Settlers of Catan Xbox 360
by Amanda Nettgen
Catan for the Xbox 360
Video game manufacturer:
Big Huge Games
Number of players:
1 or more
Catan for the Xbox 360 is a cute, colorful, strategic farm game. It will remind you of those state maps of resources from elementary school, as colony resources are the bulk of what you will be dealing with.
The game and gameplay
Welcome to the the island of Catan! While you won’t get voted off, this *is* a competition. It’s your job to branch out and dominate the island, using lots of resources as your tools. The five resources of the island are: Lumber, Wool, Grain, Brick, and Ore.
The game centers around using your savvy to acquire the necessary elements that make up roads, settlements, and cities. These places will ultimately border the resource tiles and give you cards of that nature every time the number in the center of the hexagon is rolled. A larger proportion of dots under the digit indicates a higher chance of that dice number being rolled (yes, the game is a little “fixed”).
You start with two settlements and two roads to position at angles on the board of your choosing. On your turn you will take any resource cards you have collected and attempt to barter with the other players (or build if you already meet the requirements). Keep amassing a variety of resource card combinations so that you may trade them in for building materials and widen your colony’s territory!
Port trades are a good thing to try to get in case your neighbors are experiencing a drought of a resource you need. With them, you will trade a higher amount of a particular resource card for a single one of your choosing.
The four types of things you can buy are Roads, Settlements, Cities, or Development Cards. A quick hold of the Left Trigger button will bring up the specific resource requirements for each.
Rolling a seven in Catan does a variety of things, but mainly the roller gets to move the thief token and steal a resource, and the tile it occupies also ceases to produce resources.
It’s all a quest to acquire 10 Victory Points first.You achieve Victory Points in such ways as building settlements and cities, or having the longest road. On the surface you’ll be in the dark as to who’s winning, but I discovered that if you hold down the Right Trigger button, you’re able to see how everyone’s doing at the ready.
An individual’s Victory Points total will also very briefly flash whenever they do something that adds to it. If you want a challenge, try not to peek at the other players’ progress; it will motivate you to play your hardest and strategize wisely.
Pros and cons
What makes this better than Carcassonne for the 360 (another territory-based strategy game) is that Catan has enough going on with it to make it fun. It’s even a blast playing against computers (of which two achievements exist for beating them).
It has a great Learn As You Play feature, and local comparison leaderboards exist.
All of the achievements are entitled “______ of Catan” (i.e., Scholar of Catan, Villager of Catan) which I thought was very clever.
As far as pitfalls, AI trading is very slow. The fact that you need to have an Xbox Gold account just to play with somebody in your house is jarring.
This electronic version of the board game Settlers of Catan will not disappoint. Even if you’ve never played Catan before, you’re sure to love it if you go the 360 route.