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Best Dorm Board Games: Settlers of Catan

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Best Dorm Board Games: Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan

Photo by Jackie Burrell

The Bottom Line

This award-winning strategy game is especially popular with the teen and 20something crowd - and guys, in particular, love it. It's a guaranteed dorm pleaser, fairly easy to learn, but with enough depth to keep people playing night after night after night.
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  • An addictive, intense strategy game for teens and adults.
  • Between the variable board layout and expansion packs, the game has near infinite playability.
  • Fairly easy to learn, but with enough depth to keep things interesting.
  • Guys, in particular, are addicted to this game.


  • The game is a bit complicated, so it takes at least one run-through to figure out.
  • If you want to play with more (or fewer) players, you'll need to buy an expansion pack.


  • Award-winning, best selling German strategy game for 3-4 players.
  • Players take on the role of colonists settling the island of Catan by building roads, settlements and cities.
  • Expansion packs available to expand the number of players, add interesting terrain elements and characters.
  • Winner of the Game of the Year award in Germany, the United States and other countries.

Guide Review - Best Dorm Board Games: Settlers of Catan

When it comes to board games, few have the fanatical teen and young adult following of Settlers of Catan. The award-winning strategy game is so popular, game shops hold regular Settlers of Catan nights for teen and adult players - and so do some dorms. The game is also played at Catan tournaments and conventions, and has 60,000 fans of Facebook. In short, it's one popular game.

Part of the appeal is the strategy component, of course. But the game's flexible playing board is infinitely variable, and when you add in the expansion packs, it makes for a game with near-endless playability.

The game is played on a set of 19 hexagonal tiles that represent different types of terrain - hills with brick kilns, pastures whose sheep yield wool, mountains with ore, fields of grain, forests of lumber, and one desert. How those tiles are arranged is up to the players. Would-be Settlers start conquering territory by building settlements, cities and roads, using the natural resources earned from their land. It sounds straightforward, but there's considerable strategy involved in planning and building.

Expansion packs allow more players to play, or add new elements, including seafarers, additional islands, warships, barbarians, knights and even historical tidbits. There are also historical versions in which players build Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall of China or a Trojan fortress. But Settlers is the classic.

It's not a party game - like Apples to Apples or Quelf - but it's big fun for small groups. And a Settlers of Catan game night or party makes a great theme for an 18th birthday party or winter break reunion.

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