Friday, January 30, 2015

Catan Junior Review

   Catan: Junior is the kid version of Settlers of Catan. It has been simplified, but you still have the same goal. Gather resources and build faster than your opponents.

   The board has two sides. One side is a two player board.

   The other side is for three to four players.

   You have some plastic pirate ships and pirate lairs. These are your game pieces.

   There is a pile of resources. There's cutlasses, goats, wood, gold, and molasses.

   There are Coco the bird tiles. These are action cards you can take. They allow you to build either a ship or a lair, move the ghost captain, or gain resources.

   Whoever has the most Coco tiles, gets to put a lair on Spooky Island. This is helpful because it's one less lair you have to build. If there is ever a tie with the Coco tiles, the lair is removed until someone has purchased more.

   To begin, you are going to put the pirate lairs on their corresponding circles. Place one of your ships on the dotted line that matches your color.

   Each player gets a reference card. This shows you what is needed to build or buy Coco tiles.

   Give each player their color pieces, a reference card, and a wood and molasses resource. Place the Ghost Captain on Spooky Mountain. You are now ready to begin play.

   On your turn, roll the die. If you have a lair on a spot touching the island with the corresponding number, you gain one of those resources. Example: Here a four was rolled. The orange and blue players receive one cutlass each. The red and blue player each receive a molasses.

   After you have rolled the die and receive your resources, you can trade with the marketplace. You can trade here once per turn. Take one of your resources and trade it with one item in the marketplace. If you want to trade further, you can trade in two of the same resource for one resource of your choice out of the stock pile. You can trade in this manner as much as you would like, as long as you have the resources available. If the marketplace has five of the same resource at any time, remove them and place one of each resource back into the marketplace.

   If you roll a six, you get to move the Ghost Captain. Place him on an island of your choice. You gain two of the resource that the island generates. While he is on that island, if that number is rolled, no resources are received for the lairs that are on that island.

   When you build your ships and lairs, they go in a pattern. You must build them in that order. You can not build a lair unless it is next to a ship. Whoever builds all of their lairs first, wins the game.


   This is a great game to play with kids. The rules are simple so it's easy to understand. You don't trade resources with your opponents. The dots and lines on the board are easy to see so they can see what they need to build next. Everyone can see who has what resources so if your kids do need a bit of help, everything is already right there. There is only one die to roll which also makes it a bit easier. There isn't a whole lot of strategy, but there is enough that they will need to have a plan.

   I think the only downside to this is the box. There isn't really a way to organize it at all. There is two open areas for everything. I guess it makes for easier clean up. I just like my games a bit more organized than dumping everything in. That's a minor thing and just a personal preference.

   Our family has had a lot of fun with this game. It is simple enough that the kids can play it completely on their own, even the set up. If you are trying to introduce your kids into gaming, this is a great game!

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