Posted by murraychu on July 31st, 2009
Settlers of Catan is an amazing board game. It has been herald as the Monopoly of our era, but I personally feel that even that proclaimation does not do it justice as the design, dynamics and accessibility of the game goes far beyond what Monopoly has. It is the leader of the contemporary board game movement and it is a game that recommend to everyone I know over and over again.
Catan already has made a successful jump into the video game medium with its port to XBox Live Arcade. However, I was eagerly awaiting its appearance on the Nintendo DS because this version would allow me to take the game with me on the road easily. I managed to secure a European copy of Catan DS (you can check out it’s review on kidzworld.com here) and I enjoyed it enough to play through the whole single player campaign once.
Overall, however, I was disappointed. As a frequent player, I’m used to quick games and fast turns. The animations in Catan, which cannot be disabled, made the game drag on endlessly. As well, several design choices, such as the trading mechanism, was made poorly. On the bright side, it was Catan and the AI was fairly challenging (though the dice rolls were not as random as I would like).
It is such a pity, as Catan itself is a brilliant game that came as a result of hours upon hours of playtesting. The DS version of the game works, but barel so. Any amount of playtesting and tweaking would have removed all the little annoyances that bother me. An excellent electronic version of Catan can be played for free on AsoBrain.
Carcassonne DS was announced recently, also for the DS. While I’m not as big of a fan for Carcassonne as I am for Catan (too much luck for my taste), I am hoping that the game will take into consideration the actual game itself and playtest it throughly for ease of use before releasing it.