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Subject: Why do people hate Settlers of Catan rss

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Dan T
United States
Massachusetts
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So, people like to hate on Settlers of Catan left and right on this site, and I am confused why.

Things I love about Settlers:
- You need to react to your opponents constantly
- You can trade, and the supply and demand is constantly changing
- Fair game (no way to stack the deck and almost all maps provide each player with a viable option at winning)
- Changing maps and ports makes the game a bit different each time
- Exciting game (luck, trading, development cards)

Things I like about Settlers
- You can screw over other players, but you are focused on helping yourself
- There are not a ton of rules. I am not looking for a simple game, but I find that the less rules in the game, the more freedom you have with your strategies. You can use some creative and fun strategies in this game.
- Games are not decided too early on
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steven slater
England
County of Essex
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The luck is the main problem. So we have not rolled 5 sevens in a row, great that. So I have all the 6 resources yet we only roll 10's and 11's.

BY the way I have seen games decided (in effect) within a few moves. It's rare but it does happen. But you can have a situation where a player has no real chance of expanding early on (fairly regularly).
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K Septyn
United States
Unspecified
Michigan
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Dereferenced variable scope line 68109: check null set failed (0xff83de47)
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Because hating on Monopoly is getting passe?
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David Kahnt
United States
Laurinburg
North Carolina
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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You know, they say there was a man who jumped from the forty-FIFTH floor? But that's another story...
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So I still like Settlers of Catan... sue me...

-DK
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Terry Gwazdosky
United States
Clinton
Maine
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It seems to still be selling well, so *someone* must like it.

We don't play it much anymore but that's as much to do with all the new games we've bought recently as anything else.
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Jill Reid
United States
Lincoln
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We have a house rule of using 2 sets of dice (one red set that counts for progress cards), and that eliminates the dry spells with your numbers not coming up. Of course, there is more chance for having too many cards in your hand when a "7" is rolled. But it makes the game flow better for all players.

We love Catan at our house and don't understand the Catan-hate. There is so much to do with Catan and its expansions, and a few house rules as needed. For us, it is always played with Catan: Cities & Knights and The Settlers of Catan: The Fishermen of Catan and Harbormaster from Catan: Traders & Barbarians. This gives us more routes to victory points.

As always, to each his own. Everyone's game taste won't be the same. So the Catan-hate doesn't ruin it for us.
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Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
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Hate for Settlers is probably more relative to a person's enjoyment of another game(s). When Settlers first came out, there was really nothing like it. A lot of the current haters actually loved Settlers once upon a time, because it was so much better than anything else they had played. Fast forward a decade or so and thousands more boardgames have been put out borrowing their influences from other games and bringing something new to the table at the same time. The state of boardgaming (IMHO) has changed quite a bit in that time and there now exists many games that are much better than Settlers. That doesn't make Settlers a bad game. It just looks bad when compared to all of the great games we have now.
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Dan T
United States
Massachusetts
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slatersteven wrote:
The luck is the main problem. So we have not rolled 5 sevens in a row, great that. So I have all the 6 resources yet we only roll 10's and 11's.


Why do people need games to be purely based off of performance. Yes, having games without luck leads to the "correct" person winning, but luck adds to the excitement of the game. The luck balances out, and players can decide to diversify and reduce the effects of luck or put all their eggs in 1 basket and heighten it.

Basically, I feel that settlers is one of the more exciting board games because of the interaction with other players (on the board, trading, robbers), luck (development cards and dice), and plenty of strategy involved.
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steven slater
England
County of Essex
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BigAlJ7 wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
The luck is the main problem. So we have not rolled 5 sevens in a row, great that. So I have all the 6 resources yet we only roll 10's and 11's.


Why do people need games to be purely based off of performance. Yes, having games without luck leads to the "correct" person winning, but luck adds to the excitement of the game. The luck balances out, and players can decide to diversify and reduce the effects of luck or put all their eggs in 1 basket and heighten it.

Basically, I feel that settlers is one of the more exciting board games because of the interaction with other players (on the board, trading, robbers), luck (development cards and dice), and plenty of strategy involved.
I did not say there should be no luck, but I have seen games won and lost on luck alone.
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Scott Nelson
United States
Idaho Falls
Idaho
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Bad luck. Also, Puerto Rico came out and was so much more fun and deeper...and I wanted deeper...then I found Antiquity and Roads and Boats...voila! no need for catan.
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
United States
North Smithfield
Rhode Island
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I don't really HATE Settlers, I'm just really not a fan. I haven't played it a whole lot, so perhaps it's just the groups I've played with (I've never played it with family & Friends). But each time I've played, the trading portion of turns seemed very uninteresting...almost obligatory.

