Even if you aren’t a gamer, chances are you may have at least played Catan. It is simple to play with a decent amount of strategy, making it a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. It is the perfect game for players new to the hobby, casual gamers, and even a classic for more seasoned players to keep coming back to. Catan was first published in Germany in 1995 by Klaus Teuber. By 2015 nearly 20 million copies had been sold in 30 different languages. If you haven’t played the original Catan, I would definitely recommend pulling that off our shelf the next time you are in. On the other hand, if you’re a self-proclaimed Catan expert, perhaps it is time to graduate to one of the many other versions. Here are some of the Catans we have available right now.
Seafarers introduces sailing to the world of Catan. Now, settlers can travel across the sea to build new settlements on nearby islands. This expansion adds several variant setups that include a lot of water tiles in addition to the familiar resource tiles. Each setup includes some new rules and slight variations on game play. Seafarers also adds ships, which are a lot like roads, and a pirate, who acts like the robber. Otherwise, the mechanics are the same, but the win condition will vary for each setup. If you’re looking to add just a little bit to your regular game of Catan, check out this expansion!
Catan: Traders and Barbarians
Like Seafarers, Traders and Barbarians is an expansion that you can use with the base game, but it is slightly different in that it is a compilation of small expansions and variants in one box. It comes with several different scenarios that you can play including The Fishermen of Catan, The Rivers of Catan, The Great Caravan, Barbarian Invasion, and the titular Traders and Barbarians. In addition there are a few minor variants included as well.
Catan: Merchants of Europe
Merchants of Europe is part of the histories series of Catan. This version uses a real-world map of Europe for the board that has been divided into the familiar hexagons of Catan. Players are no longer settlers in a new land, but instead are merchants trying to establish trade routes and deliver their commodities across the continent. In order to do this, players will need to set up trading posts to gather more commodities to sell. There are no victory points in this version, either. Instead, you’ll want to be the first player to deliver all of your commodities. If you are looking for a Catan that is a little more strategy-intensive, definitely check this one out.
This version of Catan was made for the sixtieth anniversary of the merging of three German states into one. For the most part, it is a lot like other versions of Catan with a few differences. For one, the board set in stone so the set-up of the game is always going to be the same. Second, the robber is now an inventor. Why inventors are going around stealing resources from people, I’m not entirely sure, but the Inventor development cards are pretty cool in that each one depicts a different inventor and what their most famous invention is. Another new element is the landmarks. Instead of upgrading your settlements to cities, you can build landmarks. These are actual landmarks found in this region of Germany like Heidelberg Castle.
John and I picked this Catan up in a board game store in Germany. When we brought it up to the register the man gave us an odd look before saying, “this is Baden-Wurttemburg Catan, yes?” Because why would two English-speaking Americans want a German Catan? But we knew what we were doing when we brought it up to the register; a German Catan is the perfect souvenir for two board game nerds.
Catan: Games of Thrones
This is a Catan that I am certainly looking forward to playing, but with the $80 price tag I know I probably won’t be buying it anytime soon. This Catan is set in the world of Game of Thrones at the wall that protects Westeros from the Wildlings of the north. The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are seeking a new leader and if you want to claim that position, you’ll need to use your resources to strengthen the infrastructure of the Gift, the underdeveloped area south of the Wall.
The general idea remains the same as other Catans. You will still be building roads and settlements to be the first to gain ten victory points to win, but this Catan adds an extra element of danger with occasional Wildling attacks. In addition to the roads and settlements, you’ll also need to post guards at the Wall to keep it safe from the attacks. Also, each player will control a member of the Night’s Watch. Each of these characters has a special ability that can be used twice during the game. If you can’t wait for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones to premiere next year, definitely check this game out to get your Westeros fix!