Settlers of Catan

January 18, 2008 at 12:32 am (Game Session) (, )

First time playing “Settlers of Catan” :) Glad we did!

It confirmed once more that there is no better way to get the game than playing. After Michael’s introduction, we started playing, and as we advanced in the game the rules were showing themselves more clearly.

The two “experts” of the game, Michael and Magy, were teamed together. They could make better estimations, foresee strategies while some of us were still recognizing the pieces. This situation reminds me to what Caillois said about the equated powers of contestants “so each may have the chance until the end”, otherwise the game wouldn’t be pleasant. We didn’t have equated powers, it was fun though. But more sessions should be made. Few games support disparity of strength among players. Think about a FPS deathmatch, players start with the same resources. Then if you’re bad at it and your opponent is good, it’s highly likely you’ll lose, and the game won’t be pleasant. However, the game Go allows overcoming difference of strength between players. Handicap is given, the initial setting is changed so both have equal possibility to win.

The Alea ingredient in Settlers was fascinating for me. You roll dice in your turn but that chance might give resources to other players (and none for you). So your turn has effects on others, and others’ turn might have consequences on you due to chance.

In my opinion, it increases the thrill and awareness of the whole game. Using Costikyan’s words, these random elements provide “variety of encounter”.

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