Settlers of Catan. This is a board game where you build settlements, cities, and roads for Victory Points using resources like wood, iron ore, bricks, wheat, and sheep. First to 10 Victory Points, wins. Games can go on for a while, especially if you have a lot of people.
We have been playing Settlers for years now. In fact, my brother got us a new game for Christmas a couple years ago because our other one was so worn out.
I’m not going to tell you how to play; they have good directions for that. I want to tell you about our house rules for Settlers.
Sometimes we get bored, so we pass around a sheet of paper and everyone is allowed to add a new rule. Something like this:
- When an 8 is rolled, everyone moves a seat to the left.
- A settlement costs 4 sheep.
- If a 12 is rolled, the roller may switch any two numbers on the board.
It usually makes for a messed up game but it’s enough to get us laughing again. In this way, we stumbled upon a rule that we loved so much, we use it every time we play.
The 7 rule. In regular Settlers, if you roll a 7, you discard half of your hand if you have over 7 cards, you also move the robber and steal a card from someone on the hex you placed the robber. In our version you can still do all of the above OR you can call a number as if you had just rolled it. Which means everyone at the table gets resources for that number. The robber still gets reset to the desert and you still have to discard if you have too many cards. It is the best rule we have ever come up with.
We only have one other house rule for Settlers: no extortion. For a while, my enterprising sister-in-law would offer a card to someone who had rolled a seven or played a knight (which allows you to move the robber and steal a card) in exchange for NOT putting the robber on her hexes (the robber also blocks future resources until moved). She was happy because she at least got to choose which card she lost and the player was happy because he got more cards from players willing to pay him off. It got a little out of control with people demanding higher and higher tributes and some people not participating in the extortion on principle. So, no extortion.
Settlers of Catan is a great game for grown-ups and kids alike. The youngest kid at our house that can play a full game is 9.