Catan Dice Game: Resource Management with a twist!

Our Recommended Age:5+
Recommended Age:7+
Players:1-4
Cost:$15.00
Play Time:15-30 minutes
Company Site:www.mayfairgames.com
Newsletter:mayfairgames.com
Contents:6 Resource Dice, 1 pad with 50 Double-Sided Score Sheets, 1 Instruction Book.
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Mayfair has done a fantastic job of taking an already great game and making it smaller, easier to set up but just as fun! Catan Dice Game is a resource management game with a twist, you use dice! If that wasn’t good enough there are two ways to play! This is now a favorite for our family and at game nights!

We play Catan and Catan Jr often in our house so we figured we would like Catan Dice but honestly didn’t figure on loving it! The game is meant for ages 7+ but my son who is 6 plays just fine and my daughter who is 4 can understand it mostly and plays with some help or helps one of us. I believe 5 year olds who have played other games or Catan Jr would have no problem after a few games.

2015-07-01 13.50.39 copyNo real set up involved and if you don’t want the box you can easily throw the whole game in a travel bag and have instant portable Catan! You can start playing at a Doctor’s office and when it’s your turn simply put it away and get it out later to finish up. This works for adults but you might have to help kids remember…or even some other adults…like me.

You don’t really have to try to remember who’s turn or where things were, Catan Dice can literally be put away and taken out again days later and you can find your place and finish easy as long as you know whose score sheet was whose. I love that about this game! The box isn’t very big though and might be my only negative about the game. It could have been a lot smaller…but that isn’t really a big deal.

The top of the box lifts off nicely so you won’t have to worry about accidentally tearing it but I wouldn’t recommend stepping on it. The scoring pads are double sided and paper. Each sheet can play 1 game of Island One AND 1 game of Island Two but if you just want to play one or the other you can just save the sheets with the unused sides. I cannot find where you can buy replacement score sheets yet but knowing Mayfair they will have them soon (if not already).

The dice are standard dice with imprinted, sketched or carved into pictures of various resources. I can never remember the term for the non-sticker/non-printed type of dice but I think it might be embossed. They feel etched in which is cool and you don’t have to worry about using them a lot and the stickers falling off.

Each die has 1 each of 6 resources. Sheep(Wool), Brick, Wheat, Rock(Ore), Wood (Lumber) and Gold (not in original game). The pictures on the dice look like their printed versions except not colored in. You don’t need them colored in though so that’s ok. Other than instructions that is all there is to the game! Box, 6 Dice, Score Sheets and Instructions…and now you want to know how to play.

2015-07-01 00.34.37 copyObjective Island One:

Have the most points after 15 turns for each player.

Setup:

Um…pass out score sheets to 1-4 players. Yes you can play all by yourself…I LOVE that you can do that! Make sure everyone has a pen or pencil…crayon, something to write with.

If you have never played before use the Green side or Island One otherwise choose your side and you are ready to go. Youngest player goes first! My daughter can play but with a little help so sometimes my son goes first and sometimes she does…I never get to anymore.2015-06-30 23.37.02-3 copy

Play Island One:

Ok so the map on the Green side shows the Island of Catan with symbols all around that represent Roads, Cities, Knights (new!) and Settlements. During each players turn you roll dice and build but like with any game there are restrictions to these things that make the game interesting.

You can roll the dice up to 3 times on your turn. After the third roll you are stuck with what is there. However, after your first roll you can set aside any dice you want to keep. If you roll 3 Sheep, 1 Lumber, 1 Gold, and 1 Brick you might keep the Brick and Lumber to build a road and 1 Sheep to try for a City or Knight but then you can re roll the other 3 dice.

If you roll Rock and 2 Wheat you can build both a Road and a Knight with what you have so far OR you can even re-roll the 1 Wheat and try to get another Brick to build a Road and a City instead of a Knight. You could also choose to re-roll everything or any combination of dice in between. You just have to stop rolling after the third roll no matter what you have done before that.

2015-06-30 23.35.27-1 copyNow you can build things! Well not really but you can mark them down on your score sheet and pretend to build them. SO based on our pretend roll up above you now have 2 Lumber, 2 Brick, 1 Sheep, and 1 Wheat. You can build a Road and City! Yay you!

You can in fact build both since you rolled the resources and of course if you didn’t roll them you could not build both…and no the resources do not carry over.

You probably want to know where you can build such things. Your road has to be built in sequence (so does everything else). The very first road is done for you and is in purple with an arrow pointing you to your first City you can build.

You could instead build 2 Roads and build the City later if you want. You are allowed to go back on your map and build things you skipped so that’s nice.2015-06-30 23.41.36-1 copy

Let’s pretend we build the City and a Road. We mark the City with the 3 because that first road counts as an attached Road so we CAN build a City (you can’t just build a City wherever, there must be a Road touching it) and then we mark the Road with the 1…they all are worth one…right after. You now have 4 points total for this turn and you write 4 in the first box since this is your first turn.

