Struggle for Catan: cutthroat card game for family fun/fights

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. Read the rest

Gift Guide 2012

Welcome to this year's Boing Boing Gift Guide, a piling-high of our most loved stuff from 2012 and beyond. There are books, comics, games, gadgets and much else besides: click the categories at the top to filter what you're most interested in—and add your suggestions and links in the comments.
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Catan Junior for ages six and up

SeenOnTableTop reviews Catan Junior, a streamlined, simplified pirate-themed version of beloved Boing Boing favorite Settlers of Catan aimed at kids six and up. My daughter's just getting to the age where she's willing to play games with rules (without demanding that the rules be changed halfway through to ensure that she wins!), and this looks like a great, parent-friendly alternative to snoozefests like Candyland and its ilk, though it might be a year before she's quite ready for it.

This past week, at GenCon, I got the opportunity to try out Catan Junior and loved it. I has all of the mechanics of Settlers, while being simplified and streamlined for younger players. While my son was younger than their recommended age, I decided to take the chance and picked it up, anyway.

Last night, after our two day drive home, my son and I played our first game. I had to hold his hand a little bit as he learned the rules, but by the end, he was clear on what each turn consisted of, how to trade resources, and how to build his ships and lairs. On his final turn, he was even able to look at a mismatched pile of resources and spin them into a final, winning lair.

Catan Junior - For ages four and up! (via Beth Pratt) Read the rest

Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day team up for Tabletop, a show about tabletop games

Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day have teamed up to produce a new webshow called Tabletop, "like Celebrity Poker meets Dinner for Five, where we got interesting people we know together for tabletop games." It's a fantastic idea, and the trailer makes it look very promising indeed. Day and Wheaton are two of my favorite indie geek media people, and this is quite an exciting moment!

In season one of the show, we play games like Settlers of Catan, The Last Night on Earth, Munchkin, Small World, and Alhambra. Some of the players include Grant Imahara, Sean Plott (better known as Day[9]), Dodger Leigh, Ryan Higa, Beth Riesgraf, Phil Lamarr, Morgan Webb, Garfunkle and Oats, Veronica Belmont, and Colin Ferguson.

My ulterior motive with Tabletop is to show by example how much fun it is to play boardgames. I want to show that Gamers aren't all a bunch of weirdoes who can't make eye contact when they talk to you, and that getting together for a game night is just as social and awesome as getting together to watch Sportsball, or to play poker, or for a LAN party, or whatever non-gamers do with their friends. I want to inspire people to try hobby games, and I want to remove the stigma associated with gaming and gamers.

I'm pretty sure we succeeded. By the second day of production, our crew was grabbing games out of our games library to play at lunch. All of our interns and production assistants have become complete game fanatics, and whenever I edit a show, all I want to do is go home and play that game until my face falls off.

Read the rest

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2011

Though we're delighted to have our own online toystore up this holiday season, there are a thousand things we could recommend from elsewhere. Cutting it down to a couple of hundred, for our fourth annual gift guide, wasn't easy; this year was a fantastic one for books, games, gadgets and much else besides. From stocking stuffers to silly cars, take yer pick.

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2011

Beautiful 3D printed Settlers of Catan tiles

Shapeways user Tedparsec has created a wide assortment of 3D printed, colorized Settlers of Catan tiles that you can have printed and shipped to you in a wide variety of materials. He's also got a good line on handcrafted, 3D printed RPG miniatures.

tedparsec's designs (via Wonderland) Read the rest

Settlers of Catan: The Novel (with exclusive book trailer)

[Video Link] Here's the book trailer for the new novelization of the game Settlers of Catan. The 620-page novel was written by Rebecca Gable and is published by Amazon. I just started reading an advance copy (got sidetracked by the Jobs biography) but have enjoyed the small amount I've read so far!

The year is 850. In the seas of northern Europe, the small coastal village of Elasund falls prey to marauding neighbors. Their food stores pillaged, women and children stolen, livestock destroyed, the villagers are left to barely survive the harsh winter — and contemplate a drastic solution to their recurring hardships: leaving the only village they have ever known. Foster brothers Candamir and Osmund lead their people on an epic quest to a mythic island home, but without knowledge of exactly where the island is, they must trust the gods to deliver them safely. Lost at sea and set adrift, an extraordinarily violent storm washes them ashore the island famed in pagan lore: Catan. They quickly set about building a new society but old grudges, animosities, and social orders lead to fraternal strife. As the ideals of Candamir’s Christian slave spread throughout the village and conflict with pagan law, the two belief systems clash. When both Osmund and Candamir fall in love with Siglind, the mysterious queen of the Cold Islands, things come to a head.

Based on the wildly popular board game of the same name designed by Klaus Teuber, Rebecca Gable’s The Settlers of Catan is a must-read adventure rich in detail and rippling with intensity.

Read the rest

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Gweek 021: I Go Pogo!

Gweek is Boing Boing’s podcast about movies, science fiction, games, comics, books, gadgets, and other cool stuff.

In episode 21 Rob reports back from ROFLCON and Respect the Internet.


