We’ve been determined for months now to start playing regular Family Game Night Games. So when Asmodee got in touch and asked if we’d like to receive a selection of Family Game Night Games, I’ll admit I bit their hand off.
Finally, I was going to HAVE to get organised and sit down for some serious fun with the whole family; and it wouldn’t even be Christmas or on holiday!
If you are a fan of video games, you’ve probably come across the name ‘Civilization’. Sid Meyer’s game of complex narratives but simple and fun design. Rewrite history and rule the world. The board game Catan and the video game play out very similarly; start off with a small colony and build up your empire as time moves through the ages. Well if these games are your cup of tea, then you are sure to love Settlers of Catan. In fact, our teens knew the rules almost instinctively, and turned out to be way quicker than us at figuring out the strategy involved.
The original Settlers of Catan board game released years before the first Civilization video game, but as I said it works along many of the same principles. Start with your small colony of survivors, grab resources and begin to build your empire. It’s an excellent game to play alongside friends or family – since we played it the teens have had it out regularly between themselves and also with mates; and they plan to teach the grandparents on the next visit. It’s a group board game that will have you entertained for many hours at a time.
Although it’s been around for years, the gameplay was modernised a few years ago for this 5th edition, and it holds up against its competitors well (despite being released many years before it even had competitors!)
When you open the box, I’ll admit the contents are rather overwhelming. But despite the complicated and apparently endless appearance when you begin, once you struggle through the complex exterior you’ll find that like all classic board games it’s a relatively easy game to learn. In about 15 minutes we all had the basics (including the 11yr old) – becoming competent isn’t hard, but as always the real pleasure comes in the ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ nature of a really good Family Game Night Games. With so many different strategies and play styles, it’s different every time you get it out of the box. You could play the game all day long, and enjoy a different version each time; in fact the fun and interest lie within the premise that no game is the same.
Though you get progressively better each time you play, so do your opponents. With you all trying out the best ways you can think of to outsmart each other, it always keeps you on your toes.
As I said, at its heart the core concept is a simple one. Each player begins the game with two roads and settlements on the board. With every turn, new resources like wool, ore or lumber will be produced to help your settlers to build new roads and settlements and even cities across the board. As you build new roads across the island board, new settlements will rise up with it and new resources along its completion. This gains the player victory points, of which you need ten to win the game. It’s a simple and easy to grasp concept, but the intricacy comes with the strategy.
Family Game Night Games
Not being a Catan expert yet, I wouldn’t dream of advising you on the best strategies. However I know there are plenty of guides out there who could help you get the edge over your kids (who I guarantee are busy looking up and researching strategies of their own. The dastardly cheats). Speaking of guides, if ever the game is too confusing, Catan’s rulebook is detailed and easy to follow and is great for any first timers like us – no family arguments when the rules are clear and can be waved in your opponents face with smug satisfaction. Double cheaty cheating teens…
The first time we played Catan was with the family on a dull rainy day; I coerced them all to sit down for an hour and give it a try… and almost two hours later Mr LittleStuff arose victorious (HOW does he do that? He’s Monopoly champion too). And we honestly all had a blast. An afternoon of laughing and confusion led up to his win, and it felt at the end of it all that we had all won upon discovering such a fantastic game. Play it with friends or family, no matter the people it’s a fun game, often only takes an hour (though we’ve had some marathon games which last MUCH longer) and it rarely spends a whole week inside the games cupboard.
Catan can bought on Amazon for under £25 – if you’re looking for an absorbing game for the Christmas holidays I suggest you snap this one up. You can’t lose.