The luck factor is a bit high, but that's not usually a problem.

I dislike the fact that it can only play 3 or 4 (without an expansion).

Two games that I DO like that have things in common with Settlers.

1) Ad Astra - A space exploration game where you gather resources by seeking out planets that contain what you're looking for. There are no dice in this one, so each player must lay a card down when he wants to produce resources, which he can trade in to build colonies, factories, spaceships, and terraformers. It's Settlers in space without the lucky rolls.

2) Boomtown - This is a card game that takes place in the old west. At the end of each round, one player rolls the dice, which will pay out gold to for any mines with that number. This is one of many ways to obtain gold, which equals VP at game's end.

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Steven McBride
United States
Oakland
California
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I really like Catan.

That said, I would play so many games over Catan. Pretty much anything. Three reasons for this: 1) I have played it a lot as it was the only game my friends would play for a while there, and 2) it really needs to have the right group. I have played games with 4 players that took over 2 and a half hours because nobody would trade with anybody. Thats too long for a game like Catan. 3) Kingmaking. Towards end game the player in last place who has no chance of recovery will simply trade away the victory to the leader, knowingly or not, to end the game. This can be very annoying for the other players.

Granted, these are not issues with the game, they are operator errors, but they are errors nonetheless. However, given the right group, Catan is in the elite ranks, IMO. I just dont want to have to find out if we have the right group, I would rather just play another game.
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Erik Tengblad
Sweden
Uppsala
Uppsala
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Y'know, I was thinking about starting a thread asking the same thing, but about Monopoly rather than Settlers.

There does seem to be an unreasonable amount of dislike towards games like Monopoly, Settler etc around these parts and I can't quite figure out why. I won't say that Settlers is my favourite game ever, but it IS a good one and it was one of the games that got me into board gaming a few years back.

If I'm allowed to hazard a guess I think it's because of the same kind of mentality that many hardcore computer / console gamers possess - if a game is not "hardcore" enough, if it is too simple or approachable, it sucks and is the worst game ever.

Suppose it is elitism in a way? If something is too popular, if casual gamers can like it, then obviously the game is not good enough! I mean, we're smarter gamers with more refined tastes than the "normals", so any game that is mainstream must be bad. No real gamer ever enjoy a game like that!

I never quite understood this kind of thinking myself. Just because something is popular doesn't mean it is bad.

Of course, there are people who dislike it for proper reasons! They don't enjoy the luck element, or the robber/bandit mechanic, or whatever. That's completely fine. But to say that Settlers is a flat out bad game is just wrong.
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Jamie Tang
United States
Baltimore
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We like Settlers a lot. We have almost all of the expansions. Our cards are completely worn out, we have played it so much. I like the variants, especially the Geographies maps.

It makes me sad that many people only want to play things that are new. Settlers was revolutionary when it came out and it is still a good game. One limiter on Settlers is that it works best with 4 and sometimes you don't have 4 people.
 
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
United States
North Smithfield
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BigAlJ7 wrote:
luck adds to the excitement of the game. .


I couldn't agree more. Yeah, there's a certain amount of satisfaction playing chess, but luck keeps everyone interested in the game. How much fun would Ticket to Ride, Power Grid, or Carcassonne be if there wasn't some kind of luck factor involved?

The best games in my book are a mix of strategy and luck. There's a place for Candy Land and a place for chess..,luckily, most of these games fall somewhere between these 2 extremes.
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steve perkins
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Telford
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Purely the luck factor. I've tried to like it, it has got that likeable look and feel to it. I've tried a number of times in fact.

However, each time the game has been won by the luckiest player, who got lucky in the first 20 minutes of the game. They get all the resources they need to build to other areas and then they get resources on most dice rolls, so they don't need the luck after that. shake

They've also taken the better spots as well, so the unlucky player's, in other words me, have to build on the 11 and 3 spots, once we've had some crumbs that the dice have finally let us have. soblue
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Liam Liam
Scotland
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I love it and rate it highly based on the years of enjoyment.

This said it's too long with too much luck and too few meaningful decision making opportunities. Further, it often creates dead duck players who can do nothing having been blocked in.

It only gets better with Catan: Cities & Knights.

I love it. woodwheatsheepbrick
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Dan T
United States
Massachusetts
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monkeyhandz wrote:
I love it and rate it highly based on the years of enjoyment.

This said it's too long with too much luck and too few meaningful decision making opportunities. Further, it often creates dead duck players who can do nothing having been blocked in.

