A couple of weeks ago my family started playing the card game Anomia. We are enjoying our gaming nights so much that we started playing a new card game called The Struggle for Catan. It's similar to the Settlers of Catan, except there's no board, and no pieces to accidentally knock around (which is my 9-year-old daughter's special skill). The goal of Struggle, like Settlers, is to collect 10 victory points, which you earn by trading in resources to acquire roads, cities, and knights.
There are a lot of rules to keep the interest level up throughout the game. The real fun begins when the game runs out of road and knight cards. When these precious possessions are exhausted, players can steal cards from other players. My wife's strategy is to pretend to be nice for the first part of the game, then steal cards from everyone in a blitz for a surprise victory. I swear I won't be fooled again.
It takes about 45 minutes to play Struggle for Catan, though I imagine we will be able to finish a game in a little over 30 minutes once we get the hang of the game mechanics.
It was easy to learn how to play. The instruction booklet includes a link to a website where you can watch a sample game being played by cartoon characters who explain what they are doing. It's a good way to learn how to play without reading the instructions.
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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