Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a SETTLERS OF CATAN giveaway!

I associate board games with people. Othello reminds me of my former neighbor and longtime best friend. Cribbage is a game my other best friend and I used to play often. Euchre reminds me of college friends. My childhood friend and I used to leave games of Monopoly set up for days so we could actually finish them. My mom and I are usually competitive in Scrabble. Apples to Apples makes me think of hilarious moments with both friends and family. We know which friends like to play which card games. The Game of Things is the Game Night choice among my friends right now.

But my real board game obsession is Settlers of Catan.

Stay with me and you can win your own copy of my favorite game, courtesy Toys and Games Online, which has a great selection of online toys and games. [For the record, this is my first blog giveaway, and I'm really excited about it!]

It's been three years since my aunt -- who always knows the best games! -- taught my husband and me to play, as if learning how to trade sheep for brick, convert settlements to cities and build the longest road through Catan was the best Christmas present ever. I bought the game for Greg for Valentine's Day 2007 (Nothing says "I love you" like a new competition, right?) and we haven't stopped playing since. Almost literally.

We play with another couple at least a couple times a month. (Although for awhile we were playing weekly ...) We even have an on-going scoreboard to tally victories. I'm always white (See, I have the longest road in the picture above. That's worth 2 points toward the 10-point goal.) when we play and we sit in the same order around the table, regardless of whose house is hosting. And, in case you're wondering, I'm four tally marks behind Greg and Bryan. I've recently been making a run to catch the guys. Jaclyn is a few behind me, but given the fact we play at least two games every time we have a Settlers night, she can catch up in no time.

We like the expansions likes Seafarers as well as Cities and Knights, but when we play those we may only have time to play one. To feed our obsession, we usually play the original Settlers of Catan because the four of us have established such a rhythm.

If you've never played, the best explanation I can give to this German-made game that has won all sorts of awards is think about mixing Monopoly with Risk. But, really, that description doesn't do Klaus Teuber's invention justice. It's a strategy game with lots of rules. But once you learn all the rules, you won't be sorry. One of the reasons playing never gets old is the way the board changes each time it is set up. The strategy I used last time I played might not work to my advantage next time, depending on where the resources are and what numbers are associated with them.

In honor of the approaching three-year anniversary of the start to my obsession, you can win your own copy, courtesy Toys and Games Online, which offers a variety of online toys for all ages at reasonable prices.

All you have to do is post a comment about what your favorite game is and a memory you associate with that game. (Be sure to include an e-mail address so I can contact you, should you be the lucky winner!)

All of the comments will be placed in a bowl and one winner will be randomly chosen, probably by my 2 1/2-year-old daughter, who has witnessed many Settlers marathons but isn't quite old enough to bargain her way with sheep and wheat to successfully settling Catan.

You have until 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 to enter this giveaway.


  1. I think my favorite game is Clue...although I haven't played it in forever! I just have memories of my brother, step-sister and step-brother and parents playing it together when we were young...it was so fun to pick our characters and look for the clues. :) (BTW, I still want to try to play Settlers of Catan sometime!!)

  2. It is almost impossible to pick just one favorite game! I think one of my favorite board game memories involve my late cousin Neil. He loved board games. However, sometimes he had an unfair advantage, the truth was found out that he studied the Trivial Pursuit cards! :)

  3. I was a total tomboy growing up, so I had a secret love for the game "Pretty, Pretty Princess." I don't know if anyone even remembers that game, but you competed to collect all of the pieces of jewelry in your princess color from the box in the center, with the final, winning piece being a "bejeweled" crown. I used to play it with whoever would join me, and if I had no one to play with (since I was an only child), I would just play with all the jewelry.

    Hmm... I wonder if they still make that game...

