From the very beginning, Catan has been beautifully illustrated. For each new edition of the game, the artwork improved significantly. But true Catan fans aren't content with simply looking at the art printed on the game board. Here are my top 20 favorite works of art inspired by Catan:
Everything Catan. In One Place.
Welcome to our blog! This is the place where you can slake your thirst for everything Catan: tips, trivia, and table talk. Go ahead and check it out!
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Blog Entry #1: You Will Be Amazed By How We Invented Our Logo
Blog Entry #2: Why Catan Is (Almost) The Perfect Game
Blog Entry #3: Catan Has Royal Weddings, Too!
Blog Entry #4: 20 Best Catan Works of Art
Blog Entry #5: Coming Soon!
In a previous blog post, we explained the history behind Catan's immense fame. The unanswered question, however, was "Why is Catan so much fun to play?" Luckily for us, the gamers and players at Board Game Geek have long discussed this very issue. In this blog post, we break down the eleven pitfalls that "bad" games fall into, and then we explain how Catan expertly avoids all of these dangers to create a truly enjoyable gaming experience.
- Lack of Control: When players feel that they have no control over the conclusion of the game (see #2 below), they often resent the game, or discount the success of other players. Games of pure luck, such as Candy Land, epitomize this flaw. Settlers, on the other hand, requires skill and strategy in addition to luck.
- Lack of Options: Even if a game is based purely on luck (such as Yahtzee), options give players the illusion of control. Without options, players feel powerless, resulting in the same feelings as above. With its purchase mechanic, Settlers has a plethora of options available at all times, which makes players feel “in control,” even though they are dependent upon the harvest, same as everyone. Catan expansions add even more choices, but bring danger of Analysis Paralysis (see #11 below).
- Poor Player Order: Many card games bestow a distinct advantage (or disadvantage) upon the player who goes first. In UNO, it is usually best to go first, because you win by using up all of your cards first. Settlers, however, eliminates many turn-based constraints by allowing many actions to occur simultaneously (or nearly so) for all players. For example, everyone can harvest resources at the same time, make trades, and make purchases (during the Special Purchase Phase), even on another player’s turn.
- Runaway Leader: Monopoly is a classic example of this flaw. Once a player has purchased enough properties (or certain properties of very high value), they quickly amass large quantities of wealth, bankrupting opponents (see #5 below). This makes the game no fun for players who have fallen behind and have no hope of catching up. In order to counteract this, Settlers uses a number of gameplay mechanics to help struggling players, such as the favor token system, the Villains, the Richest/Poorest Settler awards, and the Old Boot tile.
- Player Elimination: As mentioned above, this flaw ruins the “playability” of many games, alienating players. In Jenga, when one player topples the tower, all the others win. This makes the player who “lost” feel miserable, and forces them to sit out as the game becomes a showdown between the final two participants. Settlers does an excellent job of keeping all players moving along until the very last turn, and is one of the few games where everyone feels on the cusp of victory by the end.
- Kingmaking: The opposite of having only one loser is having only one winner. Anyone who has played Old Maid knows the pain of having an opponent unexpectedly slap down the winning match, thereby trumping everyone else at the table. Although Settlers does not eliminate the element of surprise completely, it uses the Victory Point system to help players gauge the progress of their opponents. This helps players prioritize actions, and reduces the pain of searing loss.
- Targeting: In Waterworks, it is tempting for players to place many “leaks” on a single teammate, essentially blocking them out of the game and preventing victory. There are no shared interests or opportunities for cooperation. In contrast, Settlers encourages teamwork and cooperation. While not a cooperative game per se, Settlers does more than simply allow players to talk and trade. Many of the in-game tasks are for the common good of Catan, and players must work together to repel and resist the attacking Barbarians.
- Solvability: Many cooperative games like Pandemic or Forbidden Desert can leave players feeling beaten, facing a formidable opponent. Sometimes, there is no effective strategy to beating the game. In contrast, the Victory Point system of Settlers does not have a single winning condition, but allows players to accumulate points in a variety of ways. This promotes a balanced approach to winning, but simultaneously allows players with weaknesses to specialize and succeed.
- Multiplayer Solitaire: Bingo is the very definition of this flaw, since there is nothing a player can do (as if they could do anything) to affect any other player. This creates a very segmented, uninteresting gameplay. In Settlers, on the other hand, everything players do deeply affects the following actions of others. While it is possible for players to adopt a broad strategy for Settlers, they are often forced to make major adjustments to their plans, based on what their opponents do. This keep things very interesting and suspenseful until the very end.
- Monotony: Games such as Chutes & Ladders get old very quickly. With boring predictability, players toss dice, then move their playing piece. Each surprise is followed by a disappointment. Settlers has no difficulty overcoming this barrier. Players have plenty to occupy their attention, whether it be the excellent artwork, the many decisions, or the shocking turn of events that happens on each turn. Plus, it is easy to shorten your game of Catan as needed, as explained in our FAQ.
- Analysis Paralysis / Downtime: Game of pure strategy, such as Chess, are expected to involve deep thinking and pattern recognition. As a result, they often involve a timer and a limited number of moves (Checkers, Trax, Othello). However, as a game progresses and expansions are added, Settlers becomes astronomically complex, causing players to slow down and map their turns out in painstaking detail. Many of the game mechanics that enable Settlers to overcome the other 10 game-breaking factors only contribute to the complexity of the game. Ironically, attempts to limit the length of players’ turns only adds additional complexity! The CatanFusion system reduces this complexity-Get Started Now!
