Settling into Catan

Note: I’m going to blog about a series of games I consider to be “gateway” games.  That’s defined as a game that changes the dynamics somewhat between chance and skill,  that is not as mainstream as Risk or Monopoly, but enough people play it that it is more than niche.  I’ve identified 6 games.  Originally this was going to be one post but I’m too lazy to write that much in one spell, so a series it is!

Note 2: If you’ve seen this before, apologies.  It disappeared last night.

Settlers of Catan is probably the best known of the classics.  It is one of the “Holy Trinity,” consisting of itself, Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne.  We’ll get to those in a second.  What makes Catan so immensely cool is that – despite its reputation as a “Eurogame” 1 – it is really more Risk than Chess. Your lives are ruled by the dice. Here’s the scoop: You need to build cities and settlements to win. To build those, you roll the dice. If you (or anyone else) happen to have a city/settlement next to the area which contains the number you rolled, then that city/settlement produces that resource. Obviously, there is some strategy – you need to know odds that you are more likely to get a 6,7, or 8 than a 2 or 12 when rolling 2 dice. So you know which ones are more valuable. But what if you’ve got a lot of iron ore (one type of resource) but no wood? What then? Well, you trade with other players (or seaports, but let’s ignore that dynamic for simplicity sake)
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