In my mid-20s, I suddenly discovered board games again. Thanks to the surge in popularity of euro-style games – which emerged from Germany, for the most part – I discovered a world of board games beyond the roll-and-move, luck-based and often gimmicky mainstream games that tend to be what most people think of when it comes to tabletop gaming. You know the sort: Monopoly, The Game of Life, Mouse Trap; staples of childhood, but which few adults would ever sit down to play for any length of time, once the hit of nostalgia has worn off.

The Settlers of Catan – which was first published in Germany in 1995 as Die Siedler von Catan and more commonly known as simply ‘Catan’ these days – was an important stepping stone on my journey from mainstream fare to more complex and rewarding games; on the surface it seemed to be of much greater complexity than, say, Monopoly – yet in practice it couldn’t have been simpler.

In Catan, players establish settlements and roll each turn to see which hexes on the board produce resources. If a numbered hex their settlement touches comes up on the dice, they collect the type of resource denoted by the hex type – wood, brick, grain, sheep or ore. Crucially, players collect resources when their number comes up even when it isn’t their turn; this keeps players invested in every turn, rather than just sitting and waiting to roll dice.

Resources are used to upgrade settlements to cities, build roads or even construct new settlements, amongst other things – and there’s often enough scarcity in terms of resources needed that trade between players becomes necessary. Again, this keeps players involved during near enough every turn – as bartering and negotiation is often needed if you want to succeed at Catan.

Settlements are worth one victory point, cities two – and there are bonuses for the longest road or having the largest army (armies being a number of knights, which appear on development cards that confer bonuses or other effects for the player that buys the card with their resources). The first player to reach ten points wins.

There’s also the robber, who comes up frequently seeing as he appears when a 7 is rolled on the two dice – seven being the most common number possible on two dice. He allows you to steal a resource from a player whose hex you’ll also block from producing anything until he’s moved again. Annoying, certainly – but again this forces the trading aspect to the fore in Catan.

Though digital versions of Catan are nothing new, it’s actually really exciting that current generation consoles are getting an up to date version of the game, which is due to be released on February 28th 2023.

UK company Dovetail Games are on publishing duties and Nomad Games are developing Catan – Console Edition. This is particularly exciting, as Nomad Games have great form in this area, being responsible for Talisman – Digital Edition; another classic tabletop adaptation which I reviewed here.

Dynamic AI is promised for the digital opponents, as well as the ability to track resources using your smartphone (and, Jackbox-style, without the need to install an app – this is going to become incredibly handy!). Local and online multiplayer options will, of course, be available too.

Cross play has also been confirmed, meaning Xbox and PlayStation players can take each other on in the surprisingly cutthroat world of Catan.

Standard and Deluxe editions will be availabe from the 28th of February on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. The Deluxe version will include 5 previous CATAN World Championship board layouts from the real-life

Pre-order purchases of the standard release will get Early Access from February 23rd, with Deluxe pre-orders also getting a specially designed player Dice Skin & Hex Frame and a 10% pre-order discount.

You can sign up for the latest news and information about CATAN – Console Edition directly from Dovetail Games here:

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