What I, and to a greater extent Chris, have realised with Snooker 19 from Lab 42 and Ripstone is that snooker is a tough game. As a casual pool player when the opportunity presents itself, transitioning to snooker, even in videogame form isn’t easy. …
Settlers of Catan to give this deeply strategic game its classic title is one
of the most well-known board games out there. So when Chris mentioned recently
that a version was going to be released on the Switch, I knew I had to get him
to play the classic board game version before losing him to the Switch.
played Catan a couple of times previously with friends, I picked up my
own copy and arranged a session with Chris and two other Catan
newcomers. For what is a decidedly simple game once you’ve started to play, it
is extremely intimidating when a new box is being unpacked.
you have the joys of assembling the board, setting the ocean perimeter and
slotting in the land hexes before distributing settlement and road pieces,
along with the requisite resource cards. But for those who are new to this
level of board gaming, the sheer amount of stuff is quite an eye opener. That’s
before you start working your way through the rulebook.
game has evolved somewhat since it first came out in the mid-90s, the edition I
bought came with a beginner’s layout for the board. A recommended layout of
hexes to form the island of Catan, along with starting points for the three to
four players provides a straightforward entry point.
players, or even those feeling bold in their second attempt, might well take
things into their own hands and arrange the hexes, cities and roads as they see
fit. But for beginners, following the suggested setup is a must.
through the rule book without having the game flowing is a recipe for disaster.
I saw the blood drain from Chris’ face as I explained the rules, but once he
took the first roll of the dice, he was hooked.
of course a game of great depth and strategy, one that you can’t expect
everyone to fully understand during their first playthrough. The goal is
straightforward, gain ten victory points, but there is such a variety of
approaches that you can take to acquire those points that you need a few games
to fully appreciate the depths of the strategic play.
the recommended layout and starting points, Chris immediately set off on a plan
to build a handful of settlements and upgrade them to cities while one of my
friends built roads upon roads, all the while earning vast quantities of
resources. However, with the luck of the dice-rolls not with them, they never
acquired the resources they needed to make a strike towards victory.
combined arms approach was my path to victory. A healthy number of settlements
and cities, aligned with an ever expanding road empire granted me the bonus
points for the longest road card. Judicious purchases of development cards
handed me enough knights to pick up the large army card, while secretly gaining
victory point development cards put me over the top for the win.
it’s an intimidating game to start with, but everyone quickly picked up the
basics and were intently playing throughout without any question of a break in
proceedings being required. Their faces at the end betrayed both their
disappointment at losing, and also their eagerness to play again.
Yes, I know The Reticule has traditionally been a video game focused site, but after some recent board game sessions, Chris has asked me to lend some words about this thriving entertainment sector.
board games though, when everyone knows that Chris and the gang are dedicated
PC and consoler gamers?
answer is simple, I’m one of those unfortunates who suffer from awful motion
sickness when playing most video games, and don’t even get me started on VR, a
sick-bag is required for those.
and again, I might play something like NHL with Chris (and woop his ass,
of course) or Crash Bandicoot, but my heart lies with board games.
Anything from a light-hearted game of Cranium to something more serious
What you can expect from me is the occasional post about a board game that I’ve been playing recently. They won’t be the classic Verdict’s of Reticule fame, but I hope they’ll give you an insight into this wonderful world of gaming.
My first piece will be about Catan, so keep your eyes peeled for it.