The worlds of board games and video games are fairly symbiotically linked, as we have seen a large number of titles on both sides making the jump in the world of table top cardboard, as well as the virtual realm too. The latest title to make the jump from the table top is a bit of a heavy hitter… CATAN – which generally is seen as a gateway title into the world of cardboard gaming and it has just landed on the consoles thanks to developers Dovetail Games – who are better known for their train and fishing sim titles it’s fair to say. But they have also been helped by British based Nomad Games, who specialise in taking analogue games and porting them into digital with games; like Fury of Dracula, Talisman and Fighting Fantasy titles under their belt.
At its core CATAN is a dice based territory/resource game, where you have to gather five different resources that you then convert into development cards. You can then use these to build towns and then cities for example and that will then bag you an all important victory point and all you need is 10 of these and you win… simple. If you have never played the game before there is a very well rounded tutorial that will teach you the basics, as well as giving you enough of an understanding of things to get started and then find the more complex strategies and tactics the game has to offer as you play.
Strategy is a key word as the game is very heavily based on trading resources with the other players in the game, whether they’re three AI, online players (cross-play) or even mates on the couch. If you’re going to win, you’re going to have to think smart if you want to get those victory points and it adds in a nice edge to things. You can set your trading rates; so for example one wheat could be worth 6 sheep… if you need the sheep that is. Once you get your head around the core mechanics, it will take about 30 to 40 minutes to complete a game – which is a nice length, given what it has on show. Plus it saves having to clear the table to break out the cardboard if you and your mates fancy a game.
Visually the game has a clean and crisp vibe with an art style that feels fitting to its table top counterpart, with a few elements that help to bring the board to life; like the water moving the ships around the tiles making up the board and the like… but don’t expect mind blowing effects here. There is a cool feature that lets you scan a QR code, to see your hand of cards on another screen i.e., phone or tablet, which is a great addition for when you’re playing on the couch. CATAN Console Edition does what it says on the tin really, giving you a fully digital port of a much loved table top title, with a few extra bells and whistles. Really it’s a solid translation and for £16.99 it’s not a bad price, compared to £24.99 for the base table top game. If you have ever had an interest in the game or want to have a version that is ready to play in second, this is the one for you.
An Xbox review copy of CATAN – Console Edition was provided by Dovetail Games PR team, and it’s now across consoles for less than £20.
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