• Rob presents the Boing Boing redesign -- fewest complaints yet!

• Mark reviews the forthcoming Pogo anthology, and discusses the novelization of The Settlers of Catan, a 612-page novel by Rebecca Gable and published by Amazon Crossing.

• Mark thumbs through the new Wired App Guide, singling out the iOS and Android game Squibble.

• Another song by Darling Pet Munkeee, called “Darling Pet Monkey!”

Download Gweek 021 as an MP3 | Subscribe to Gweek via iTunes | Subscribe via RSS | Download single episodes of Gweek as MP3s Read the rest

Settlers of Catan accessory to prevent board mishaps

I've reviewed the Settlers of Catan and the Settlers of Catan Portable Edition. The nice thing about the portable edition's board is that it's not wont to fall apart like the standard edition's is. SJ Brown is taking a different approach to the flimsy Catan board problem by creating a beautiful wooden gameboard accessory for Catan. His Kickstarter video pitch is very funny.

Catan Boardcrafting Read the rest

Time-lapse video taken from International Space Station orbiting Earth at night

It's worth watching the HD version in fullscreen mode.

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.
Time-lapse video taken from International Space Station orbiting Earth at night (Via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

The annotated apocalypse: Anthropologists tackle 2012

It's August of 2011, do you know when your Apocalypse is?

There are 1000s of people who think that something important—if not the end or the world, then something—will happen on December 21, 2012. These speculations spring from a well-seasoned cultural melting pot, but a key ingredient is the writings and beliefs of both ancient and modern Maya people. In fact, the folks promoting the 2012 movement often frame themselves as experts in Maya traditions.

Here's the thing, though: There are actual experts in ancient Maya traditions, and actual experts who study the culture and religion of modern Maya living today. These archaeologists and anthropologists have, inadvertently, created some of the pop culture legends that spawned the 2012 movement. But, until very recently, they've largely ignored that movement. This is starting to change, however. Last January, archaeo-astronomers held a symposium on the 2012 phenomenon and those papers were recently published in The Proceedings of the International Astronomy Union. Meanwhile, a new scholarly book, collecting essays on the 2012 phenomenon by Mayanist researchers, is set to be published soon.

One of the researchers featured in that book is John Hoopes, an archaeologist and one of my former professors when I was an anthropology student at The University of Kansas.

Hoopes does field research, digging at archaeological sites in Costa Rica and other parts of Central and South America. But, as a side project, he's also developed some expertise in the way archaeology—and, particularly, pseudo-archaeology—influences pop culture in the United States and Europe. Read the rest

Wisconsin Democratic voters targeted with Koch-funded absentee ballot notices advising them to vote 2 days after the recall election

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity group has been reportedly distributing fliers in Democrat-leaning Wisconsin districts advising voters to send in their recall absentee ballots "before August 11." The recall election -- in which Democrats are seeking to unseat state Republicans who voted for Governor Scott Walker's attack on unionized labor -- is being held two days earlier, on August 9. AFP has also given $150,000 worth of ad time to Republican candidates facing recall.
A Democrat on the ground in Wisconsin said the fliers were discovered to be hitting doors in District 2 and District 10 over the weekend.

"These are people who are our 1's in the voterfile who we already knew. They ain't AFP members, that's for damn sure," the source said.

One flier was discovered in Hudson, Wisc. where Democrat Shelly Moore is attempting to upend GOP State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf in District 10; the other was found in Kaukauna, where Democrat Nancy Nusbaum is challenging Sen. Robert Cowles in District 2.

AFP Wisconsin ballots have late return date (via Reddit) Read the rest

I'm going to be sad when this is no longer a sign of dorkery

It's been almost two decades since it was first released. So why is Settlers of Catan suddenly becoming so popular? (Thanks, Carrie D.!) Read the rest

Settlers of Catan portable edition

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. Read the rest

Mr 3D Printing Goes to Washington: free conference for Hill rats on Apr 28

Public Knowledge -- whose white paper on the law and 3D printing is required reading -- is throwing a conference in DC for wonks, policymakers, regulators, staffers and all manner of Hill rat. The event's on April 28, and it's free:
On April 28th at 3Dâš¡DC, the 3D printing community will descend on Washington, DC to show policymakers what they are up to. Panels will introduce the 3D printing community to the DC policy community, and explore some of the policy issues that this disruptive technology will implicate. During a demonstration phase, you will be able to see this technology in action first hand, and speak one-on-one with people and companies on the cutting edge. Be the first person in your caucus, at your GS level, or on your adult kickball team to see 3D printing live
3Dâš¡DC: 3D Printing Comes to the Nation's Capitol | Public Knowledge (via Makerbot)  White paper on 3D printing and the law: the coming copyfight ... 3D printing's first copyright complaint goes away, but things are ... 3D print-shop receives an order for an ATM skimmer - Boing Boing 3D printing year-in-review - Boing Boing Is it legal to print Settlers of Catan tiles on a 3D printer ... Will 3D plans for bongs become illegal, too? - Boing Boing Read the rest

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