Thursday, April 13, 2006

Settlers of Catharsis

Yo Yo Yo, what's the dealio?

I'll tell ya...
Earlier today, after I received word that I actually have a job (hooray!) working for Ross Perot, I celebrated by going to Hobbytown USA in my hometown of Tracy, CA and purchasing a boardgame, because that's my current addiction and getting a job gave me an excuse to spend more money uselessly. What game to get?
I told the lady who owns the shop that I had heard a lot about Settlers of Catan, but the box looked lame and the pieces looked gay. How can this game be as fun as people suggest? I was stuck between Power Grid, Settlers of Catan and Ra. She said without a flinch, in fact, before I could finish my question, Settlers of Catan.
After her lengthy and excited explanation of the game I decided - what the hell - why not? (She also recommended Carcassonne and Puerto Rico but I only had enough for one game). So I shelled out the $36 for the game (I know, I could have got it $10 cheaper at, but I like to support my local game outlet - call me stupid). So I bring it home, tear it apart, set up the game and read the rules. Easy to understand rules booklet, nice 'almanac' actually it's a glossary of terms. Simple yet complex, the way I like my games. So far so good. But guess what? It comes with a free trial version of Catan: The Computer Game!
Now, for a person that has to bribe his friends to play boardgames with drugs and alcohol, playing on the internet sounded like the fix I had been looking for. What better way to learn the game! So I install it. No prob. Except that you can only play it for an hour (which is basically one game). Damn! It was so addicting! How much is the full version? $29.95! After hemming and hawing I finally give in and pay the exorbitant fee. I rationalize it by thinking, "Hey, it's half what you pay for a video game these days, right?" Now, I can play against AI and other players across the world. Awesome! So, I go to MSN games which is hosting Catan, and guess what? I have to pay ANOTHER $10/year to play! Ridiculoso! I have been raped by the Catan Robber!
What a racket.
Well I hope Herr Tauber is enjoying his life designing his new games under the Tuscan sun because I sure helped him to live it.
I love the game. I just think this bandwagon is getting a bit out of control. Much like Magic: The Gathering did (much to its detriment, and that was another good game). So that was it.
My vent on a soapbox.
Anybody else get burned on this? Lemme know... we can commiserate.
Oh, on a side note: As I was setting up the game, my roommate (a Hungarian lass my age) noticed the game and asked a few questions about it. After hearing my half-ass rendition of the basic idea of the game she chimed with, "Oh, so it's like Monopoly?"
Here's the kicker: My other roommate (a nice older lady who works as an RN at a local hospital) also noticed the game an hour later. She asked about the game. I told her. She gave forth a comment: "So it's like Monopoly." I grimaced, showed her the Development Card labelled 'Monopoly' and said, "Yeah. You got it." Sometimes I can take only so much... Forgive me.


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