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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.
86 people found this helpful
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on November 6, 2014
I ordered this after having played it once. My parents did the same. The gameplay is novel, the game itself attractive, and the learning curve is low. It made an impression.

Three ups:

- The game is fairly durable. We've been teaching my four year old to play and the only damage has been some bending of resource cards. Everything else is wood or thick cardboard.

-The gameplay is simple enough that my four year old is able to play, yet deep enough that neither myself or my wife feel we've mastered it. Between the strategic and diplomatic aspects of the game and the ability to randomize the board, the game plays well time and time again without the feeling of repetition or blandness of some games ("Sorry!" Comes to mind...). In addition, gameplay is fairly short, an hour is our average, and setup is quick. Great for a rainy day.

-It is a handsome game. The level of detail in the hex pieces draws the eye, the resource cards look similar enough that my four year old grasped the relationship intuitively, and the player pieces are elegantly simple.

Three downs:

-The price. At almost double the price of a regular board game, I was uncertain of the value. We love it, and the only problem I have with the price now is that I hesitated for almost two years because of it. I wish I'd bought it sooner.

-The resource cards. They aren't very sturdy compared to all the other pieces. Not even as hardy as good playing cards.

-Two player games leave something to be desired. This is a fairly common problem with boardgames, but I'd like to find something captivating enough to play weekly and not have it age from being played with just me and my wife. This definitely needs three players, and I believe the box states just that.

The take home points: My only regret is not buying it sooner. If you have two people you can play with regularly, this will provide hours of entertainment.
7 people found this helpful
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on January 10, 2015
Many reviews have already dug into the specifics of the game, so I won't repeat them.

This is a fun game for players of all ages. Adults will play with much more strategy, of course. There are different options for strategy: go for longest road, go for biggest army, go for development cards, go for cities, etc. You also have to think about what resources you want to build next to, knowing that which resources you need will change throughout the game.

This is most fun with 4 players, as it makes it the most challenging. Of course, it then can become easy to be cut off from parts of the map, or unable to expand. Technically you can play this game with 2 people, but it's a bit too easy and thus not very exciting. There is a 5-6 player expansion, which makes the board larger.

There are of course many expansions to this game. Seafarers is a blast and is an easy transition, as it makes only minor changes to the game, but really changes the strategies you can use.

Highly recommend this game, especially for people who are not big into board games. (This is often considered the #1 "gateway" game.)
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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 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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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 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 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 December 1, 2010
FUN: This game has provided us endless hours of family fun as we've played this with our three sons ages 12, 9, and 7. We are a TV-free family, so we look for games that have high-repeatability. We also purchased the expansion pack so we can play with up to 4 players.

EDUCATIONAL VALUE: Unlike American-based games that seems to be based on the "obliterate everyone on the board and make them suffer to the bitter end", this game keeps you engaged to the very end. What I like is that fact that there is no one tried-and-true strategy to winning. You have to adapt as the game progresses, which is a great lesson for life. With the trading aspect of the game, one has to look out for their own interest - but as you work to reach your goal you work with others to receive the resources you need while helping them obtain the resources they need. While the goal is to ultimately win at the end, when the end does arrive it's not so much a matter of "I won and you are all losers" vs "While I happened to win, it was fun to play along with you in the process".

DURABLE: I've had problems with the edge pieces slightly cupping, which makes it difficult to keep all the hexagons tightly in place, as they slip underneath. I've been able to mostly overcome this by ensuring the side pieces lay flat in the box during storage, and place two packs of the wooden game pieces on top for a little weight to keep them flat. Also have similar problems with the hexagons, but now store them tightly with a rubber band and no longer have a problem. For the price, it would be desirable if the pieces were made of thicker cardboard/backing board - the kind they used to make the puzzles out of when we were children.

SUMMARY: This game has a high rate of "replayability" since each game has a new random generated playing board, and I believe is equally suited for children to easily learn as it is for adults. Highly recommended.
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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.
One person found this helpful
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