Being the only board game enthusiast in my family is bound to raise some frustrations on my end when it comes to trying to introduce my passion to them, especially when most of them seems to be unwilling to give it a shot or are just too young to even have a grasp of rules or too old to hold the cards in their hands.
Luckily, with the recent resurgence of board gaming, or what other people call the ‘Board Game Renaissance’, my family has been more open to trying out my collection, which makes it a great jumping point to discuss Settlers of Catan, or rather, just Catan for newer editions.
Here are the key ways Family Edition of Settlers Of Catan differs from the original.
Family Edition has:
Catan Regular Edition
Catan has been credited as the board game that launched the beginning of the renaissance, and it all boils down to how simple the gameplay flows while also still being better than roll-and-move games that dominated the classic market.
Each turn essentially boils down to the player rolling two dice, getting resources based on the dice, then constructing buildings on the board or trading your resources, which is one of the simplest set of rules out there.
Whenever you roll those two dice, each player would get resources if they have a settlement on a corner of a hex with the rolled number.
However, if they roll a 7, they will move the robber instead, stealing resources from another player and blocking a numbered hex from giving out resources in future turns.
Buildings can be constructed by spending a set number of resources depending on which building you want, like a brick and a wood for a road.
Trading can be done either with other players, or with the game itself, but with a set ratio, which then depends on whether or not you have a settlement near the ports.
Wrapping that all off is the victory condition, which is a simple race to ten points!
There’s a couple of other small rules to follow, like:
...but most of those are pretty easy to figure out.
So if that’s as simple as it gets, why would anyone consider getting the Family Edition?
The gameplay is definitely still the same, so if you’re worried that this might be some dumbed down version of Catan, worry not.
But this is a double-edged sword, because if the younger members of your family won’t understand Catan, they also won’t grasp the rules of the Family Edition either.
Maybe try to introduce them to Catan Junior instead.
As the name implies, the Family Edition of Catan is meant as an entry point for families, and is easier to set up, has smaller cards, plastic components, new art, and a fixed resource for each number on each hex.
These key differences are simply made to ease new people into the hobby the same way that regular Catan did way back in 1995.
Setup Differences In Family Edition
The setup is easier due to the board being a jigsaw of six pieces to form the hexagonal island of hexes instead of each hex being a separate tile, and while this eases the set up, this also means that there is less variance in setting up the board due to how each numbered hex is strictly grouped up with other hexes, such as the 11-Forest and the 9-Field being hardstuck to each other on one side.
Setting up regular Catan is by no means long, but this change definitely eases up getting into each game of Catan instead of having your 6 year old niece asking you repeatedly if you’re done with set up.
The smaller cards are definitely a blessing for your family members who are on the younger age spectrum, but unfortunately, this will prove to be a curse for when you’re trying to get your senior citizens enthused in playing board games with you, as I have once experienced with my mom complaining about how difficult it is for her to be holding cards in her hand rather than just manipulating pieces on the board, and that she would probably prefer bigger cards.
Changing the wooden components of the regular Catan to the Family Edition’s plastic ones are a puzzling addition at first, especially since wooden components are nicer and less prone to cracking after being stepped on by a 10-year old, but if you think about it, this would lower the price point for the entire box down to around 22 quid from the regular Catan’s price of around 41 quid, which in turn makes it easier for more families to actually buy a good game.
But does changing the components from wooden to plastic reduce the price that much?
Since the quality of the components has also been reduced, this change doesn’t actually hold all of the weight of the price difference.
While the board is a bit thicker than the regular version, probably to stave off any damage from children accidentally dropping them, the cards are definitely thinner than the regular version’s.
The art is still quite nice to look at but is more accessible than beautiful, which definitely helps when it comes introducing it to more people.
Unfortunately, the ports on the side of the board are smaller than they should be, which makes it harder to read across the table.
As for the last difference, which are the resources being fixed for a certain number, this is something that definitely won’t bother new players, and this also cuts down on the set up time since the regular Catan required you to assign each resource hex with a different number before the start of a new game.
Which Should You Get?
Having said all of that, which one should you actually get?
Or rather, if you’re someone who already has regular Catan, should you get the Family Edition as well?
It actually depends on whether or not you have tried to integrate your family into the world of board gaming.
If your family is intimidated by the concept of board gaming and think that it’s for smart people only (which has been my experience with some families around my neighbourhood), you should definitely give Family Edition a shot, as the labeling will definitely ease their worries about the hobby being all about efficiency, tactics, or medieval fantasy.
However, if your family is already pretty crazy about Catan (I know one family who has developed a tournament system for their games and eventually crowning a champion at the end of each year), then the Family Edition isn’t something you would want to add to your collection.
It’s definitely better to go through all of life’s problems when you have another family to go through it with you.
And probably run inter-family tournaments with them too.
Compare Settlers Of Catan Regular vs Family Edition
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- Individual Hexes
- Jigsaw style setup
More Info On Amazon