BCM 300 – First tries to play Catan Universe

In this semester, I can’t make it on campus which mean I can’t enjoy the REAL board game in class, therefore I played a digital version of a game at home called Catan Universe. In this week blog, I will be briefly talking about what is the games about and further discuss more the process of how you learnt how to play the game and so on.

Game Introduction

Catan which is a classic board game also a popular board game which was published in 1995, a 26-year-old board game and has been translated into 35 languages and sold 25 million copies worldwide. In which players compete to build colonies on an island called Catan and strategically develop roads and villages to get the resources, steal from other players, and earn victory points. The new digital version of the bestselling board game Catan is the new digital version of the board game Catan which called Catan Universe. The ultimate multi-platform version of Catan. Play Catan in the original implementation including many extensions, online with people from all over the world or compete against clever computer opponents. An account allows playing on all available platforms. When I search the game on app store, I saw 2 different version of Catan game, one is call Catan Classic and the other is Catan Universe.

For me, I chose the Catan Universe to play, because I am interested in the game of resource management and development of civilization empire. This app supports single-player and multiplayer. In single-player mode, you can play against computers of varying difficulty, but for the offline game against 2 AI opponents only using the base game. There’s no 4 player option for free, no way of using the expansions for free and no scenarios for free. And for the multiplayer mode, you can play with up to 3 players in a single game, there’s no 4 player option for free and no way of using the expansions for free and no scenarios with no ability to update the rules such as changing the timeout options for players etc or use any expansions or scenarios.

This is the single player mode with 3 NPC

Theme

In the theme set at “The Era of Gold”, In the seemingly limited scope of the island map, players struggle for the trade advantage becomes more intense. Players need to build roads and cities and trade raw materials skillfully in order to become Lord of Catan, this game simulating a very vivid colonial world. The realistic graphics design give a real table top feel.

Mechanics

Perhaps I can say Catan Universe is a game that is more about a combination of resource management and strategy. The gameplay: players who need the right materials to build houses and roads and to be the first one gain 10 Victory Points. The beginning of the game is from building settlements and cities. Each settlement is worth one victory point while each city is worth two victory points. The picture below showed that I had built a settlements (left) are worth 1 victory point.

All the settlements, cities, roads, and development cards are each built by gathering resources when the dice are rolled. There are five types of resources: Wood – green, Brick: red/brown, Sheep – light green, Wheat – yellow/gold, Stone – grey. If you have a settlement which touching a space where the number equals the die roll, you can get one of that space’s resource. If you have a city which means you can get two of that resource.

The prices for the different things you can build are as the card that showed above on the bottom left hand side conner. As this is the first time to play Catan, I usually need to drag down to read the card description when I need to build any road and settlement etc. That is quit not convenient when I need to drag and zoom in to read it, but I know this is also a part of design of the game, the developers want to give the players a unique game experience – real board game experience.

However, this is no doubt that their 3D viewpoint makes you feel like you’ve got the game set up on a table, as you can adjust to any views of perspective.

Besides, there have a lots of themes in the game (total 6 themes) such as, Seafarers, Cities & knights and Rise of the Inka etc. But those themes need to purchase on it, therefore I didn’t tend to purchase on those extensions. But to be honest, I think that is enough for me to have a try on this digital board game, because I love playing on the real board game rather than the digital one, because I can communicate with my friends and play face to face!

Audiences

Catan is suitable for 10-year-olds and over, it may also suit younger players experienced playing board games, or with adult assistance. Although I believed that playing with a group of friends ages 20-23 was completely delightful due to less prescriptive than like Monopoly but there has a lot of strategic thinking needed to determine when and what to buy is somewhat complicated.

Personal Experience:

Since there are only 3 players on this single mode, the map is not that tighter and the trade partners will not be more plentiful. However, still under the seemingly simple patterns and rules of this game, it can also fully presented intriguing strategies and imaginative worldviews. After playing the Catan Universe, the feeling that the digital version of Catan gave me that was, it made me feels too slow and full of issues that make it far from the ideal game experience such as too long for the time limit, game restriction, graphical problems and some connection issues also a little bit not user-friendly, therefore that made me frustrated and want to quickly end of the game.

Overall, I found that this game actually to be enjoyable for all ages range of people which kind of simple to understand the basics of the game. The game approximately took me 90 minutes to play and end up I lose the game, haha! I think maybe this is the first time I play this game and not familiar with the rules and what is the correct time that I need to have a trade with other, because some of the trade is quite unfair. Such as , some will give you 1 resources that you already had to exchange all the

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