the best board game you’ve never heard of…

Looking for something to do with your family during your downtime when you travel? We love to take a board game called Settlers of Catan with us whenever we road trip.

Ok, maybe some of you have heard of this game by now.  It has sold over 22 million copies so far, having expanded far beyond its German origins.  However, I suspect many of you have never even heard of it, let alone played it.

We tired of Monopoly, Life, and Trivial Pursuit decades ago.  On occasion we enjoy Catchphrase, but Catan is by far our favorite, holding our attention for over a year now.  We feel most other board games lack strategy, but this one is the perfect combination of strategy and luck.  It may seem like a lot of rules upon first reading of the instructions. However, it only takes one 30 minute practice round to learn how to play this game.

There is definitely some luck involved with the roll of the die. We try to tell ourselves that this must be why our twelve year old keeps beating us. She wins time and time again, so she must be VERY lucky… or her strategy and negotiating skills are top notch! Settlers of Catan requires constant strategy and decision making, which is why we haven’t yet bored of this game. We mostly play it when we travel to our off-the-grid house in Baja Mexico. We also have a copy at home, as well because it is a great alternative to watching Netflix.

This board game is so popular amongst our family that when we are in Baja, there is usually a line for the “next game.” We will soon be adding the expansion pack to our collection because of this, as it would be fun if we could all play together. It is fabulous to watch how each person devises their own strategy and plan of attack. This sometimes leads to frustration for a player, and lots of laughs from the rest of us.

For some reason, several of our friends and family have decided that going for the LONGEST ROAD (one of several ways to earn points) is a path to victory.  However, even if you get points for building the longest road, you can lose the points if someone builds a longer road afterwards.  So the longest road builder will try to discourage others from trying so that he to can focus on scoring new points rather than maintaining the longest road.  “Don’t even TRY to build the longest road.” In fact, our daughter executed one of her best “sneaky” strategies recently in a game. She sandbagged us out of nowhere to claim the LONGEST ROAD and win the game.  Her father was so surprised and annoyed by his defeat that he threw a bit of a tantrum before realizing that he should be proud of his daughter instead of lamenting his defeat.

Check it out… (We are in no way affiliated to Catan… we just REALLY love it!)

settlers-of-catan family game travel blog

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