Tribal Games Reviews - Catan

Posted by Samuel Pons on

A Tribal Games Review of Catan


Trade. Build. Settle. Everything in the world of Catan revolves around those key aspects and how you manage them against your opponents.Collect and trade for various resources, then build settlements, roads, and cities until you dominate the world.

Reviewer's Note:

Catan is THE monopoly replacement that families are gravitating towards right now. Boasting a simple set up and a comprehensive rule book, this game is designed for family and friend fun. Having personally played the base game a number of times, I can comfortably say that even the least experienced board game players will take quickly to this game and continue to enjoy it through many plays through. 

Having played this game with a number of different demographics, I can suggest Catan for younger or older groups of friends who are looking for a simple game with a competitive edge. Overall Catan is fantastic for games night, holidays, or as a casual option. 

How to Play:

To begin the game, the map is created by placing the landscape tiles in the specified pattern, each of these tiles will then receive a number from 2-12. These tiles represent the different resources players can gather throughout the game. Once the map has been set, players will place their beginning settlements connecting to 2 or 3 landscape tiles (this stage is important as it determines what resources a player will be able to access). 
Once the game has begun, each player will take their turn as follows:

  • Roll the dice
    The player rolls to dice to determine what resource will be handed out this round. The total number on the dice will match with one of the tiles and any players connected to those tiles by their settlements will receive resources based on the represented landscape.
  •  Trade
    On their turn, players may suggest trades to other players in order to gain certain resources. Players may trade as many resources as they want on their turn. Players can also choose to trade 4 of a resource to receive 1 of another resource from the bank, meaning a player will always eventually be able to collect a resource they need.
  • Build/Purchase
    Once players have enough of specific resources, they will be able to build settlements, cities and roads or they can choose to purchase a card. Building settlements provides players with more locations to gain resources from and also helps them build victory points.

The game ends once a player reaches 10 victory points on their turn. Victory points are awarded through having settlements, cities, rewards, and VP cards.


9 resources out of 10

  • Replayability - 8/10
    The nature of Catan player driven gameplay, in that the flow of the game is based on how players chose to trade and build. Player driven gameplay makes a game extremely replayable as different strategies are constantly being tried, tested, and changed with each play through of the game. Catan also benefits from a tile based system, which means that players can set up the game in a variety of different ways, changing gameplay and preventing stagnation.
  • Thematic - 9/10
    Catan creates the theme of trading, building, and settling through its gameplay elements, art style, and mechanics. Many player driven games lack the immersive edge seen in highly thematic games, however Catan is capable of maintaining this by making the theme player driven.
  • Fun Times - 10/10
    A game with such a variety of gameplay options that can be experienced by hugely distinct groups of players is such a great way to connect to families and friends. The simple set up and the easy methods to change gameplay make this a fantastic option for any group of families or friends.

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