So last week or so, Toys’r'us has this 50% off blowout on games, and for whatever reason they usually throw some non licensed-Monopoly type game in the mix. Last time I scored the Seafarers of Catan 5-6 player expansion, which really wasn’t a victory at all. This time they had Starship Catan (which I already own, love, and have been too lazy to review) and Settlers of the Stone Age, which I did not own, and desperately needed to get closer to closing the loop on the whole Catan series. So I ordered it for the a-mazing price of $15, and had it two days later.
Luckily, Junior and Smink made themselves available, and Mrs. G was brainwashed into playing. Nicely.
Everyone should be familiar with the standard Catan production, trading, and building phases, so I won’t go into that here. What I will mention is the addition of the four upgrade tracks around the board.
Below is the food upgrade track, culminating in a victory point card.
The Food track increases the number of steps your explorers can move for each “Meat” resource spent.
The Clothing and Shelter tracks allow certain areas of the map to become accessible. For example, to explore the colder northern climes, the Clothing track must be at one or higher.
In the picture below, the top left-most segment requires a Clothing level of four, and a Shelter level of two. In the top right-most, a Clothing level of four and a Shelter level of four is needed.
Finally, the Hunting track allows the player to move the Neanderthal and the Sabre-Tooth Tiger around the map. These two characters are similar to the robber in the original Settlers.
When the first player has upgraded one of the tracks to it’s maximum level of five, s/he is awarded a victory point for the track.
Essentially, the game becomes a race around the map, each player trying to capture the best territory on the map and gain tribal victory points. The first person to ten wins.
In our game, Mrs. G immediately decided she was bored, but luckily my brainwashing kept her at bay. Junior managed to screw himself at every turn. Smink was very earnest and quietly intense, often loading up giant hands of cards, that only occasionally got halved by the deadly roll of seven.
Amazingly, even though I constantly made dumb decisions, I was only in second (after Mrs. G, who malevolently kicked ass even while utterly bored.)
Ultimately, I lucked into an easy exploration VP, and narrowly won the race against Junior for the two victory points awarded to the first person to conquer one of each of the four tribes. Then Mrs. G intentionally traded the two resources I needed to make the tenth VP. (Which semi-pissed Smink off, but I was glad to win for once, so tough.)
Luckily, the Meat, Skin, and Bone resources generated enough innuendo to keep us stupidly punch-drunk all the way through. I would love to play this with the usual Blokus crew. Hi-larious.
Did I like the game? Yes. Did anyone else? Still up in the air. Mrs. G didn’t, but what does she like besides being devious and scheming?