Catan Dice Game Review
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Players: 1-4 (ages 7+)
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

For many hard-core board-gamers, The Settlers of Catan is the ultimate board game. But for those who are a bit intimidated by Settlers, the Catan Dice Game offers a less involved—and less time-consuming—alternative.

The Catan Dice Game is like a mix of the original Settlers board game and the classic dice game, Yahtzee. At the beginning of the game, each player gets a score sheet, which shows the game map. The object of the game is to make your way around the map, building roads, knights, settlements, and cities—and earning points for doing so—along the way.

On each turn, you have a maximum of three rolls of the six resource dice (which depict six resources: brick, lumber, wool, grain, ore, and gold) to get the resources needed to build something. For instance, to build a settlement, you need bricks, lumber, wool, and wheat. If you can get the resources needed in three rolls of the dice, you mark it off on your map and record the points you’ve earned for the build.

At the end of 15 turns, the player with the most points wins the game.

Though it takes a while to read through the instructions and figure out all of the rules, once you’ve got it all figured out, the Catan Dice Game is surprisingly simple to play. Even young players will catch on quickly—making it a great introduction to the Catan games.

That’s not to say, though, that the game is too simple. It presents a variety of challenges, and you’ll need to figure out which strategies work best for you. For instance, while gold isn’t a resource that’s used for any build, if you roll two golds, you can trade them for one other resource. Also, while cities will earn you the most points of any build, they’re difficult to build—and you have to build an extra road before you can build the city, so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the risk (and the extra build) to earn those points.

With each game, you’ll learn new strategies, but you’ll have to be flexible—because everything depends on the dice you roll. So while strategies play a part in the game’s outcome, there’s still plenty of luck involved, too—which keeps things fair for players of all ages and skill levels.

If you’ve shied away from The Settlers of Catan in the past—or if you’re a Settlers junkie and you want to introduce your kids to the basic concepts of the game—the Catan Dice Game is a great place to start. But even if you know nothing about Settlers, you’ll enjoy playing this simple yet challenging dice game. I highly recommend picking up a copy for your next family game night.

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