The Settlers of Catan – Or simply Catan – Game Review

Klaus Teuber’s famous board game “The Settlers of Catan” was first released in 1995 and has since sold more than 22 million copies in 30 languages around the globe. As tabletop games go, that is insanity, so why read this review, just go buy it if you don’t own it already, of course you will miss out on New Zealand Sheep sex innuendo, so it’s totally up to you.

We are reviewing the newest version of the game (5th Edition), which is now simply titled “Catan”. It has a new look and – most importantly – a revised rulebook, which clarifies a few rules. They’ve also got the cross branding right with all the expansions matching in aesthetic and all artwork done by the same artist.

Right, enough waffle, let’s get on with this.

Setup & Gameplay
Game setup and gameplay for “Catan” is simple and there are slightly varied rules for beginners. Generally though you assemble the playing area by placing the 19 terrain hexes on the table within the frame pieces and place the circle number tokens on top of the designated terrain hexes. Each player selects a color and is given their playing pieces (roads, settlement, cities) and the building cost card. That’s the setup.

The Settlers of Catan game reviews by Australian tabletop news and reviews site GameapaloozaCatan.. the game for ‘our’ generation. Not sure which generation that’s referring to.

We won’t go into every rule, you know we hate that here at Gameapalooza, what’s important is the gameplay, is it fun, yes, is it easy, sure, is it deep, can be. Each player starts by placing a settlement and road on the game world (top tip, place them between commonly rolled numbers). Play continues with players building up their area control and thus building up their resources.
Other things come into play, such as the robber, who moves on the roll of a 7 (yes the most common roll). Gamer Wil Wheaton once stated “The robber is a dick” (he steals resources) and that’s true, unless you are the robber. Play continues with players not only collecting resources from the play area by rolling, but also from trade with other players or maritime trade. Who wins the game? The first person to accrue ten victory points. If ever you hear gamers making jokes about trading or getting wood for sheep, that’s not some New Zealand joke, it’s from this game, where that is a distinct possibility, or ore for wheat, or wheat for a sheep or bricks for clay.

So is it fun trying to accrue those points? Hell yes. 22 million gamers can’t be wrong, “Catan” is a must own game. It’s great for beginners and veteran gamers alike, there’s really not a lot to dislike here. The rules aren’t taxing, the gameplay is fun and although it isn’t soaked in theme, the trading is works well and can lead to some amusing banter.

Overall “Catan” may be considered an ‘older’ game these days, but like “Carcassonne” it is a veritable classic and pretty much the rest of this overall section can be taken directly from our “Carcassone Review“. Should you have it in your collection? Of course, will you pull it out every games day, no probably not. The gameplay experience is fun, lightweight resource management / hand management and trading. As mentioned there are a ton of expansions available, meaning you’ll be playing this one for years to come. It may be fairly basic, but it’s a must have game and a great game for gamers new to the board gaming hobby.

Wil Wheaton said it best when he referred to Catan as an “Infection Vector” game, that is a game that is simple to play and will hook new non gamers.

Game Build Quality
The build quality on the new “Catan” is great. We really like the mat textured box, it’s got that sort of old school feel, likewise with the wooden playing pieces, they’re sort of, rough, not all smooth and glossy and we like that. The tiles and tokens are good quality and sturdy, whilst the cards too are good stock (though we found it odd they came in a regular deck flip box, within the game box). Overall, great quality.

Gameapalooza House Rules
None, it works well just the way it is.

3-4 Players
Ages: 10+
Setup Time: Less than 5 minutes
Play Time: 60 – 120 minutes

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – A great resource management and trading game, “Catan” is a must own title. It’s been around for years and was just redone this year. It has loads of expansions, meaning you can keep playing and playing. Sure it’s a little light on the depth, but there is some nice strategy to be had. If you’re a board gamer, it would be a travesty not to have a copy of “Catan” in your collection, it’s a classic game.
info] [/author]

You can purchase “Catan” from our sponsor, Aussie game store Gameology.

Gameapalooza Sponsor Gameology for Aussie gamers at


Disclosure: Gameology furnished us with a copy of the game for review. This does not affect the review in any way, other than we were able to bring it to our readers. We thank them for their support.