Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Struggling to find something nice to say about Catan Dice

As near as I can tell, I actually haven't written about the Catan Dice Game, other than taking playing it solitaire back when I had an android phone. Which is odd, because I was pretty sure that I had. Well, if I did, it would have been close to ten years ago.

Okay, short version. The Catan Dice Game is really, when you get down to it, Yahtzee that uses a Catan map for a score sheet. You build roads and villages and cities and knights, albeit in a specific order. The five resources are on the rather nice dice, plus gold. Two gold make a wild and the knights each serve as one-time resources.

And I ultimately found the game dull, even disappointing. I actually enjoy Yahtzee and games like Take It Easy that are genuinely multi-player solitaire. But, for me, the heart and selling point Catan franchise is the heavy player interaction. 

It also doesn't help that, since then, I have played dice games like the Zooloretto dice game and the Bohnanza dice game that used mechanics from their parent games and felt like I was playing games from their franchises. The Catan Dice Game just doesn't measure up to that comparison.

I do have two caveats.

First of all, I play it a lot back when I had an Android phone. It was fun as a way of fidgeting. 

Second of all, I understand Klaus Teuber actually originally designed a more complicated and interactive game and his publishers insisted on the simpler version. (Since the dice game has sold very well, I can't even say they were wrong.) Since the initial release, which is when I got my copy, variance have been released and some are even now included in the game.

So if you want to accuse me of not giving the game a fair shake, that's reasonable. It has clearly come a ways since that first edition.

I was tempted to buy a copy again when I saw it on clearance the other day. The original base game was pretty meh for me but I do like the dice and maybe some of the variants would make them sing.

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