Settlers of Catan was developed in 1995 and has become one of the most popular board games in the world, with an estimated 15 million copies sold. While I realise it has been around for quite a while, I finally took the plunge and bought a copy at rAge last year.
In Settlers of Catan, players take up the role of settlers on the island of Catan. Each player attempts to build settlements and cities, while earning and trading resources. The island board is made up of hexagon tiles of resource types – sheep, wheat, brick, stone and wood. Each tile is assigned a number between 2 and 12 according to a set pattern.
On each turn, the dice is rolled and any player with a settlement or city adjacent to a tile with the rolled number, is given that resource. Players can buy roads, settlements or cities with earned resources; trading and bartering with other players for scarce resources becomes essential to winning.
You can also purchase development cards, which gives you Knights or additional resources. Building cities, settlements, owning the longest road or the largest army gives you Victory points. The first player to 10 points wins the game.
Overall, I enjoy this game because while it can easily picked up by first-time players, it requires significant time to master: it requires almost an equal focus on strategy and your ability to barter and negotiate with other players. It is a great way to spend a lazy Sunday evening.
Gameplay: 3-4 players (up to 6 players if you buy the expansion)
Time: 2 to 3 hours
Cost: R495 (Exclusive books, http://www.boardgames.co.za)
Pros: Sociable, replay-ability, focus on strategy
Overall Score: 9/10