I own a copy of Settlers of Catan, and I enjoy playing it from time to time. It’s a pretty simple game with some good concepts behind it. It can be a little too simple for me, though, and most of the strategy in the game honestly revolves around luck. I don’t like games that are mostly based on luck and probability. By itself, I find games of chance really lacking in the replayability department.

The element of luck in Magic is one of my major complaints against it. Your deck’s interesting strategy means nothing if you shuffle poorly or have the wrong ratio of lands-to-spells. But I digress, I’m here to talk about why I don’t like rolling dice in Catan, not why I don’t like basic lands in Magic.

Settlers of Catan is a really attractive game. It’s very colorful and evokes its setting quite well, I think. It reminds me a lot of Civilization, but with the technology and warfare stripped from it. Catan is a “four-ex” game with exploitation and extermination excised. It could almost be a cooperative game, if a few small changes were made and the players were pitted against the dice and the game instead of each other.

I don’t discuss Catan much because there isn’t that much to say about it. Every player has the same powers available to them, which are basically to trade resources or spend resources to collect more resources. Cards add a little to gameplay and offer alternate ways of acquiring victory points, which is nice. But what else is there?

The cards seem kind of tacked-on to me, like they were added later in development when someone realized that the game by itself was basically Monopoly with a random map generator. The game is still just Monopoly with a random map generator. (And five different kinds of money, or which only 2-3 are useful.)

I suppose I should go back and take another look at Settlers of Catan. I mean, even as I was writing this entry, I remembered several elements as I went along that I didn’t take into account when I began. Some of my criticism of the game is unnecessary — not unfair, just unnecessary — but then, I do still enjoy the game despite its flaws. I just prefer Settlers of Catan as a “sometimes game,” it don’t want to play it all the time.