Monday, May 04, 2009

The Perfect Game, Cake

The board game Settlers of Catan has become the Brookies' new pastime. It's like Monopoly plus Risk, without the problems of Monopoly and Risk:
the reason we don't play much Risk and Monopoly as adults is that those are actually poorly designed games, [...] "Monopoly has you grinding your opponents into dust. It's a very negative experience. It's all about cackling when your opponent lands on your space and you get to take all their money." Monopoly, in fact, is a classic example of what economists call a zero-sum game. For me to gain $100, you have to lose $100. For me to win, you have to be bankrupt. Gouging and exploiting may be perfect for humiliating your siblings, but they're not so great for relaxing with friends.

Monopoly also fails with many adults because it requires almost no strategy. The only meaningful question in the game is: To buy or not to buy? Most of its interminable three- to four-hour average playing time (length being another maddening trait) is spent waiting for other players to roll the dice, move their pieces, build hotels, and collect rent.

"Settlers" is much more enjoyable:

Instead of direct conflict, German-style games tend to let players win without having to undercut or destroy their friends. This keeps the game fun, even for those who eventually fall behind. Designed with busy parents in mind, German games also tend to be fast, requiring anywhere from 15 minutes to a little more than an hour to complete. They are balanced, preventing one person from running away with the game while the others painfully play out their eventual defeat. And the best ones stay fresh and interesting game after game.
Although playing online (user name HarrisonBrookie) is fun, nothing beats playing with friends. This is especially true when its your wife's birthday and she has a Settlers of Catan cake to go with it:


  1. Shelley12:37 AM

    Thanks for the shout out!

  2. You might have the coolest wife in the world, fyi. Does she have sister(s)?

  3. Ha, thanks but sadly she is the only daughter in the family.


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