Settlers of Catan was the game that got Phillip into the modern board game hobby. He was beaten really badly for a while by a bunch of retired guys at a Target cafe till he learned the ropes. With the Meeple crew it is the same, play nice adjacent till one must fall and try to slingshot yourself to victory.
The problem with this classic is that it is meant for 3 or more players, while my normal game group is only 2 people. I did the smart thing and looked up a variation of the game and am extremely happy that I did as Catan has really had its day in the sun with Heather and I. It isn’t the same but it is typically a good game overall.
Get your own copy of Catan and support your Meeples while you are at it.
How to Play Catan at 2 players
What follows is the variant that Phillip has found to stay true to the feel of the game while still playing at a less then ideal player count.
The first thing you do is remove 1 hex of each resource type; the numbers 2, 3, 6, 8, and 11; a 3:1 port; and 2 roads, a settlement and a city from each player.
Set your board up in the standard shape but the lines will be 2, 3, 4, 3, 2. Place ports randomly around the board at every other hex increments, and place all the numbers down randomly- we shift numbers so pairs and red numbers are not next to each other.
You are now ready to play the game just like you normally do. Roll the dice, collect the resources and build on your turn. First to 10 points wins.
We also play with a variation on the robber as well so it is not as ruthless. We tried the banker robber where any cards that would have to be discarded goes to him and if the number the robber is blocking is rolled, those resources go to him as well. You can trade with the robber at a 2:1 rate on your turn.
Thoughts on the game
Catan is great even if it is old and popular. It does what it does really well and I can’t think of a game that has replaced it yet. I know it has its flaws and nostalgia probably has a hold in there as well but if I want a game that keeps me engaged and that I can have a conversation over at the same time, this is going to be on the list of games worth pulling off the shelf.
I am continually challenged to beat the puzzle of this game each time a board is lain out, perfect strategy can fall to luck, but there is a depth here that people now overlook for newer or different games.Phillip, sheep for anything else always
Here is our 2 player gameplay video of Catan on Table for Two, so you can judge for yourself how well it plays at less then ideal numbers.
If you have trouble with strategy, you may want to check out this article on Settler of Catan Starting Settlement Placement Guide.
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Phil is an avid gamer who not only loves board games (he has played 100’s) but is one part of the “Table for Two” board game YouTube series and has designed several of his own board games. In addition to gaming he is all about the DIY life for creating gaming shelves or additional pieces and has a luck with dice that is mathematically infuriating to everyone else at the table most of the time.