It seems Catan has always been around. But it turns out that it only appeared in 1995. Well, it’s truly long before The Fight Club, Baby One More Time, or Heroes of Might and Magic III – but after The Silence of the Lambs, Metal Gear Solid, or Nothing Else Matters. And yes, the impact of Catan can be compared to all these listed above.
Its 25th anniversary is quite an event. In these years we have seen lots of expansions and Catan games online, both free and paid. It has spawned a number of clones and even shaped its branch. Now Catan is an undisputable classical title, with a large fanbase and even fanfiction writers. SO, what are we celebrating?
What is Catan?
The game was developed by Klaus Teuber, a formed dental technician who decided to bite the gaming industry – and it seemed to like that. The Catan board game was a huge success, and remains that. Maybe it’s the work of Catan that German board games made their ways outside of the good old Europe and gained worldwide popularity. The original name of the game was The Settlers of Catan; the game is still localized in many countries like The Settlers or The Colonists, without even mentioning Catan.
How to play Catan
The board represents an island being colonized by five groups of settlers. Each of them starts with building settlements and roads closer to the resources the island has. The map is split into hex tiles, and players can use both the tiles (to gather resources) and their borders to build roads.
Generally the first one to reach 10 victory points wins the game. But the game can be played for long, and it can remain unclear until the end who’s going to win. The greatest difference from other hits like Monopoly is that players have to cooperate and join their resources throughout the game, because it’s very hard to win on your own. Communication between players is an essential part of the gameplay, making it both great for family pastime and hardcore nerdish entertainment with advanced diplomatic skills.
Where to Get Catan
If you want a Catan board game, Walmart offers a whole pack of them. The classical game in various editions is available along with extensions and expansions. There are even theme editions like Star Trek, Game of Thrones, or Settlers of America. The gameplay, though a little adjusted sometimes, is still based on the good old Catan from 1995.
As for digital versions, the Settlers of Catan free game is available on Steam. For mobile devices, there are Catan Classic (paid) and Catan Universe (free, but with paid content).