For many, many years now I’ve been a fan of the 1995 Klauss Teuber game, The Settlers of Catan. It was the first “EuroGame” to break into the North American boardgame market and has changed the way we play and design games – distinctly for the better.
However, one of the problems with Settlers (unlike my other favourite, Carcassonne), is that it doesn’t play well (ok, it doesn’t play at all) for two players. For a couple of years now, however, I’ve been keeping my skills honed in this fine game courtesy of the programmers and players over at AsoBrain.
This site runs in-browser Java versions of the game (along with your choice of the two expansions – Seafarers of Catan and / or Cities and Knights of Catan). On average there are nearly a thousand other players out there looking for people to play with, or playing on their own.
Playing on their own.
Yes, the AI on the website is actually pretty effective. You can play a solo game or three and actually expect a decent amount of competition from the “bot” players (who are all named after the characters from Friends, much to my chagrin – because I really needed a reason to dislike Monica any more). Overall, the programming is excellent and I recommend the site as a great way to introduce players to Settlers with less setup time than at the dining room table – although I wouldn’t recommend trying to learn Cities and Knights through this site without having someone else to teach you the rules (or having a copy of the actual expansion yourself).
I waste far too much time on AsoBrain. I’ll probably see you in the “Non-Ranking 2” lobby when you check it out.