Video Game Rentals Delivered

Catan (XBLA)

David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-04-09 03:56:47

Catan (XBLA) - Rank A


Developer: Big Huge Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Date: 5/2/07

Catan is a tremendously successful German strategy board game. It's elegantly simple, with easy to learn rules, but features satisfying strategic depth. Success requires skillful resource management, negotiation skills, and a chess-like anticipation of future moves. Players are never eliminated, so everyone is always involved and can affect the outcome even if losing horribly. The original board game has sold more than 11 million copies, and the XBLA version faithfully presents this niche classic.

The goal is to dominate the colonization of an island before your opponents do. Up to four players gather five resources (wood, brick, sheep, grain, and stone) to build towns and roads to spread their power over the island. New settlements help you gather more resources to further your cause. You need to engage in Machiavellian shenanigans with your opponents, to trade for the resources you are not able to produce and to cut off your neighbors from spreading to areas you need to colonize.

You can challenge your friends online, or mix and match with some fairly competent A.I. opponents. Unfortunately, there is no local play option - although I understand this decision; any opponents sharing the same screen would be able to see your assets. Catan proceeds with the leisurely pace of a board game (surprise), so if you need noise and flashing lights accompanying the incineration of aliens, this is not for you. If you're looking for a contemplative, measured piece of entertainment to gather around with like-minded friends, do not hesitate to drop the $10 for Catan.

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