Settlers of Catan on Xbox 360 was my very first introduction to Euro-style board games. Granted it was a video game console adaptation of a board game, it still piqued my interest in the genre that eventually snowballed into the blog page you’re reading now.
I eventually purchased the physical copy of Settlers of Catan, but unfortunately, it’s pretty much just my wife and myself who play board games and it doesn’t play well with two players. We do use the 2-player variant resource cards and rules, but it’s still not great with only two.
The Deluxe Edition includes a leather dice cup, 6 dice, each with resources engraved on each side, a rulebook, and a notepad of game cards/scorecards. The nice part about the notepad is that it’s double-sided and each side is its own game variant.
Side 1, or “Island One” is good for single player mode. The rules say that it’s for multiple players, which certainly could accommodate as many players that want to play, but there’s no real sense of interaction. Essentially, this mode is like Yahtzee with a Catan-like twist. I had fun playing this in solo-mode, but in actuality, if you wanted to play with someone on the other side of the globe, you could just each play and then compare scores. Sitting next to each other isn’t really necessary as you’re just rolling the dice and marking your card.
The gameplay is similar to Catan in that you need X number of resources to build roads, settlements, cities, and knights. The cities and settlements you cross off have to be connected to each other by a road, and they have to be built in the order of the direction that the starting arrow points. After up to 1 roll plus 2 additional optional re-rolls, you mark off the items you’ve built and write the score in the score box for that round. Overall, it’s easy to grasp once you start playing and it’s a fun game that you can play alone.
“Island Two” is for more like a 2-Player Catan experience. You’re going for longest road, largest army, first to 10 points, and you can even use a Catan road piece to mark who has the longest road at the time. If you don’t have a Catan road piece, you can use a checkmark and then cross the check out if someone else overtakes the Longest road or Largest Army.
In Island Two, the knights don’t have to be purchased in any particular order, but to use the Joker knights, you’ll need to be able to purchase 2 of them instead of just one for an ore, sheep and wheat. This side has a much more interactive feel to it as you’re directly competing against each other to try to get your cities and settlements built as quickly as possible.
Overall, Island One is good for single player and Island Two is good for multiplayer. The components feel nice and the leather cup is not only useful for gameplay, but it stores all of the dice and score pad nicely. If you can find a copy of this for $25 or less, I’d definitely check it out.