Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#526 THE SETTLERS OF CATAN with SEAFARERS and 5-6 PLAYERS EXPANSIONS (1995 and 1997)


I have neglected a little bit the board games in this blog. There is one main reason for this, and is that my blog very very rarely talks about toys made after 1995, and board games made before 1995 are not especially good... The best "Euro" board games are the newest ones; each time, board game designers are making better and better games or updating old ones. If you have a big game collection at home, you usually only play the newest ones, while the oldest ones are just catching dust in some shelves or have been moved to the attic.

The Settlers of Catan is one of those exceptions, that has been now played for over 20 years, and it is being released and sold year after year. There is many chances that, if you like board games, you have played this one.

The game simulates the management of villages on an island. Each village produces different goods: clay, stone, sheep, wheat or wood. With this goods, you can upgrade the villages to cities, build new villages or roads, or buy special cards that brings you special advantages. Personally, I don´t like the game much. Due to the game mechanism, it is easy to predict who will win after just a few rounds, sometimes just after the initial placement of villages. If you leave apart this small detail, most people have a lot of fun with this game, since the goods can be traded anytime and there´s a lot of interaction.


I have one of the earliest german editions of the game, the first one didn't have the "Spiel des Jahres" logo on the cover, but son afterwards, the box was changed to improve sales. It is a game that can be very easily found on flea markets and I have bought it a few times, although earlier versions are more scarce, and more difficult to find. The first box is the basis game, and is still unused. The first editions had pieces made of wood, and the box inlay is made of carboard. Later editions included plastic pieces and the interior was improved to host all components more efficiently.



The game is for 3 or 4 players, which is a bit of a limitation for this game (and for any game in general), so the author Klaus Teuber expanded the game with a few more tiles and pieces for a fifth and sixth player. I also own this expansion and it is also unused.

There are dozens of expansions more for this game. The first one of these was released two years later and is called "Seafarers". The expansion consist of new tiles (many of them water tiles) so you can form some kind of ocean with smaller islands and ships, that are actually like roads but built over water.




The expansion does not add much to the game, but makes everything a little more challenging: if you are block by ground, you can always try to sail to a near island to settle and produce more goods.
The box I own is again a very old version, probably the first one, and the game has been played, but is complete and in very nice shape. Again, the ships are made of wood, which in my opinion is much nicer to touch and has a nicer feeling during the game than plastic.




The Seafarers expansion also had a (supra-)expansion for 5 or 6 players, which I also own, but never needed it. It is still closed and it will remain like that for a while.


This is a more modern versión, which is the one I use. Most pieces are made of plastic (villages, cities, roads, thieves)




FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: THE SETTLERS OF CATAN, SEAFARERS, EXPANSIONS FOR 5-6 PLAYERS
  • Alternate Names: DIE SIEDLER VON CATAN (German), SEEFAHRER (German), LOS COLONOS DE CATÁN (Spanish), NAVEGANTES (Spanish)
  • Year:1995 and 1997
  • Company: Kosmos (Germany)
  • Size: approx. 30 x 30 cm (game box)

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