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Settlers of Catan Review – Best Family Board Game

When deciding to do a Settlers of Catan review I thought back to family game nights when I was a kid. We would have family game night where my mom, dad, sister, and I would play games like Monopoly, Payday, or Trivial Pursuit. It was loads of fun, and made some of the best memories of spending time with my family.

When my wife and I had our first child I actually remember thinking “I can’t wait until she is old enough for us to have family game night.” I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the subconscious reason for having a second kid three years later. That’s when it hit me that a truly great game can’t just be in a gamer niche. It needs to make it to family game nights everywhere.

My eldest daughter is now seven 7 and while we call it “family game night” we really should just say “Settlers of Catan” night because that’s all we’ve been playing.

Settlers of Catan details

The Settlers of Catan was invented in 1995 so it’s a relatively new game as far as board games go. The game consists of trading and obtaining resources to build and expand settlements which in turn earn the player points. Once a player amasses a certain amount of points, they win.

The game is played on a board that represents the fictional island of Catan. The board is made up of 19 hexagonal tiles which are 3.25 inches (79 mm) in length, so it can be played on a coffee table. The game is very easy to learn and the instructions are very clear. You are able to reconfigure the game board tiles for each game, so while it’s easy to learn, every game has a different starting setup.

This gives the game a lot of replay value and forces you to adjust strategies from game to game. Aside from the tiles and dice all the pieces are made of wood and not plastic which give it a feel of quality.

Trading is an well executed game mechanic

Trading with other players really makes “Settlers of Catan” game-play special. The way it’s executed makes it one of the best board games. It creates a social atmosphere and keeps everyone engaged when it’s not their turn. The game mechanics make trading mutually beneficial. This pushes players to interact. The game focuses more on advancing your own position.

While the players are competing with one another to achieve the same goal there are very few game mechanics where one person profits from another’s loss. This is unlike games like Monopoly where players inflict misery on one another for 5 hours until one player is elated and everyone else hates them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can hurt your opponents, but losing a game of Catan is only slightly less fun then winning one. This holds true for even for the poorest of sports. Catan only takes about 45 minutes to play. That’s perfect for keeping kids engaged. There has not been an instance where we didn’t finish a game due to time.

How many people can play?

The Settlers of Catan is for 4 players but they do bundle it with a 2 player expansion in the Settlers Of Catan 4th Edition Bundle. It’s recommended for ages 10 and up, but while challenging for my 7 year old, she can keep up. It’s her favorite game despite only ever winning 1 time. (We take board games seriously in our family.)  I know this is a Settlers of Catan review,  but if you have children that are a bit younger, but still want to play “Settlers of Catan” you can get take a look at “Catan Jr.”

My second child is 4 years old, and we break out “Catan Jr.” when she is up for a little Catan. I plan on doing a full review of that soon. Currently both my kids are so hooked on this game that you can hear them singing “Do you want to play Ca-taaaan” to the tune of Disney’s Frozen “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” on game night.

Fun for the whole family

While I say this is one of the best board games for a family, I wouldn’t pigeon hole it as just a family game. “Settlers of Catan” would also be enjoyable to a group of teenagers hanging out at their friend’s house on a rainy afternoon. Well, nerdy teenagers that would enjoy playing a board game anyway. If you have more than 4 people that want to play, they make a player expansion to allow 6 people to play.

If you are going to introduce this or any game into family game night I recommend reading the directions and knowing how to play before the actual time to play. It took me a while to learn this but nothing bores a kid more than dad fumbling with the pieces giving three contradictory interpretations on what the directions say to do next.

If there is something I missed in my Settlers of Catan Review or have any questions about the game that I didn’t cover, please ask in the comments and I’ll respond as soon as I see it. Have fun playing Catan!

Disclosure: The Settlers of Catan Review above contains links to purchase from Amazon. Any review where we find the product to be of excellent quality will typically contain these links. If after reading the Settlers of Catan review you decide to purchase the game, please do it through our site. If you do Amazon will pay us a few cents on the dollar which we use to support this site and the content found on it.  We only do this for products we love so take comfort that you will get a quality game.  Whether you decide to purchase or not thanks you for visiting our site and reading this Settlers of Catan review.

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