Up until last year, I was quite dismissive of board games. Like many, I grew up on a steady diet of Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Monopoly until the siren’s call of video games and The Sims lured me away. Sure, I flirted with the idea of playing more board games last year, and I dipped my toe in the waters by playing classic games such as Mancala, Nine Men’s Morris, and chess but I stayed away from the more intimidating and long-winded ones. I was under the impression they involved a lot of fantasy role play (an idea which is 100% based on the Dungeons and Dragons episode of Community), but I have to admit, as the year went on I became curious. Instead of diving straight into some of the big hitters such as Risk, Dungeons and Dragons, or Catan I found a board-game-lite to start with, the Catan dice game.
I admit I didn’t have a clue what Catan was about other than a vague notion of strategy, but I’ve since learned it’s a game where you play as settlers trying to build more roads, settlements, and cities than your opponent(s). As far as I understand, the dice game is a watered-down version of that. In the Catan dice game, you roll six pictured dice a maximum of three times to get certain symbol combinations that translate to resources (roads, settlements, cities etc.) They, in turn, translate to points, and very simply, the person with the most points wins.
We got off to a bit of a slow start as we familiarised ourselves with all the games rules and nuances, but once we got going it was really engrossing. There’s a tantalising mix of skill and luck involved in winning: yes, you’ve got to have a plan to get the most points, but it all depends on a roll of the dice. I loved this, it made the game a lot more interesting and suspenseful – it came down to the last few rolls in nearly all of our games.
I actually really enjoyed playing this. I wish we could have played with more people, but it was still a lot fun being just the two of us. It’s definitely made me more open to trying some actual board games, I’ve been reassured there’s a whole world out there that isn’t wizard’s and warlocks but still involve all the logic and strategy I love from the board games I have played.
I have Codenames in the cupboard, ready to be played again, but would love to hear any other recommendations if you have any!