Hey Everybody, this is Patrick and I'm about to post the first in what I hope will be a weekly article here at the GeekRoundTable (GRT). I've been thinking for a while now what kinds of things I could post about. Here at GRT you already have Mattman's wonderful weekly Batman reviews, and over at Geek-tastic.com we have the regular Wednesday Wes Rant articles. So what could I add?
Then it hit me. At the end of each episode we go around the table and give our "What's Cool" for the week, which is usually something geeky that we're really digging right then which we want to share both with you (our lovely readers and listeners) and our fellow podcast members. I always have a hard time when it comes to this portion of the show because I have to pick out only one thing that I think is cool, and there's usually about a half a dozen things rattling around in my head. So instead of just losing all of those unused cool things, I'm going to start posting about them here each week to share with you. Some weeks I'll only post one item. Other weeks I may post two or more. We'll see how it goes.
I absolutely promise you though that I won't be double dipping here and the items I present on the site won't be the same as the ones I mention in the podcast. Now, without further ado, here we go.
This Week's What's Cool: The Settlers of Catan series of games
I'm a big board game geek. A while back I even created a Game Night where a group of my friends and I get together every other wednesday after work to sit down and play a bunch of different kinds of board games. We don't really play the usual board games like Monopoly or Clue or Sorry though. No, these games are far more geeky than those. We play games like Zombies, Heroscape, Shogun, Risk: Godstorm and many others. We even have our own homebrewed rules for a rather violent game of Fireball Island (we call it Fireball Island: Deathmatch and it uses the weapons from the Clue Boardgame).
Anyways, one of the games we like to play is called The Settlers of Catan. It's an interesting game where trading and strategy are needed along with a goodly amount of luck to win the game. The basic premise is that you and the other players are all settlers from different cultures on an island called Catan. Using different resources (wood, ore, brick, sheep and wheat) you will trade with other players and try to expand your settlements faster than the other players until one player achieves a specific level of growth to win. The game itself is very fun as it requires you to interact, trade, and make deals with the other players. This can lead to some interesting haggling as the game goes on and you either find yourself in need of specific resources or you're the one with everything and other players need what you have.
The base game set can handle up to 4 players, but there is an expansion that allows up to 6 players to play at once. What's really great about this game though is its expandability. Aside from the core game (which is rad in and of itself), the game has had many expansions that make the game much deeper and offer many different types of play styles. There's Seafarers of Catan (which adds elements of exploration to the game), Fishermen of Catan (which adds a new and powerful resource to the game), Traders and Barbarians (which should be self explanatory), the Great River, and the Cities and Knights expansion (which completely changes the game and makes it much richer and more complex). The core game board looks like this:
But if you want to go truly crazy (like my friends and I tend to) then you can put all of the games together to create one monsterous game we have dubbed Mega Catan! That game looks like this:
If a medieval ages expansion game isn't exactly your cup of tea, then how about this? There's also an excellent Science Fiction version of the game called Starfarers of Catan that is all about space exploration and colonization of different planets.
And that's not all. If you're just not a big fan of boardgames and prefer your games to be more of the video game variety, Settlers of Catan can also be found that way as well. If you own an Xbox 360 the game is available as a fairly inexpensive download for the Xbox Live Arcade. Or you can also play Catan online on your PC with Catan Online.