Catan – Family Boardgame Review

Catan is also known by its full name of Settlers of Catan, or even just Settlers – here is our review of this family boardgame.

AD|GiftedWe were kindly gifted the Catan boardgame for review purposes. (This post may contain affiliate links if you chose to buy anything through these link I will receive a teensy commission, at no extra cost to you. Click here for my full disclosure policy).

A few years ago we were staying in a gorgeous old rambling stone house in a miniscule French village near Versailles. The family who owned the house had swapped with us and seemed to be enjoying their holiday in our own less stately home back in Ireland. Because we had plenty of room, the home owners agreed for my sister and her family to join us for a few nights and this was when we were introduced to Catan.

Every night after the kids were tucked up in their beds we would play this game, spending a couple of hours annihilating one another whist enjoying a bottle or three of cheap French red wine.

The ancient and convivial setting could be some of the reasons why Catan remains one of our favourite games. We never owned our own version of the game until recently, when I was kindly sent one for review purposes on my blog and now it’s a favourite with our tweens and teens too.

How to play Catan

This is a game based on trading resources in order to build settlements, roads and ports as well as accrue an army. The aim of the game is to be the first person to score 10 points through trading and building.

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Brand new contents
sample of the contents, various cards and tokens Settlers of catan boardgame review
Various components of the game

The game is laid out in a hexagonal shape, using hexagonal tiles, to create the Island of Catan. Because the tiles are not fused as a solid board, each time you play the game, the cards are layed out randomly and the set-up looks different to the previous game, which means that the outcomes are limitless.

game at play Settlers of catan boardgame review
Game placed out (in this image the kids placed the tiles without reading the correct order as recommended by the rules).

With each throw of the dice, it is decided whether you can collect various resources depending on where you have built your towns and cities. If it’s your turn to throw the dice, you get to choose who you’d like to trade with. But you need to beware, you never know when an opponent could block your route or monopolise a commodity, and in addition there’s a wily robber who could strike at any moment!

game at play Settlers of catan boardgame review
Catan in play

Our Verdict

As I mentioned this is one of our family’s favourite games. We enjoy that it takes a good length of time to play which means that you can make an evening of it. It’s a game that is conducive to a social night in with another couple or is ideal for filling a rainy afternoon.

Catan requires a level of luck as well as skill, the way you set up your first settlements is key to your success in the game.

We enjoy the trading element of the game, depending on what you need to build, you need to accumulate combinations of wood, stone, brick, wheat or sheep/wool. The trading can become either hilarious or vicious, depending on who plays!

I love the illustrations, the pictures are filled with beautiful detail.

This would make an ideal family gift for a family with children aged 10 and up.

contents packed neatly Settlers of catan boardgame review
Box repacked

Catan Game Specs

The rule book or almanac is comprehensive and comes with a summarised Game Overview for quick reference, instructions on how to play a beginners set-up as well as one for more experienced players.

Alternatively, you can scan the code on the box and learn how to play the game without reading any rules!

  • Catan is suitable for 3- 4 players
  • Ages 10+
  • The game takes approximately an hour to play but can take up to two hours

The game is robust and feels well made, it all fits into a compact and strong box.

Explore Catan Further

The base game is for maximum of four players but additional add-on sets can be purchased to extend Catan by two more players. These sets include:

  1. Catan: Seafarers
  2. Catan: Explores and Pirate
  3. Catan: Cities and Knights
  4. Catan: Traders and Barbarians

Catan for Rivals is a two player version and Catan Junior is designed for the 6-10 year old age group. Catan can also be played online at catanuniverse.com

Buying your own game of Catan

You can buy your own version of Catan here.

Find out more about the game on the Catan website.

Catan Box cover

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