Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Settlers of the Living Room

There's a fantastic article up on about my favorite board game (and one of my favorite games, period) - Settlers of Catan - and its creator Klaus Teuber, and how it is on track to be the "Monopoly Killer", aka the next great board game. It's fairly long, but for the uninitiated, is an awesome discussion of why the game is brilliant, and a celebration of the game for those who already know and love it. Here's one blurb that summarizes why this game, and many German games in its category, are so incredible:
Part of the reason we don't play much Risk and Monopoly as adults is that those are actually poorly designed games...'Monopoly has you grinding your opponents into dust. It's a very negative experience. It's all about cackling when your opponent lands on your space and you get to take all their money.' Monopoly, in fact, is a classic example of what economists call a zero-sum game. For me to gain $100, you have to lose $100. For me to win, you have to be bankrupt. Gouging and exploiting may be perfect for humiliating your siblings, but they're not so great for relaxing with friends...

"Instead of direct conflict, German-style games tend to let players win without having to undercut or destroy their friends. This keeps the game fun, even for those who eventually fall behind. Designed with busy parents in mind, German games also tend to be fast, requiring anywhere from 15 minutes to a little more than an hour to complete. They are balanced, preventing one person from running away with the game while the others painfully play out their eventual defeat.

Check out the full article here, and call me if you want in on a game (2-4 players, 6 or more with various expansion packs)!


LoquaciousMuse said...


My brother had all these friends over to play this game when I was in LA and I was like "What the hell is Settlers of Catan? Is it like Risk?" and he kind of laughed at me. NOW IT'S EVERYWHERE. LET'S PLAY!