Today was different, in that we had a plan. For my birthday I received a new board game, The Settlers of Catan, from Patty's brother and sister in law. I was really hoping to have it for this month, so it's arrival was greeted with much joy. This game was created in 1995 and is probably the best board game to be created in the last twenty years or more.
What makes Settlers so great is that it is fun for all ages. I know that phrase is always used for any game, but this one really was fun for mom and dad and kids alike. It's a strategy game, in which you build roads, settlements and cities, all the while competing for resources and such. It sounds complicated, and at first glance it kind of is, but once you've played it once, it's really rather simple.
The best thing about Settlers of Catan, and where it is so genius, is that there is a random element to it. You can win this game by planning a brilliant strategy and executing it perfectly. But there is also luck, and that luck can strike at the worst times for the brilliant strategy. When we played it took us about two hours, and my daughter ended up winning. She was probably the least planned and strategized, but the game fell into her hands at a few key moments (daddy might have helped her strategize a bit too...).
The game involves trading, which makes cooperation with one another essential, yet at the same time, has a way to trade with "foreign lands" if nobody will trade with you, making the game still fun if everyone turns against you and refuses to trade. I am really impressed overall with the design of the game.
Oftentimes games with a luck element feel pointless, because it's all just luck. This game is not. Strategy is crucial and makes a big difference, but the luck element is there to insure that the best player doesn't always win. Another great feature is the fact that the game board can be set up randomly, so that it is different every time you play. This avoids the "everyone wants austrailia" element of repetitive strategy you find in games like Risk.
We played until almost ten pm. I altered the rules a bit to end the game early, because the kids were getting REALLY tired. We need to try it again, starting earlier.
We listened to only two CD's last night, primarily because we were all playing the game so we didn't really need music on...
Before playing Settlers I put on Supernatural by Santana. This album is a masterpiece. Most known for the megahit "Smooth" the album is excellent from top to bottom. The collaboration with other artists means that the sound varies quite a bit while still retaining a cohesiveness.
We also listened to Much Afraid by Jars of Clay. To be honest, I was never all that impressed with this CD. It simply blends into the background. It is the musical equivalent of beige. It served it's purpose (background music to settlers of catan) perfectly.
All told, a very good night. A TV-less one.