The Struggle for Catan is a fast-paced card game that lasts around 10-15 minutes with two players, set in the world of the classic board game.
Before I bought this, I’d always been aware of the big brother to this game, Catan (formerly known as the Settlers of Catan) but had never tried it out.
I wasn’t really in the market for another big-box game, but after trying out the Catan app for Android I was tempted.
There are a number of games produced under the Catan name; among them there’s the full game, a dice game, a purely two player game and The Struggle For Catan.
I decided on this one because too many reviews claimed the two player-only game, Rivals for Catan, is too much like two solo games playing out side by side, with little player interaction.
Having played this with a fan of the full Catan game, I’m told it contains flavours of the board game, but is obviously a very pared-down version with simple nods to the original.
Players compete to build the largest settlement they can, trading materials and goods in exchange for features like cities, city expansions and roads.
Each of these features is worth a certain number of victory points, and the first to ten wins.
On the face of it this is a very simple game. There is a central pool of cards, the market, which players can use to acquire further cards (the Trade phase of the players’ turns). But players can also trade with each other and a central shared deck of resources.
Key to this game is that there are only a finite number of features which can be acquired to be built from the market or deck. Once the roads, settlements and cities are gone, it’s time to start taking them from an opponent.
This is especially true of cards like the Knight, which allows players to draw an extra card in the Draw phase. There are only two Knight cards available in the two player version of the game, so very quickly these begin swapping between players as they vie for the ability to draw extra cards.
Roads are features which allow players to trade more cards than the standard one which the game allows, and again, there are a finite number of these cards available before players begin to take their opponent’s resources. So these cards form the basis of acquiring decent hands.
Meanwhile, settlements can grow to become cities, and cities can expand. Each expansion gives a player more victory points.
The artwork is nice, Euro-game style, with a clean and simple look. There’s not an awful lot of variation, but there doesn’t need to be as this is a small game.
Does it work with two players?
It does. It’s a fine two player game. It plays up to four, and from experience, adding the extra players certainly adds an extra element of tension and purpose to the game as you race to collect resources.
I’ve played the two player game in 10 minutes, with a three player lasting closer to 45 as players battle to steal roads and knights, with a lot of back-and-forth taking place. I think I actually prefer the two player game, but serious gamers might prefer the added competition introduced in the three and four player versions.
The speed of game is just right for it to be a decent filler.
Take a look at the game’s official page here.
The Dice Tower took a look at the game on YouTube here.