Gaming > Table-top Games

Struggle For Catan


Along with a purchase of some other used games, my wife picked up a card game that is part of a well known brand but I hadn’t even heard of before - Struggle For Catan. The Settlers Of Catan Card Game that we’ve had for years, and subsequently became Rivals Of Catan, is quite different. This is a card game for 2 to 4 players that can be played in about 30 minutes.

In Struggle For Catan, the main part of the game that is familiar for Settlers Of Catan players are the Building Costs. Collecting new resources only happens through card draws at the end of the turn and the types of resources picked up has nothing to do with what you’ve built. The number of cards drawn is based on how many Knights the player has. Trading is also different than the original board game since it is either done with a market on the table or usually at random with other players (more of a forced swap than mutually beneficial trade).

My wife and I played Struggle For Catan for the first time yesterday and then once again today. Even with some slow spots, this game still took less than an hour each time.

Yesterday's game was pretty even with us both starting off picking up Knights and then getting a fairly even amount of Settlements. Fairly early in the game I managed to get the Library as a City Expansion, so I was able to chose what I needed from her hand as a trade, which helped quite a bit. I think I got one more Settlement than Beth did by the end of the game and was able to secure my win by getting a second City Expansion card.

Due to the way that yesterday's game went, we both immediately realized how important having a Knight was. I still managed to get a good lead by keeping the Knight away from Beth, reducing the number of cards she was able to pick up each turn in comparison to my own, and I quickly grabbed up as many of the Settlements as I could, so she only had 2 at the end of the game. Unfortunately, the same thing that I did to her at the beginning of the game came back to haunt me in the 2nd half of the game. Since eventually got a Church, which kept me from taking the 1st Knight from her, I struggled to hold onto the one Knight that I could keep myself. She was able to build up a good handful of cards and got the City Expansion that was worth 4 Victory Points, so all she needed to do was get a couple roads from me to win. We struggled back and forth to maintain the 1 Knight and a few Roads and then eventually I was able to build my 2nd City. I could also have chosen a City Expansion card at that point since I did have one City, but I was hoping to get Brigands Attack with my upgrade to a City in order to reduce Beth's options since she had lots of cards. Unfortunately, that was where I missed the key to victory. I continued to struggle getting cards and keeping the Knight and Roads, but eventually I was unable to get the cards I needed for building and Beth was able to take that moment to get the last Victory Point she needed with the Road. After her victory she pointed out that she was glad I wasn't able to build the Castle. The Castle card was right on top of the City Expansion deck, facing toward her so she could read it. I didn't think much of it, thinking it was just going to block her from stealing my last Road, but if I had just built the Castle City Expansion it would have completely blocked her from winning because it would have blocked her from ever getting 3 of my Road cards. Since I already had all the Settlements, she couldn't get any more points other than from the Knights and Roads.

The second time we played this game, it seemed more like a tug-of-war for a lot of it. We would take a Road or a Knight and then our opponent would take a Road or a Knight back. In our first game, that tug-of-war for Roads and Knights happened a little, but no where near as much as our second game. Still, comparing this game to The Settlers Of Catan Card Game (Rivals Of Catan), the Struggle For Catan is a quicker and easier game to play, which makes it much better for me to break out with my wife. I do still look forward to checking out how the game works with more players.

Although I thought this would be a game that we might break out more often, my wife admitted that she was bored of it after our last game. I guess the two-player tug-of-war for the roads and knights just did it in for this game. Maybe when we get a chance to try it again with 3 or 4 players it will do better.

Yesterday I played against Isaac. Isaac won that game. Isaac built the Library early in the game and used it quite a bit to take what I needed and destroy my plans.

We came up with some house rules that we thought might improve the game, at least for 2-players.

Today, we played again, this time with Beth. Playing with 3-player seems better. There was less of the tug-of-war feel, but we did also include our new rule to replace the Library and no one ended up building that Library/Harbor. Isaac won again. 

Here's what we thought of for House Rules. If you try these out, let us know what you think:
1) Replace Library card with a Harbor which would allow a 2:1 payment during building. 
2) Settlements can change hands the same way that Roads and Knights can. Once a Settlement is upgraded to a City another player can't take that particular card.
3) The Castle card will only protect 2 Roads for the 2 player game. (No change for 3 or 4 players.)


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