Board Game Review: Star Trek Catan
Author: Kitan Tataru
Many people know of Settlers of Catan, the classic board game in which players tame and civilize the wilderness. Star Trek Catan, a variant of original Catan, continues and expands upon the original tradition. Now players don't just settle the wilderness - they boldly settle space, where no one has gone before!
In Star Trek Catan, characters gather Resources (Food, Water, Oxygen, Dilithium, and Tritanium) and use them to build Starships, Outposts, and Starbases, or to buy Development cards. Each Starship, Outpost, Starbase, and some Development cards are worth Victory Points. The first player to achieve 10 Victory Points wins the game.
Star Trek Catan sets up much like traditional Catan - fit together the board's borders, fill in the hexagonal tiles, and place the numeral tokens on each hex tile. The Thief is now a Klingon Warbird who attacks from the asteroid field.
Tokens in Star Trek Catan are different than in the original but they function in much the same way. Starships stand in for roads, Outposts are towns, and Starbases are cities.
The big difference between traditional Catan and Star Trek Catan is the addition of character cards. Each player chooses a character card, which grants the player an ability s/he can use a maximum of two times. After the card has been used, the player returns it and chooses another character card.
Here's Spock's character card:
Other character cards will allow players to move the Klingon, force resource trades with other players, and steal cards from other players, among other abilities.
I'm not incredibly familiar with Settlers of Catan, though I have played it. However, friends who are more experienced with Catan agree that the addition of character cards changes the flow of the game. The powerful abilities of the character cards, and the fact that character cards can be exchanged so frequently, make it so gameplay is less likely to stagnate than it may have been in original Catan.
I, personally, enjoy Star Trek Catan much more than traditional Catan. The theme is fun for anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Star Trek, the character cards keep things moving, and the game itself is very visually interesting. There's nothing quite like wondering aloud why there's no dilithium (or whichever resource you need) in the entire galaxy!
If you want to see some gameplay, Wil Wheaton's YouTube board game show TableTop did a Star Trek Catan episode with Wil and another Star Trek alum. But nothing's quite like playing the game yourself, so I highly recommend playing a demo copy at your local game store or picking up a copy for yourself.
Have you played Star Trek Catan? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!
Kitan Sedai's rating: 4 of 5 stars