Catan card game

I got Settlers of Catan Card Game, so of course I had to try it. Nestori agreed to test it out with me and off we went to Catan. The card game is a two-player version of the board game, necessary because trading really doesn’t work with two. As a consequence, there’s little player-to-player trading in the card game. Trading happens, but with the ports, like in the game: 3-for-1, 2-for-1 in special occasions.

There are many superficial similarities and even more subtle differences. The card game is actually better, or at least more interesting. It’s quite unique as two-player games come, at least I can’t come up with other games like it. Most of the game is building, spending resources to create roads, settlements and cities and then adding extension buildings to improve production, allow for more productive trading and so on — well, it actually is quite like San Juan, come to think of it.

However, the decisions are somewhat different and there’s a different feel to the games. The building possibilities are severely limited (two extension buildings per settlement, four per city and once you build something, it stays there); being good at everything is not an option. It takes specialization and as usual, requirement for specialization creates interesting tension to the building decisions.

It was a fun game, which ended up as my victory. Even though Nestori got the last settlement (the amount of settlements is odd, which I think is a rather nice design touch), I had three mountains producing ore. I won the game by building four cities and then some buildings. Nestori didn’t work hard enough to get points, I think. I’m interested to try the game again, even though it’s length (our game took 70 minutes) is a constraint. I also have the German version of the game, which is rather unpractical. However, I’m working on the translation, so that’ll be remedied.

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4 thoughts on “Catan card game”

  1. My wife and I have played this, once. She prefers co-operative games, or at least games where there’s not such a huge opportunity to deliberately pull the rug out from under your opponent. The one time we played, I played some card on her (I forget what) which hurt her position quite a bit. We stopped playing pretty much right then, and we’ve not played it since. Must find someone else to play it with 🙂

  2. I think you’ll find that the card game is interesting for a few games and then loses its value. There just isn’t enough variation to warrant repeated plays.
    The expansions add quite a bit of variation to the game, but not enough to keep the game viable for the long term. I recommend buying the expansions before the basic game becomes too repetitive.

  3. If co-operative game is wanted, removing Spy, Black Knight, Arsonist and their protection cards should do the trick.
    But yeah — I think San Juan, for example, offers more variation in the building choices, better player range and shorter play time, too.

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