It only gets better with Catan: Cities & Knights.


I don't know about others, but I usually will play 3 or so games in a row. Each game will take about 45 min. Dead duck players can sometimes happen, but that usually happens only if 2 players decide to challenge each other. There are often many strategies to avoid the dead duck scenario. Cities and Knights is what makes it take a while.

steve perkins wrote:
Purely the luck factor. I've tried to like it, it has got that likeable look and feel to it. I've tried a number of times in fact.

However, each time the game has been won by the luckiest player, who got lucky in the first 20 minutes of the game. They get all the resources they need to build to other areas and then they get resources on most dice rolls, so they don't need the luck after that. shake

They've also taken the better spots as well, so the unlucky player's, in other words me, have to build on the 11 and 3 spots, once we've had some crumbs that the dice have finally let us have. soblue


I guess... 7s and knights help deal with somebody running away with the game. Also, if you have few spots left, cities and development cards can be the equalizer. Ports can also help deal with bad luck. I just feel there are enough strategies that it is hard for luck to take you out of the game. Also, luck plays into the winner, but it is just one factor.
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Uncle Bouncy
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It's the dry spells for me
Incredibly boring if you can't do anything

And as it's been said

There are so many better games out there
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Dan T
United States
Massachusetts
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Uncle Bouncy wrote:
It's the dry spells for me
Incredibly boring if you can't do anything

And as it's been said

There are so many better games out there


I've tried games like Agricola and Power Grid and I do enjoy them a lot, but to me they still don't have the human aspect of Settlers.
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Anthony DuLac
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I fully agree with you, though I've not noticed undue dislike of the game here, necessarily, though I don't hang around the Settlers page or the Euro threads much.

I think a few reasons are:

1. Diehard Euro players dislike it due to the extra (admittedly easily mitigated) luck aspect - they're prefer a dry, predictable game with patterns that can aren't mucked up by a random element.

2. Euro player also dislike trading, in general, because it mucks up their use of a planned, predictable solution - since most Euros inevitably (not all of 'em, of course) have a couple of solutions that can eventually be figured out. Trading requires a whole different set of skills that don't always mesh with figuring out the best economical use of placing tiny wooden pieces for maximum scoring output.

3. People inevitably hate on anything that's popular or top of the heap. That's a given.

4. You'll hear the complaints that "if the dice don't roll good, you have nothing to do." Not really true - the fact of the matter is that you have a lot of control over not being in this position in the first place AND the game offers alternative ways to change gears and/or slow down the leader. The Robber helps curtail one player getting ahead while the trading aspect can help players keep a lead player in check, as well (by not trading with a winning player). Furthermore the game offers the Development Cards which can also dig a player out of a tough spot. I think that (again) gamers (particularly Euro fans) who dislike it aren't used to having to change gears in their games all that often and especially not having to do so with more specifically American-style mechanics (trading, for example).

5. It's a game that successfully (one of the very, very few) merges American-style games with Euro gameplay and in that scenario, you're going to have players who want it to be more Euro or more American-style and thus neither groups will be terribly excited by it.

Finally a couple of sidenotes:

A. Cities and Knights, while enjoyable, doesn't really improve the original gameplay as much as just changing it to a different game, and not one that I think is terribly fun or better. I'd say stick to SeaFarers matched with the base game for best results.

B. I do see it as an exceptionally good gateway game - I've never taught it to a single non-gamer who didn't just immediately adore it. Such a fantastic game.
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Liam Liam
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BigAlJ7 wrote:
Cities and Knights is what makes it take a while.


I'd agree it can add considerable time. We tend to play with a larger board to speed it up.

If you play Catan with 4 players then the dead duck scenario is common and unless you're cautious there is often nothing you can do about it.

3 games in a row! - We used to do this.
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Clay Hales
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Tucson
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I don't hate it, but I don't put it on a pedestal in any way. It is not a gateway game for me. If it would have been played in place of my gateway game, I would have stuck with mass market games.

As for the luck factor being a minus, I completely agree. First two games of Catan were hideously boring. It was roll, don't collect anything, can't trade because don't really have anything. Repeat until the guy who owns the game wins. Both games, same result. Sure it isn't going to happen like that often, but it leaves an impression when it does.
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Jason Root
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It's not that people hate Settlers. It's that they like other games a lot more.
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Scott Hill
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BigAlJ7 wrote:
So, people like to hate on Settlers of Catan left and right on this site, and I am confused why.


They're game snobs, that's why.

Catan is not a bad game.
It's got some really good aspects to it.
But the haters will hate.
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