This week one of my favorite game publishers, Fantasy Flight Games, announced a new game set in the Twilight Imperium universe. I’m very excited for it. Twilight Imperium has long been known as one of the biggest board games out there, taking basically a full day to play. But Twilight Imperium only allows six players (eight with the expansion) to play at a time. What if I have more friends than that? What if I have…infinite friends?
Have no fear! That stalwart classic of board games, Settlers of Catan is here to save the day! Created in 1995 by Klaus Teuber, Catan has graced thousands of tabletops. For some, it’s the first good board game they’ve ever played (I’m looking at you, Monopoly). Many people own it, many more people have played it. So of course, I hear some of my readers shouting “But Peter, Catan is only playable with four people! Even if you have the extra player expansion, that only boosts it to six players! That’s nowhere near enough for my I N F I N I T E friends!”
Well, perhaps it is time I introduced you to Catan: Big Game (yes, that’s literally what it’s called). In this version of the game, you can have literally as many players as you want. The game comes in a kit which allows six people to play. For every extra kit you have, you can add another six players. The largest single instance of Catan: Big Game was at the Essen board game convention in Germany in 2015. There, 1040 players (including the original creator) competed for the honor of being the winner of the largest board game ever.
The way it works is actually pretty simple. Each kit has a premade paper map with three islands. You sit at one island, with one opponent directly across from you. To your left and right are two other players, both on their own islands. Individual maps are linked up at the edges, creating one long continuous chain. Instead of having one active player at a time, play alternates between each side of the table. And instead of having each individual roll their own dice, the host rolls a single pair of dice for everyone. Other than that, it’s basically normal Catan rules, except that the first to twenty five points wins (instead of ten).
All in all, it sounds like it would be a pretty interesting experience. Personally, I think I’d prefer to play in a grand megagame rather than just a game of Catan, but that’s just me. So the next time you’re staying at the Hilbert Hotel and need something to do with your infinite companions, look no further than Catan: Big Game.
P.S. I have an addendum that I forgot to put in last week’s newsletter. Victor Lustig had a set of rules he followed to con people. These have become known as the Ten Commandments for con men:
- Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con man his coups).
- Never look bored.
- Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
- Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
- Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other person shows a strong interest.
- Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
- Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
- Never boast – just let your importance be quietly obvious.
- Never be untidy.
- Never get drunk.
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