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Settlers of Catan

March 27th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Board Games

Just because my fellow podcasters hate it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy reading about it.

Teuber created elaborate logic chains and probability matrices in a complex Excel spreadsheet so the videogame developers could see how every possible move and roll of the dice—from the impact of the Robber to the odds of getting wheat in a given scenario—compared. The end result was a sort of blueprint for the game that gave Big Huge Games a head start and showed just how complex the underlying math was. “It was the biggest, gnarliest spreadsheet I had ever seen,” Reynolds says.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • metta

    Interesting article, TSG. Thanks for putting it where my eyes could find it :)

  • Scott R. Krol

    “This game blows!!! Armies that can’t attack?? What kind of crazy whacked out game is this? Huh? I refuse to believe that this game was produced by the Germans. No way. No way in Hell! They’re better than that!”

    -Bob, from “The Meddlers of Kataan” KODT #70

  • Scott Lewis

    Nice article, but the “Perfect German Board Game Redefines Genre” made my stomach turn a bit. It’s a well-made, inviting game, but far from perfect.

  • Alan Au

    Actually, a real-time city builder/RTS version of Settlers would be amusing. I’m not entirely sure if you’d prohibit PvP combat, but you could fight off the barbarians and bandits with little units while your citizens collect resources and use them to improve your towns.

  • Nicholas Tam

    Thanks for drawing attention to that article. I want to see that spreadsheet. One of the things I’ve always like about Catan was how the value of each resource fluctuates over the course of the game, not only as a function of initial placement and strategy, but as a natural consequence of how the board evolves (and must evolve) for anyone to make a stab at 10 points. It would be very interesting to see how Teuber modelled the effect, and whether there are any discrepancies between the model and what appear, in practice, as potential imbalances (i.e. OMG too much sheep).

  • Eduardo Gabrieloff

    I heard a podcast on how to win at Settlers of Cataan, every time. Basically, if you don’t trade, you win.

    Which is a pretty big hole in the game.

  • Vendolis

    Well. I have to say Settlers of Catan is for a very long time one of the best boardgames that was out there. You where easyly able to play it with your family and have fund as well as with your hard core strategic friends.
    @ Eduardo: There is no way to win it every time since you play with different people. Or with the same and they do not make the mistake twice.

    Something hard core stratigic gamers do not like is the fact of the randomness of recources. But just this fact makes it playable also with non strategic gamers. It has a huge luck factor in it.

    Another greate thing about Settlers are the expansions. While the “Seefahrer” (sailor?) expansion was not that much revealing, the “Ritter und Städte” (Knights and Citys) gave the game a very nice touch. The two Historical expansions and the one Setter of Catan Mod book (“http://www.amazon.de/Die-Siedler-von-Catan-Spielen/dp/3440077098/”) Brought totaly different senarios to this game.

    I still think its one of the best boardgames out there to play with very different kind of people and still have a lot of fun.