Each item must be built in order. You can’t build the City worth 7 points until you build the City worth 3 and the ones worth 4 and 5 first. Roads just follow the path and Knights must also be built in order of points but are used a little differently.

I’ll explain Knights and Gold in a second. If you choose not to build anything or for some reason cannot build anything you have to put an for your score which counts for -2 points…you shouldn’t do that if you can help it.

 Knights: Otherwise known in the game as the Resource Joker is another item that can be “built” or purchased if you prefer on your turn. It costs 1 Rock, 1 Sheep, and 1 Wheat (yes I know it is Ore and Wool but I prefer my way of saying them). You build him first and then can use him, or rather the resource below him, later in the game whenever it is your turn.

You can use it in place of a rolled resource on a Die during your turn. Simply cross off the Knight you purchased previously and flip one die to that resource and use it for building. This is great if it is your third roll and you need that Knights resource. Also, if you have purchased multiple Knights you can use as many as you want in one turn and you can even build it and use it in the same turn!

You get the points when you build the Knight and do not lose them when you use it. So once you have the points they stay there and the 6th Knight is a free any resource you want!2015-06-30 23.52.27-3 copy

Gold: Gold isn’t used in the game for building…or anything else really except for “trading”. Just like in Catan you can trade…sort of. If you roll 2 Gold on your 3rd roll you can “trade” both Gold for ONE of another resource. Any one you want but only one…for both Gold. Simply turn one of the die to the resource you want and set the other aside as it is now worthless. You can trade multiple times. For example if you are unlucky (or lucky?) enough to roll 6 Gold you could in fact trade all 6 for 3 resources…and build a Knight.

Winning:

The game ends when all players have had 15 turns. This is when everyone has all of their boxes filling out with points or X’s. Add up all your points, subtract 2 for each X and the one with the Highest score wins! To be honest sometimes that is my son…more than I care to admit…and I don’t’ even help him anymore.

2015-07-01 00.34.15 copyObjective Island Two:

Be the first to reach 10 points.

Setup:

Same as Island One…pass out score sheets to 1-4 players. Yes you can play all by yourself…I LOVE that you can do that! Make sure everyone has a pen or pencil…crayon, something to write with.

Youngest player goes first! We don’t play this version with the kids just yet although my 6 year old can play it.

Play:

Playing is mostly the same as Island One with of course a few exceptions. The first player only gets to roll 3 dice, the 2nd player gets to roll 4 and so on until a player uses all 6 and then everyone can use 6 all the time after that. Weird I know…2015-06-30 23.38.41-1 copy

Building rules are the same except in this version if you build a bunch of roads you can then build the Cities or Settlements in ANY order. Knights can also be built in ANY order…so cool.

The Knights can be build in any order but in order to use the ANY resource you want ones in the desert you have to build BOTH Knights there. Other than that the game is played the same but VP (Victory Points) are totaled differently.

When you build a settlement you mark it off as usual but then you check off a box in the top right side of your score sheet. You will notice there are 10 of these boxes so first to fill them wins!  Settlements = 1 VP, Cities = 2 VP (so 2 checks), Roads and Knights are not worth anything on their own BUT if you have the most of either you get points for that.

Longest Road: The first player to build Roads in a row up to the Gray Road has the Longest Road.  You get 2 VP for that! BUT I wouldn’t mark the boxes just yet as someone can steal that title from you. Simply put a check on Longest Road and include the 2 VP when adding your current score. If it adds up to 10 with Longest Road you win!

2015-06-30 23.40.46-2 copyIf another player builds Roads past you in a row, and branches going towards the sea do not count, you lose Longest Road and they gain it. You have to X off your check mark.

Longest Army: This works the same way except for Knights. Again you have to build 3 and can put your check mark on Longest Army and count those 2 VP but again someone can steal it from you! These both work like they do in the board game version.

Winning:

The game is over as soon as one player reaches 10 VP and they are the winner. Again, my daughter doesn’t play but my son has and can…he is still learning a bit of strategy for it so we play the other one as it is more fair…for him. I still lose a lot at it. I really am starting to believe I am only good at games where I can be the evil person against everyone else..I should just embrace that.

Both versions are fun but Island Two is a bit harder. Island One seems like more of a luck of the roll and making good choices on those first two rolls. Island Two is more of a what to build, where to build and how bad you want Longest Road or Largest Army…I love Longest Road.

Catan Dice Game is seriously one of my favorite games now…I know I have a lot. I love it though because everyone can play, it is easy to learn, quick (usually) to play and very very portable. Plus resource management games teach kids how to manage what they have and use it wisely! Also, adding up their score is great for reinforcing math skills…or teaching them.

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Show us your resources or your winning score sheets! @MyGeeklings #CatanDiceGame @MayFairGames

“The goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”
~ Reiner Knizia

Author: sandyz