At some point during your junior or senior year of college, you will most likely grow tired of the college party scene that defined your first two years. It might be that once you turn 21 the thrill of sneaking into the local bar is gone or that you no longer have the patience to put up a front with the feminazi from your seminar. Alternatively, it could be that once you’ve moved off campus with your three self-selected roommates that you feel no need to fraternize outside of the confines of your third floor walkup.
Some people cure their boredom by studying abroad, others by delving into their thesis. The braver set enter the world of Catan.
Klaus Teuber’s board game may come across as an exercise in extreme nerdom, but it actually is an amalgam of Games of Thrones and Risk, which are generally well-received by those of less-than-average nerdiness. Put plainly—if you’re in college, you have the capacity to embrace and love this game.
To play, knock on the doors of your three roommates, grab something to drink, and sit around the coffee table (or cardboard box that acts as your coffee table). Each player gets a set of color-coded pieces that helps you build settlements and roads across the fictional land of Catan. Catan is made up of several hexagonal pieces, each of which display its own unique resource (brick, lumber, wool, grain, and ore). Attached to each hexagonal piece is a randomly selected number piece.
After establishing some initial settlements, each person rolls two dice and any settlements that border hexes with the combined number produce that resource for you. So, if I roll a ten and Roommate 1 and 2 have settlements that touch the ore hex with the ten on it, they each get an ore resource card. The resources are used to build other settlements (1 Victory Point) and cities (2 Victory Points) and to purchase development cards that have Victory Points among other maneuvers. The objective is to reach 10 Victory Points before the other players.
What is unique to Catan is that on your turn you can trade resource cards with the other players, but it often involves some hefty bargaining. People have been known to swap four cards for a scarce resource and even trade futures. Also, Catan doesn’t take nearly as long to play as Risk. The average game time ranges from 60 to 90 minutes, which really is the perfect amount of time for a study break.
To make things interesting, my friends and I have given Thrones labels to each of the color-coded pieces (Red- Lannister, Orange- Dornish, Blue- Tullys, White- Starks). To make things even more interesting, you can turn Catan into a drinking game. Here are some suggested rules…
The Catan Drinking Game:
- Any time you roll a 7, drink.
- If a 7 is rolled and you have more than 7 cards in your hand, discard half and drink.
- If you win the Longest Road challenge, your fellow players must drink in accordance with how many segments make up your road.
- Any time a 6 or an 8 is rolled, players with settlements on those numbers must drink.
- If you win the Largest Army challenge, your fellow players must drink 3 times.
- The first person to make a settlement on a port can select who drinks.
- The first person to build a city selects who drinks.
- If a person takes longer than 3 minutes to complete their turn, s/he drinks.