Catan board game review

Welcome to Catan. Feel free to settle in :)

Catan board game 1995 cover
Release date
October, 1995
Strategy, Family
60-120 min.
Our Score
Your rating1 Vote

Welcome to Catan island. Don’t be shy, settle in. You and your folks are certainly not shy, in fact, you try to settle at best spots, to claim the most resources. Each tile on board represents a different type of resource – brick, lumber, ore, grain, or wool, and has number tokens onto them, numbered from 2 to 12. Construct cities on tiles’ intersections, throw dice, and acquire resources based on dice values. Roads, settlements, and cities constructed produce Victory Points, the first person that collects 10 VP is the winner.

The following review will cover 4 main parts:
1. Fun
2. Replay value
3. Art & game parts
4. Price of the board game

Feel free to scan it through, or just scroll to the review summary.

Review details

Please note that I reviewed Brain Games Catan edition, which may have slight look, component changes.


To start with, the Catan board game has an interesting set-up process, which basically guarantees a differentiated experience every time you play it. Resource tiles are always placed randomly without looking, on top of that, tokens with number values are randomly placed on them as well.

As a result, every game will have resources that are positioned differently, with different number values, which basically mean different “supply levels”, since you roll dices to obtain them. And combine that with trading tactics that are available at island edges, you are going to get a very high variety of opportunities on how to approach your game.

What is more, a very positive impact is brought to the game via the robber. Every time anyone will roll 7, the most probable value to roll, the robber will be placed by the player who rolled the dice onto his chosen resource tile. In addition to that, the rolling player gets to “steal” a random resource card from another player.

Catan board game 1995 cards, dice and bandit
Catan board game (1995) – resource cards, bandit figure & dice.

If that would not be enough, the robber is also taking any other player’s resources that have 7 or more resource cards at hand – they must give up half of the resources to “the bank”. So that really gives a friendly amount of stress and pressure. The better you place your cities, the more likely that you will gain more resources, and you know that the robber is likely to visit you at any time!

Finally, probably the greatest thing about Catan board game 1995 is interaction with other players. Players are allowed to trade resources between one another, and there is total freedom on how to do that. One resource card to another resource card, or to another 10 cards.

As each game has its own more and less valuable resources, players try to negotiate with each other to snatch more valuable resources or benefit their own strategy. Funny factor, try negotiating with a person that you just robbed!

Replay value

This is a very friendly game in terms of replays. The rules are super easy and clearly written, once you play a few sessions, all will be smooth and clear. Well, maybe buildings construction between already existent roads is a little more complicated…. Just don’t build structures onto intersections that have 2 roads already constructed – that’s forbidden.

And you can always block other players like that – construct your road around player structures and you will reach new horizons of toxicity you never dreamed about! Afterwards, don’t forget to tell your BFF “see you in the Neverland”.

Anyway, back to the replay value… So the rules and rulebook are easy enough, which is great. But what about the mechanic itself. Each player’s turn looks like this: Dice are thrown, everyone checks what resources if any, players obtain. Then the rolling player negotiates and/or trades with players, and constructs structures if capable. Done, next player turn. So you see, that’s a bit repetitive. Throw – negotiate – construct. Simple, but repetitive.

Finally, another positive item about replay value is the choice of strategy. There are two additional strategies that players can follow to gain Victory Points – by constructing the longest road chain, or by collecting the largest army of knights. As players spend their resources obtained to construct structures, they can also spend resources to collect an army card that willingly allows you to move the robber! Collect 3 or more Knight Cards and you will gain additional Victory Points. Finally, some cards that you draw can provide you victory points just like that, out of the blue.

Art & parts

Moving forward, let us very briefly talk about the quality of the components. The resource tiles and number tokens, as well as dice, are definitely qualitative. All good here. Now the structure parts require a little bit more background information. Please note that we reviewed the “Brain Games” publisher edition that does not have wooden building miniatures. Instead, it has plastic city parts. And they simply do not have that pleasant feel of wooden parts, but that does not really decrease the quality or so, more like a matter of preference.

The art looks beautiful and clearly reflects the theme – the pictures on resource cards & tiles are clear and good looking. The robber figure is a little wooden miniature that looks like Jumanji board game figures!

Colorblindness review

For players with color deficiency, we have some pretty good news – this game is playable. Certainly not perfect, as some inconveniences are existent, but that’s still ok. The image below indicates the simulated views of 3 color deficiency types as well as a normal vision.

Simulated views are based on the maximum colorblindness values (100%)

Speaking about structure pieces, they seem to be noticeably different for all colorblindness types. But the inconvenience comes when we look at the resource tiles. Brick, lumber, grain & wool look pretty similarly colored. The same would be with resource cards, but they have separate images of a resource onto cards to clearly differentiate that.

But resource tiles do not have this, though pictures are different from one another, you kind of need to carefully study them, as they are distinct. This would be a little easier if resource cards and tiles would both have identical pictures, but they are different!

Colorblindness rating for Catan board game 1995: Playable (B)


Finally, let us cover the price and value comparison. We are not disclosing any price numbers here due to fluctuations. Of course, the price will differentiate subject to which publisher’s edition are you going to buy and the retailer choice, but we could say that the value of the game and its components are generally worth its price.

Catan board game review
Final remark
One of the most popular games ever. Great fit for families, children & friends. More experienced gamers would still enjoy it from time to time as well.
Replay Value
Art & Parts
Your rating1 Vote
Always fun to replay
Qualitative, good looking components
Fun interaction & negotiation between players
The mechanics are repetitive
For some - too much chance elements

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