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The world of Catan is no stranger to nobility. In fact, Catan is full of knights in shining armor, powerful lords, just rulers, and everyone in between. Where does all of this nobility live? Why, in castles, of course! Just look at the similarities between Catan's castle and Windsor Castle:
If you squint and ignore some major differences, they look pretty similar, right? Even if you aren't of noble birth or wealthy lineage, though, you can still enjoy the prestige and benefits of truly royal wedding this weekend. Here are three ways you can bring a marvelous marriage to your game:
Method #1: The Chapel
The base game of Catan has a development card called "Chapel." This valuable card is worth a victory point. If you happen to purchase this card, the Chapel may give you just enough victory points to win the game. Over the years, the Chapel has gone through a number of different design changes, as you can see below:
Method #2: The Wedding
Despite having exactly the same artwork as the "Chapel" development card, this Blue Progress card from the Cities & Knights game expansion is called "Wedding." As shown above, this coveted card is powerful. You can declare a wedding by playing this card at any time during your turn (how cool is that?). Luckily for you, all of your opponents are invited, and those with more victory points than you must bring a sizable gift! This is definitely one wedding you don't want to miss!
Method #3: The Wedding Tower
Much less common than the Catan cards (but far more interesting) is the special-edition release of the Catan "Wedding Tower" hex tile. The Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower, in English) was part of larger dice-cut sheet published and distributed at a number of German gaming events in 2014. Because this is a limited release, you can only find the Wedding Tower for sale here. The Wedding Tower tile works like this:
Game Setup: Replace the game's Desert tile with the Wedding Tower tile, and place the Robber on the Wedding Tower tile. The Wedding Tower tile does not receive any production number tokens, and thus cannot produce any resources.
During Play: If a production number of "7" is rolled (or drawn, if you are using Seasons event cards), normal rules apply: players do not harvest any resources, the Robber is moved to a new tile (and possibly steals a resource card from another player), and players lose half of their resource/commodity cards if they have eight or more in their hand. As usual, once the Robber has left the Wedding Tower tile, he cannot return.
Special Exception Rules: Players all receive a wedding gift when a "7" shows up! More specifically, when a production number of "7" occurs, every player with a building on an intersection adjacent to the Wedding Tower tile receives one (1) resource card that matches the terrain of the tile upon which the Robber has been placed.
Note: You can find more rules about the Robber and Desert hexes here.
So there you have it: Your very own Catan wedding, full of excitement, gifts, and guests! You can get started today, by playing a normal game of Catan, by breaking out the Cities & Knights expansion, or by making a purchase online.
Thanks so much for reading. If you have any questions or feedback about this topic, go ahead and fill out the following response form:
Business Logos Are Boring
As logos go, Business Logos are usually the most unimaginative. Although we have gotten away from the dreaded millennial swoosh, most company logos these days tend to fall into one of two categories:
|Business Name in Boring Font, or||Freely Interpreted Image|
Our Old Logo Was Both
Before we even started our company, we knew that we needed a catchy name and a cool logo to go with it. The only problem is, just looking at our old logo makes us cringe. Really? This violates basic design principles and more than a few copyright issues, too.
Obviously, something had to change.
So we sat down with a lot of good ideas (and a lot of bad ones), and set ourselves some rules:
|Rule #1:||Our Logo Must be Simple Enough to Draw on a Napkin|
|Rule #2:||Our Logo Must be Memorable|
|Rule #3:||Our Logo Must be Both Obvious and Obscure|
At first, none of our ideas fit these constraints. They were always too complicated, too common, or too confusing. It wasn't until we really examined ourselves that we had an "Aha!" moment.
First, we asked ourselves, "What is CatanFusion all about?" Well, we offer products and services that help people get more enjoyment out of their games of Catan. In particular, our rulesets and Seasons event cards make it possible to combine and play all of the previously-incompatible Catan expansions together. So we thought, "What's a great word for 'putting things together in a synergistic way'?"
Why, Fusion, of course!
Thus, CatanFusion was born.
Then came the thorny issue of the logo itself. There are certain images that come to mind when the word "Fusion" is used: Atoms and Nuclei and Energy. We started looking at simple drawings of atomic particles, and that's when we had a brainwave: there are three "orbits" in a typical atom drawing! Guess how many people are needed to play a game of Catan together? You guessed it-THREE! But it gets better. The three atomic orbits have six end-points. Guess what is the maximum number of players in a typical Catan game? SIX!
The Atom was here to stay.
When we drew those six oval rings, they formed a familiar shape in the middle. In case you might have forgotten, the basic building blocks of Catan are tiles that take the shape of hexagons. Those tiles that form the board of Catan are six-sided, and the center of our atom-logo certainly looked like it had six sides! With a little bit of almost-unnoticeable cleanup, we had a hex!
The Hex had arrived.
Besides hexes, Catan is famous for one other thing--Dice. The simple act of tossing those two dice creates an unbelievable amount of emotion: anguish, surprise, and joy. We knew that our logo wouldn't truly be complete without some reference to the random chance that has made Catan famous. We were looking at images of dice (yes, we were bored) when we noticed an M.C. Escher-esque drawing of endless cubes that appeared to be stacked on top of each other. All that was required to draw the scene was a hexagon and three straight lines.
The Cube made its entrance.
In the beginning, our logo was just black and white. Which is fine, but it looked boring and was hard to remember. We experimented with a number of different background colors as we tried to figure out which one was best. It finally came down to two colors, both of them related to nuclear/atomic situations. There was alien green (RGB: 153, 204, 0)(Hex: #99CC00), and then there was safety orange (RGB: 255, 153, 0)(Hex: #FF9900). Both of them had their pros and cons, but we tried to think about what color would catch people's attention best. The yellow/orange naturally attracted our eyes, because it looked like a construction sign. So it stuck.
The Color appeared.
Introducing Our New Logo
As a result, we came up with the following logo, which we think is much better than our previous one:
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