Saturday, January 03, 2009
A Calvin Tradition
a game of bold strategy and giant hands
during the past few days, i’ve been visiting the KE apartments to hang out and play settlers. one of my friends, eric, is a christmas RA there, which means he holds down the fort for the international students who are staying there over the break. calvin’s policy is that everyone must move out of the dorms over christmas break, so the international students living in the dorms head to the KE apartments if they aren’t flying home. when i lived in the dorms, i flew back to hong kong for my first christmas and headed to toronto for my second christmas, so i never did the KE apartment thing.
i know at least several people who would burst out in song for this board game. my freshman year, during one of those evenings when everyone was going stir-crazy, a few of my friends pulled me aside and introduced me to settlers. after i was given a five minute lecture on why i might purchase a development card, we dived right in, with me learning along the way. in the same way that learning to bike often involves scrapes and bruises, learning to play settlers was also a bit painful. but after i learned the ropes, i was having as much fun as mountain biking the rocky mountains in colorado. well, maybe not that much fun, but i’d rank settler’s “fun-ness” between apples to apples and boggle.
the board and the cards
i had never heard of the board game before, so i was surprised when almost everyone played it. growing up in canada and hong kong, monopoly was a big favorite, but at calvin, settlers blew the other board games out of the water. i think i’ve heard the argument that you’re not a true calvin student until you’ve played settlers.
the premise of the game is to be the first person to reach 10 points. points can be earned via three avenues, all of which involve resources. first, you can build settlements and cities, which are one and two points respectively. second, you can purchase development cards, which oftentimes results in a soldier card, although sometimes you’ll luck out and pick up a point. third, you can fulfill certain requirements to earn trophies, which are worth two points. as i said earlier, all three avenues require resources, and you gather resources whenever a dice roll coincides with the placement of your settlements and cities. you can also trade resources with other players, as kaitlyn is doing below:
she’s offering resources in return for something she wants
eric’s (left) contemplating kaitlyn’s trade offer
i feel like i should print out the above paragraph to hand out to new settlers players, because i always have the hardest time teaching the game in person.
settlers is a game of strategy, and for some reason, (almost) every time i play with eric, he wins. following with the norm, eric won the game in the photographs. i’m still plotting my revenge.