  4. The game I remember most playing with our family was "The farming Game". It is a combination of Settlers and Monopoly. You win, inherit or buy land and then put livestock or crops or orchards on it. Depending on what you roll and where you land you could reap a big harvest or be wiped out. The label on the box reads "The game invented on the seat of a tractor". Years later on a trip out through Washington state with the boys we came upon a lush valley with row after row of produce and low and behold there was "Toppinsh Ridge", "Rattlesnake Ridge" "Wapato Willies" and the Yakima River running close by. We had found the actual valley that inspired the game. We stopped to buy produce of course and Greg, Charles and John climbed one of those ridges over and over again. Board games and family trips are some of the sweetest memories. I'm glad to see the next generation enjoying it too.

  5. Footnote to my last comment - Follow the link and you will find the map to all the places on the gameboard.

  6. Now you KNOW I want this game! Choose me Cate - Choose me! LOL! My favorite game with a special memory attached is Enchanted Forest. I remember playing as a kid with my parents. We had so much fun even though I used to sneak peaks under the trees when no- one was looking. We have now taught Cade how to play (minus the cheating of course).

  7. Settlers of Catan sounds like a fun game - especially since you mention it so much! My favorite game is Risk, because we learned to play it soon after we were married from some close friends that we don't see anymore. It was so much fun to compete for countries. I really wish we had some game playing friends close by now to play it again. Now that the kids are getting bigger we play a lot of Phase Ten because they like to play that with me. There have been many fun family game nights with many games though:)

  8. I've been dying to try Settlers of Catan. I have a few friends that are huge fans...so I would love to get a copy of the game. Along the same lines, my favorite game is Carcassone. Ryan & I have had many weekends in the winter where we play game after game and listen to podcasts of This American Life or Radiolab.
    Ann Dempsey

  9. While Cribbage is not my favorite game in the world, the one I have been playing with my father is. He taught me to play when I was 12 years old and we have been playing on the same board since then. I am now 46 years old and everytime I go home to visit, we play at least three games. We have been keeping track of the wins and losses since we started (blue or black mark for a win, red mark for a skunk, green mark for a double skunk). The pges are almost broken and the board is a bit battered, but every time I see that board, it makes me smile.

  10. Settlers is my favorite game right now. When we started playing 3 years ago I don't think we knew how much we'd love it. I love how we've had to adjust the way we play and the time it takes as our families have grown.

  11. DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS, although, so far, I know how to contact everyone except Bill.

    Thanks for sharing your memories!

    And, Ann, we like Carcassone too. :)

  12. It's Winter--game season!!! Nearly any game is fun for David & me to play. Recently, we have been playing a lot of Farkle, a dice game introduced by my favorite sister-in-law by way of Aunt Jane. :) We even carry dice with us--just in case we stop by a Starbucks for coffee & a quick game. In the past though, David & I have enjoyed Scrabble, Rummy & Golf (another card game.) We were introduced to Golf on a weekend getaway in Brown County,IN. Another family at the bed & breakfast we were staying at showed us how to play & we were hooked. For our marriage, Monopoly is never a good idea. :)

  13. Canasta is our favorite game(as if you didn't know)... No it's not a board game but it is definitely a game of strategy!! This game has been passed down four Generations in our family and even includes two old reliable rule books... As far as board games go though... I'm always a sucker for scrabble!!


  14. I am such a game lover but if I can only pick one game as my favorite then I will gave to say Cranium. I love Cranium because my parents are hilarious when they play it and it makes us laugh so hard that we cry!

    Mary Jost

  15. My favorite game for nostalgic reasons would be Sorry. My father and I used to play it when I was little while watching sports. We created our own version, and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever because I could actually win (which my Dad would make a big deal about). I have now even tried to revive it by playing it with Brad. He is very wonderful and actually humors me by playing (although I'm a little sad to say, I still get really excited when I win). :)


  16. Well, I'm hoping that Cate will pick me too! We already have our own Settlers game but we recently introduced a friend here to the game and I'm hoping to win it for her and her family! Anyways, we played Uno and Checkers when I was a kid. Sometimes we would get games for gifts. My sister got Hungry Hungry Hippos and Pizza Party. I just remember the HHH being SO loud! :) John and I started playing Canasta when we started dating. It's kind of "our" game together. I originally bought it because John was so into games and I wanted a game that was new to both of us. It was a success!