CATAN - Console Edition Review

CATAN - Console Edition by developer Nomad Games and publisher Dovetail Games GamesSony PlayStation 5 review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes.

I like board games but have no one to play them with so when a digital version of a game comes out I like to try them out as I wouldn't be able to otherwise. Catan is one that I have seen a lot about but never got to play until now. For anyone who doesn't know what Catan is, it is a game about gathering, trading resources, and then building with them.

Having never played the game before I started with the tutorial which gave me a little understanding of the game, but it really could have done a better job of explaining the game. I didn't know what I was doing until I played about five games. One thing that got me was in the tutorial it said I can place my two settlements and roads where I wanted but while playing the game it would automatically place them. This was fixed by a patch but it should have been there the day it was released. After all it was what was taught in the tutorial.

After learning the basics I jumped right into a single-player game. There are two modes, quick play where everything from what character you are to AI opponents are picked randomly. The other mode lets you set up a game letting you pick who you want to be, who the AI opponents are, and what board setup you want. The board setup may be only for those that have the DLC at the moment though I am not sure if there are any other boards other than default in the base game. Since I started before the update after rolling to see who goes first (which is another thing the game does automatically), it picked where to place my settlements and roads the game started.

To win a game you have to get ten victory points. Each settlement and city you have gives you points so when the game starts every player has two points already. You can get more points by having the longest road and largest army and by having certain development cards you can get by spending resources. You gain the resources of lumber, brick, wool, grain, and ore by having a settlement located next to a hex with a certain type of resource. When anyone rolls the number on the hex, say its eight and someone rolls the two dice and they are a four and a four you and anyone else with a settlement next to the hex will get that resource. Having a city next to one will give you even more of that resource. The only number that will not appear on any of the hexes is seven. If you or an opponent rolls a seven you get to move the robber who will steal one resource from a player who has a settlement on the hex you moved him to and they will no longer earn that resource until the robber is moved again.

Once you have enough resources you can use them to build new settlements which nets you one victory point of VP. Upgrade a settlement into a city which again gives you another VP, and build a road so you can build settlements near other hexes so you can get more resources which gives you VP for having the longest road. 

Lastly, you can get a development card you can use on your next turn. Development cards have a range of things they can do like give you an extra VP that you hold until you have 9 points and then you can win. Other cards are knight cards that you can play and let you move the robber and once you have three you will get VP for having the largest army. You can lose this however if someone gets a bigger army than you. There are a few other cards you can play too, but I will leave them for players to find out.

During your turn, you can roll the dice for resources, build or get a development card, use development cards, and trade. Trading lets you trade with the other players. You pick what resources you want and what you will give in return. Sometimes you will have to give more than you will get back in return for another player to agree to a trade. If none of the players want to trade you can use maritime trade which lets you trade four resources for one other. If you have a settlement near a boat you can lower the number you will have to give.

Now the game says that each of the AI players will play differently but I never saw this. They all seem to play the same way. So if your looking for a good single-player game this may not be for you. You can play online with friends or random players or locally with people in the same room as you. For local to work, you will need to download an app to a phone or tablet so that the other players can not see your resources and cards. I would recommend playing with friends mostly as it is the most fun option.

The graphics are okay and get the job done for a digital board game, but they could have been better. The music all sounds like they got from a royalty-free music website. The sound effects are decent though and work for the game. The characters not having any voices does make playing single-player a bit boring. You can unlock new dice by doing challenges, but only by playing online and nothing for single-player. There are a few that are not even added yet. They say coming soon and I am guessing that means in an update.

Overall Catan is a fun game if you have some friends around and you don't want to pull a real board game out. It does make things easier. However, if you're looking for a single-player game, this may not have enough to it to keep you hooked for long. The price is also a bit high for a game with so little to it. $10 would have been a much better price for what you get. Only get this game if you are a fan of Catan and plan to play online or with friends. And even then it might be better just to get the psychical board game.

Score: 6 / 10


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