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on August 16, 2008
I'm a big fan of the Settlers of Catan game and its variations. This review is only about the advantages/disadvantages of the travel version.
The original version of Settlers of Catan is quite bulky for taking on vacations and impossible to play in the car or plane. This version is very compact and well made. I love it. I wish the original version had such a nice tray for all the cards which are constantly being drawn and played. That's not to say the travel version couldn't be better.
Some cushy foam or something to put over the pieces to keep them from getting scattered in the box while jostled in luggage would help. Though while actually being played, everything stays in place very well.
I'd also like some kind of collapsing holder that fits in the tray for the tiny pieces, so you could pull it out of the tray cup and lay it flat so big fingers that won't fit in the cup can pick up the pieces.
I regret that they made the tile point values immobile. Though the actual tiles can be easily moved around and held in place (GREAT DESIGN), I'd still like to also be able to rearrange the values. Of course, not having to decide on value placement does speed up the game.
Should people new to the game start with the travel version or the original? That's a toss up. More people might like to take a chance on trying the traveler version just because it's simpler. Also, when we travel we meet new people who are new to the game and it is good to have a simple (okay, it will never be simple like tic-tac-toe, but at least more simple than the original) game to share, because if you don't have a long time to know and play with the people, you don't want to spend a long time teaching a long game. I think anyone getting into this game, though, would soon be sorry not to have the larger, more complete version and its expansion capabilities. If I could only have one, I would definitely prefer the full size game, but I am so glad to have the travel game, too.
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on July 20, 2010
I love playing Settlers so I was a bit disappointed when I saw that the travel version had some minor differences than the full version. The numbers are set permanently into the board and the desert space is stuck in the middle. Other than that, it's nearly the same game.

Since I'm a purist, I decided to hack the game a bit to provide the full experience. I simply did 2 things :

- Put number labels on the little circles that you punch out of the tiles when you first set it up.
- Drill out a hole in the desert tile to fit the posts.

With this, I now have the full settlers experience in a nice travel edition. I included a ball of Blu-Tack/Sticky Putty to stick the tiles to the posts. The pieces are kind of small, so I also have everything separated by color and type and put into little ziploc bags that I fashioned out of those tiny snack size bags you can find at the supermarket. This is a great version of the game, and with a few minor modifications, I can get the full experience.
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on December 30, 2010
Because there's no photo on Amazon showing the game board relative to a person, I had no idea just exactly how small all the pieces would be (though you can do an online search to find a picture), and like many other reviewers mention, everything is VERY miniscule. But of course, you have to remember that this IS a portable edition, and although I didn't exactly purchase this for portability, the miniature design and the plastic pieces with peg-like inserts make it great for that. Unlike the original game in which game board pieces constantly move around during game play, this portable edition keeps things intact and even includes dividers in the box for each resource card.

Purist fans of the original game may not be so fond of some slight changes, however. First off, the board is designed to keep the desert tile in the center ALWAYS. Secondly, the numbers for resource tiles are stuck permanently in place. This is the sort of thing that could make or break the deal for potential buyers.

Personally, I am very pleased with my purchase. I think miniatures are adorable, and this portable edition is tiny and cute! Regarding the alterations from the original game, I used the extra cardboard circles punched out from the resource tiles as number pieces so that those can be randomized as well. Also, even though the desert tile wasn't made to fit on any other space but the center, you can always drill a hole in the middle of the tile, as one reviewer suggested, or you can even just place it on top of another space. It won't *fit* perfectly, but it's not a big deal for me. My only gripe is that for only $10 more, I could've bought the original version, and I feel as though I should have just gone the extra mile and gotten that one instead.
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on November 28, 2012
For the most part, I like the game board that comes with this game: It is faster and easier to set up compared to the full-sized game, and the playing area doesn't get jumbled-up as easily.

However, the designers have gone overboard with shrinking this game: Not only is the board shrunk by about a factor of 3 in every direction, but evertything else has been shrunk too. For example, the playing cards are unnecessarily small -- almost postage-stamp size!

In addition, the 2-for-1-trader pieces are so small (and have such unclear graphics) that (without a magnifying glass and bright light) anybody over the age of 30 will struggle to make sense of which commodity they represent.

If you tried to use this "travel" edition while travelling, you would pretty quickly lose all of these tiny pieces. A better name for this edition would be the "miniature" edition.

A superior travel edition would use this board -- but have full-size cards, full-size game pieces, and clearer/simplified graphics.
review image
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on February 6, 2014
After spending countless hours playing Catan with friends, I bought the portable edition of the game to take camping and on other travels. I'm excited to be able to take it with me. I also bought a replacement deck of cards to go with the portable version, since the portable version's cards are tiny (quite appropriately) but on some occasions I would prefer to go with full-size cards. The only downside to the portable edition (which is not *that* big of a deal) is that the hexes are fixed, which means you can't come up with crazy designs to see how they will affect game play. That's a small sacrifice to make, though, given the size and portability of this edition.
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on February 12, 2016
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this game. It has led to some EPIC family arguments. We've had feuds that have lasted days. But we keep coming back and we keep playing. My kids are 9 and 11, I bet we've been playing this for over a year now. Sometimes, the wounds are too fresh so we'll play something else. But when everyone is in the mood, this game never disappoints! Between this and Risk, our family of 4 can go a VERY long time not speaking to each other while someone is pouting over the outcome. All kidding aside this game is awesome. If you are on the fence about it at all, take the plunge....our family is better for it!
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on October 5, 2015
I have used this portable edition in my classroom. We created a games unit and this was the game that I chose to support Social Studies (lovely ties with economics). I ordered the portable one because the pieces are contained and the students enjoyed using them. I like that I can set up the board ahead of time and then just pull the boards out of the boxes (as I have 5 of these) and they can start playing. I teach 6th graders the game with the starting board. After they get used to the game play, I then have them randomize the hexes. They love it and I love hearing them talking about trading and scarcity.
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on January 4, 2014
This is a faithful reproduction of the full-sized game, with one exception, the numbers are part of the game board so you can't move them around. I'm ok with this as it would create another 25 pieces to deal with if they were separate.

The problem with the portable edition is that there's no way to secure the pieces inside the box. Each piece has it's own place in the plastic tray, but because there's no lid they will get completely scrambled up the moment you flip the box over, or pack it up in your suitcase. The manufacturer ought to include six or seven small plastic or cloth bags to hold the pieces of each color and to ensure they don't fly all over the inside of the box when traveling.
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on May 1, 2014
It's easy to bring it places - I brought mine on a plane trip, so the small size helped with packing.

But the lack of baggies lets everything just jumble around in the box. If you accidentally turn it 90 degrees or upside-down, say goodbye to whatever organization system you had inside the box!

Everything holds in place fairly well except the robber. You can almost pack everything up and continue a game later, except that the robber won't stay in place.

It's size makes it good for trips, but I would still recommend against playing "on the go" like in a car or airport. It's just too easy to lose a small piece.
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on October 25, 2015
Love this little Catan set! My husband and I use it all the time. Its size makes it easy to lug to game nights. The only thing that keeps it from being 5 stars is that (though portable) it doesn't travel well... All the tiny pieces get jumbled up. It has little slots for all the pieces and cards but they aren't fitted enough to hold everything in place when you travel. We added a few rubber bands and some tiny baggies to our set to keep it neat.
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