game play is fast, entertaining, and friendly. While not a cooperative play game, sometimes it felt that way when you trade resources. It's actually quite surprising how friendly the game is, compared to say, Monopoly where you win by decimating the opponent and putting them into bankruptcy. Not so with this game, everyone is doing well at some point or another, and the winner is the one who does the best, not eliminates the opponents. Nice. We play this quite often and it a great game for middle schoolers and high schoolers. It holds their attention quite well, gets them talking to each other and thinking about trades that are both good for them, and good for their opponents and its really fun. I love this game!
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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 environment...to 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 January 17, 2015
Our family consists of Dad-48; Mom-45; Son-10; College Daughter-19. First heard about this game from the daughter, and now the whole family is hooked. With the age differences of our kids, it has always been more a challenge to find something that will hold everyone's interest that we all enjoy, and this game is definitely in that category. Some luck, lots of skill and planning involved. Lots of interacting (deals, trading with other players). We have played lots of times, and every game has been a little bit different. The game can be a bit of a time investment, but that's why we have family game night! At first I thought it was really pricey, but this game is head and shoulders above most board games. Once you figure out what you're doing, you're hooked.
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on May 25, 2010
I'm a big fan of board games, so much so I'm terrified the huge collection of them in my closet will someday collapse and bury me alive. Settlers of Catan is the game that gets played most in my family. Why? Several reasons:
1. The whole fantasy of settling an island, building roads, ports and cities is fun.
2. It has a perfect mix of strategy and luck.
3. Anyone age eight and up can play and have an almost equal chance of winning. I'll help the kids choose their starting places, but after that, they're on their own--and they do win as often as the adults do.
4. While the instructions seem complicated at first, once you start playing, you discover the rules are actually brilliantly simple.
5. Because you assemble the island before you start, you can make it a different game every time you play.
6. The Seafarer's Expansion makes the game even better.
7. Games are neither too short nor too long.
8. Everyone plays with ever turn, so no one gets bored waiting for his or her turn.

My only quibbles:
1. You can only play the game with 3-4 players, although expansion packs let you play with 5-6.
2. The cardboard pieces have warped over time, although this could be because a young guest accidentally turned ours into her own "seafarer's edition" by spilling water on it. The game isn't cheap, so it's a shame the pieces aren't made of sturdier stuff.
3. We're not crazy about thieves blocking resources, so we've changed that to allow for bribes. Essentially, if you roll a seven or play a knight card, you can choose one card from any player. Resources are only blocked if the other player doesn't agree to fork over the card.

This is the best board game you can buy that the entire family can play without ever a dull moment. Highly recommended.
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on September 3, 2015
If you know what this game is, you're probably buying this for a friend or to replace one that you've worn-out.

If you don't know what this game (or Carcassonne Classic) is, and you want to explore the world of rich, thoughtful, social board games - Settlers of Catan (and Carcassonne) could well be the first two of many, many more board games you purchase in the years to come. Both games are a staples of German-Style (or Euro-Style) board games. They differ from American-styled board games, notably in that they typically require more thought, with a heavier strategic element and rely less on chance or luck.
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on January 15, 2015
I had never heard of this game before my daughter requested it for Christmas. However, after having played it, I was a convert. Like a good muppet movie, this game could be played by a young person in a simple way or enjoyed by adults at a more sophisticated level. The concept of the game is simple but with a fun group you can liven up the game considerably by bartering, bargaining, forming alliances and creating a strategy to win. Unlike games such as Monopoly, the board is cleverly designed and action cards just random enough so that every game is different.
The road and house game pieces are very, very small, so they should be kept well away from: small children, pets, the vacuum cleaner and slits between boards on the picnic table. The board pieces and cards and quite sturdy and plastic-y enough to play in the damp without damage. The box is also quite sturdy, which is nice if you stack your board games like we do.
It's not the cheapest game, but well worth the price.

It should be noted that you need at least 3 but no more than 4 people to play. If you want to play with a few more players, expansion packs are available separately.
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2014
The game is exceptionally good, and much easier to learn than may seem at first to be the case. It's a hit in my family for everyone from my eight-year-old son to some Ivy-League educated grownups. Personally, I like how naturally negotiation and barter works into the gameplay. A few critiques -- the game board is a set of tiles without any sort of backing, so it's impossible to pick the game up and move it, and even a small jostling can ruin the game irretrievably. There are lots of small pieces that are easily lost. Keep this game away from toddlers and pets.
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on October 29, 2013
I have played Settlers of Catan and really enjoyed it as a basic strategy game. It is appropriate for a "family game night" that both kids and adults should be able to play without getting bored. Unfortunately, the manufacturer's quality control isn't ready for prime time.

Really Mayfair Games?!? You are selling a board game that retails for $40+ and you can't be bothered to ensure that all the pieces required to play are in the box? Boooooo.

I was planning on playing with my kids tonight - I guess I'll have to disappoint them.
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