*BG Review* Rivals for Catan
(Catan: Het Duel)
About the Game
The second score in our board game haul from The Gamekeeper was the Dutch version of Rivals for Catan, Catan: Het Duel. This is the 2 player card game version of the classic Settlers of Catan. A resource collecting game where your goal is to obtain the most victory points by expanding and developing your civilizations.
Rivals for Catan follows similar gameplay mechanics as its original predecessor. The civilizations are made by placing cards with different landscapes, buildings, and roads in a grid that represents the map. As opposed to the tile-placing version, the 2 players do not play on the same map. Rather each player has their own side of the play area allotted for them to expand.
Each player begins with one landscape of each resource (gold, ore, wood, wool, brick, and hay). As well as, two settlements and two roads. Taking the form as shown to the left. This leaves each player with open 4 places to expand at the beginning of the game. Unlike its predecessor, Rivals for Catan starts with fixed numbers on the beginning tiles. Meaning, the red player will always start with the same numbers on its tiles, as will the blue. However, as you expand you draw new landscapes with different numbers.
Obtaining and trading resources is managed by the cards on the play space and do not have any additional pieces like Settlers of Catan. Each landscape card has the picture of a side of the die. This is used to determine when you get resources during each dice role. When you obtain a resource you turn your card to add one resource (show on the card). When trading a resource you turn the card the opposite direction to show that you lost one resource. Meaning you can have a max of 3 resources per landscape.
By expanding placing roads and settlements you are able to expand your civilization horizontally across the play space. Similar to the original game, each settlement adds one victory point. Additionally, in this game there are other building cards that take the place of the Development cards in the original. These act as ‘perk’ cards when trading or obtaining resources. The building cards are paid in resources once and the placed for the entirety of the game. These cards can also earn you extra victory points if you have enough of the special buildings.
Playing Rivals for Catan was the opposite to playing Codenames Duet for us. The languages were flipped this time! Since we purchased this game in Dutch, Timo was the native speaker and had the advantage. Whereas I was struggling to read what cards I had, let alone understand the game! This made it a little more interesting for us when learning how to play the game.
Personally, I (Hannah), felt that there was a lot of the mechanics in the original game that I missed in the 2 player version. For example, I liked in the original that you used the resource cards to keep track of resources. And that the number on the resource tiles at the beginning of the game could vary. This caused for a much more unpredictable outcome and hilarious show if one of the players had many resources when the robber came around. Though, these are small things that were probably changed to make the game more adaptable for 2 players.
Overall, I enjoyed playing the game and it was a fun twist on the classic game. Time-wise I found that it was just right a Board Date Night. That is, if you’ve played one of the other Catan games before. Otherwise, it may be a bit confusing at first to understand how everything works. Luckily, we were able to quickly catch on because much of it is the same. Experienced players will also have a bit of a challenge with the added perks and possible events. There were many times where we were thrown off by this, but it added a great challenge.
Timo thoroughly enjoyed the game (and I think even more so because he won!) He found that the duration of the game was much nicer for couples as it plays much quicker. The turns ran smoother than the original because there was less to manage. As I did, Timo felt it was a nice refreshed version of the game.
Is Catan Board Date Material?
We would definitely recommend this as a great Board Date Night game for those who enjoyed the other Catan games. Stay tuned for the answer to the final game we picked up in Amsterdam! Do you know what it is?