Check out my article on Settler’s of Catan on Patrol Magazine.
This was a joint effort. My original entry is below. For Anna’s original entry, check her blog here.
My friend Scott still insists that I almost made him fail the spring semester of his junior year of college. I was a year ahead of him and had that senior grade-invincibility about me. And me and my other two roommates were constantly looking for a fourth person to joins us in late night games of Settler’s of Catan- usually when Scott was trying to cram for a final or go to bed early before a test. We’d call down to his room (this was post AIM being cool and pre-Facebook- we actually used phones) and all three of us would just yell into the phone, “Scottie! Get up here! Settlas!” Scott is a good man and has a hard time saying no to good times with his friends. Still, it would usually take three calls, a threat that he was going to unplug his phone from the wall and a counter threat that we would just come down and bang on his door. Either way, we weren’t letting him study and we sure weren’t letting him go to bed. We needed a fourth- it’s more fun with four.
We loved these late night games and it seems we thought we were the only people in the world who understood how awesome this game was. We were wrong. It turns out that all across the country, at other Christian colleges and among other Christian small groups, this game was catching on like wildfire.
The game: First off, it should be noted that this game didn’t receive the illustrious “Spiel de Jahres” (German Board Game of the Year award) in 1995 for nothing. It’s fun (if nerdy) and I think Germans would be great at it. It plays like a mix of Risk, Monopoly and Pit. Basically, everyone is a settler on this island (Catan) and you are trying to build roads, settlements, cities, etc. There is trading, monopolizing of resources, scheming, teaming up, backstabbing, strategizing and dice rolling. Don’t play with your couple friends. Like I said, pretty nerdy. But we loved it. It was our game.
I still remember the first time that I realized that Settler’s was the BGOC (Board Game of Choice) for other pockets of Christian friends. I still have no idea why, but this game is incredibly popular among Christian cliques country-wide. I still remember the first time I found out another group of friends who were as addicted to the game as me and my buddies were. I was at a wedding in North Carolina. Somehow during the course of the festivities, I learned that the bride’s small group all played Settler’s religiously. Since then, I’ve heard about pockets in Colorado, Arizona, Orange County, Chicago, Grantham, PA, Atlanta, Vancouver- even a group of Christians living in China- all Christians who think that their bible study friends are the best Settler’s of Catan players in the world. They are wrong. My friends are.
To this day, I have no idea why Settler’s of Catan caught on so much among twenty-something Christian- College graduates and their like between the years 2003- 2006, but it did. Ask your friend who graduated from a Christian College. But then again, I have no idea why we also love the Princess Bride, talking about reading C.S. Lewis, The Brother’s K, playing ‘Mafia’, A Prayer for Owen Meany (admittedly, two of my favorites), smoking a pipe/ hookah, listening to Bright Eyes (three years ago) and frequenting local dive bars to hang out with the ‘locals’. But we do.
I’m happy to report that in the end, Scott did graduate. Not only that, but how he’s getting a Master’s Degree in Student Development and is a resident director at a Christian College; no doubt telling the students there about he and his buddies are the best Settler’s of Catan players in the world.