The Settlers of Catan Game OPINION

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The Basics:

  • For ages 7 and up (publisher suggests 10+)
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • About 1 hour to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Hand/Resource Management
  • Trading
  • Worker Placement & Area Control

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Moderate
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • On the small island of Catan, you have been chosen to lead your people in creating a prosperous community!


  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!


The best settlers of catan review game was made by the team from New Real Review. This article is just our thoughts on this Board game. The small island of Catan is rich with natural resources. There is grass for the sheep, mountains for ore, deep forests for wood, hills for clay bricks, and the fertile soil makes for bountiful wheat harvests. You and your people have sailed across the waters to arrive at this small island with plans to make it your new home, but you are not alone. Others have also arrived with plans to settle this land and make use of its riches. The island is not big enough for everyone and resources go quickly with so many now populating this small land. Survival will be based on how well you lead your people, where you build, and how savvy you are at trading with your neighbors. Success is not certain, but the challenge is.

The Settlers of Catan (4th edition), published by Mayfair Games, is comprised of 19 Terrain hexes, 6 Sea frames, 9 Harbor pieces, 18 numbered tokens, 95 Resource cards, 25 Development cards, 4 Building Cost reference cards, 1 Longest Road card, 1 Largest Army card, 16 City pieces (4 of each color), 20 Settlement pieces (5 of each color), 60 Road pieces (15 of each color), 2 six-sided dice, and 1 Robber piece. The Robber, City, Settlement, and Road pieces are made of wood. All other game pieces are made of thick cardboard and very colorful.


There is little need to try this game with my Gamer Geek group. They have played The Settlers of Catan many times and I know where they stand on the game. A few Parent Geeks have also played the game before, making it unnecessary to play more than a game or two to get their level of endorsement. The big mystery is the little geeks. I have held off from playing this game with them, wanting their first experience with a game that many consider a perennial favorite and a classic, to be a positive one. Honestly, it has also been avoided because of all the other new games we have available to us. The Settlers of Catan is considered “old” by now and is only something new to those just now entering into the world of hobby board game playing.

For my little geek, he was already aware of how to play it but had not yet had a chance. This happens often in my household as my little geeks have full access to all the games. They look through the pieces, flip through the rule book, and only bring to me a game they really want to play. The Settlers of Catan certainly provides visual interest, but my little geeks lean towards dice games and fantasy themed games. It was with delight that my oldest brought me The Settlers of Catan and asked to play it. At long last, it would see the table.

The game itself is actually very straight forward in its game play. The complexity comes in selecting the best locations to build settlements to reduces the amount of luck needed to claim resources. This also determines the level of dependency a player will have on their opponents for trades. I made sure my little geek understood these two important points, putting lesser emphasis on resource management. While resource management is a necessary and important part of the game, I find it to be a given and automatically part of the players’ focus of area control and worker placement (building first in the best places possible).

After demoing a few important points to my little geek, I reset the board for our first play. We used the game set up for beginners to make sure a higher level of balance for all players. While I did not give myself a handicap, I did award my little geek 2 Resource cards of his choice in addition to what he already was provided. I wanted him to start big and see how fast his resources were spent, allowing him to start building as soon as possible. While he thought about his two additional resources, I asked him his thoughts on the game so far.

Final Word

My little geek struggled at first in the game. His initial focus was to build like crazy and he made a few mistakes on where to place his settlements. He very quickly learned that The Settlers of Catan requires its players to be dependent on the other players for goods, but not all the time. He started to dominate Wheat and Sheep, and preferred to trade at a 4:1 ratio then trade with me! What a stinker! But this only got him so far and he eventually started to deal with me at the trading table. He came very close to winning several times, but never once was able to claim victory. This he found terribly frustrating and he wanted the game to continue. We did this and played the game to 20 points. There was enough room on the board to do so and he was overjoyed to continue the game session. It speaks rather highly of a game when it is over but the players want to continue playing it.

Parent Geeks looked at The Settlers of Catan as a slightly more intense game to play with friends and family. There is never a lot going on in the game, nor is it a fast-paced experience, except when haggling during trades. The game does demand more time from the players. It is a light game and casual, but with screaming kids in the house running around, Parent Geeks tend to focus more on the faster games. When the stars do align, fun is had by all and there is a great deal of friendly banter as the game progresses. For the record, my wife hates trading with me.

Gamer Geeks have a soft spot for this game, but have stopped playing it. As I mentioned before, it is an older game and is often one of the first stops on the path to Gamer Geek elitness. Once played, it prepares the player for more intense Euro-style games that require much more attention and strategy. For this reason, I found that most Gamer Geeks roll their eyes when I suggest we play The Settlers of Catan. One good friend of mine hates the game with such a passion that I bring it up from time to time just to see his face get red. But his “hate”, according to him, is based more on his level of complete and total disinterest in it. Having played the game many, many times, it is no longer exciting for him. That being said, the game is still is respected, admired for its simplicity, and intelligent design.

About Martin Headen

Martin Headen is a Certified Nursing Assistant through the American Red Cross and CNA Insurance Consultant. More information on certified nursing assistant