If you've ever been in an urban coffee shop, chances are you've seen some nerdy college students huddled around a table strewn with cards and wooden tokens. It's not Risk and it's not Dungeons & Dragons—these über-geeks are playing Settlers of Catan, though to tell the truth the craze has spread beyond members of the AV club to embrace jocks, church deacons, and superheroes.
The English-language version of Klaus Teuber's acclaimed series is published by Mayfair Games, the same folks who brought you Station Master and Pillars of the Earth. At this point, Catan includes board games, card games, expansions, and accessories, and is one of the best-selling game lines in the world. Over 11 million award-winning Catan products have sold since the game's 1995 debut, and the expansions (which allow you to broaden gameplay or add more players) keep coming and keep selling.
A "Game of the Year" winner in Germany and the U.S., The Settlers of Catan is a stand-alone game for 3-4 players who journey to the unsettled wilds of the unexplored world called Catan. Opponents compete to discover and settle the choicest lands and seaports, gather resources, trade with friends and foes, and build roads and settlements—all in a quest to be master of Catan.
Catan is a little different every time you visit. Tiles are selected and placed on the board randomly, so you'll never have exactly the same configuration and the game doesn't get boring because you can't predict outcomes as easily as in less flexible games. In many ways this is the game that started the fairly recent gaming craze in the U.S., and it remains popular with good reason.
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