A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my enthusiasm for the best-selling board game, Settlers of Catan. My family and I like Catan so much that we bought the portable edition to bring with us on our vacation to Hawaii last week.
The portable edition is much smaller than the standard edition. Above is a photo comparing the playing cards that come with the two editions.
The portable edition's board is also much smaller than the standard edition board.
One advantage of the portable edition is that the playing pieces snap into holes in the board so they won't become loose. This is great, because my 8-year-old daughter has a genetic predisposition to brush pieces off boards with a swipe of her arm at least three times per game. Also, setup is much quicker with the portable edition -- the standard edition requires piecing the gameboard together, and the flimsy cardboard pieces want to pop out of place. (They really should make the pieces out of wooden tiles!)
The disadvantage of the portable edition is that the numbers for the hexes can't be changed like they can with the Standard Edition (I know that some people have come up with neat workarounds for this, which is great). Another minor annoyance is that all the pieces fell out and got mixed up after each flight, even though the box has vacu-form plastic insert with bins to organize and hold the cards and parts.
We enjoyed using the portable edition once we arrived in Hawaii. But I didn't want to play it on the airplane, because I was certain we would lose some of the cards or the many small pieces required to play the game. The portable edition is so convenient that we will probably use it at home from now on, reserving the large addition for the Catan expansion packs that we will inevitably purchase.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects