Catan (360) – Initial Impressions

So “Settlers of Catan” has finally made it to Xbox Live.  The game holds up pretty well to the board version save for a couple areas:

1) It’s too easy to abuse the trade screen with computers.  If you’re playing against all human opponents, and you need one of two or more types of resources, you usually can’t play them that much (eg “What’ll you take to give me sheep?  Nothing, what’ll you take to give me ore?” would never likely happen in a real game).  Here, you can see if the computer AI takes you up on one offer, then cancel it and try another until you’re happy (or your time limit ends of course).  You can never poke and prod a human opponent like that.

2) Computer opponents hold a grudge too easily. Be the first to use the robber on their space and they’ll target you for the rest of the game, it seems, even if another player does it 5 or 6 times afterwards.

3) In game text graphics on HDTV even are really small.  Dead Rising small.  That should be fixable.

4) The XBL notification box is not shifted to a empty area of the board and stays in the bottom center, where all the game messages about what’s happening appears.  Thus, it’s very easy to miss what’s happening if you have an active friends list.   That should be fixable as well.

Regardless, against 4 human opponents, this is easily a great way to bring a popular board game to the XBL community.  I would love to see some others (even simple games like Scrabble or Monopoly would be good too).

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3 Responses

  1. Apparently the people you play the board game with are nicer than my friends because when you get one of us with the robber we hold a grudge all game. I did not notice the computer doing uneven trades on the harder difficulty settings.

  2. You’re dead on with some of those observations. The AI players like to trade just to trade. They’ll offer bricks for lumber and I’ll take them up on it; a second later they’re trying to offer lumber for bricks. It doesn’t make sense.

    I also got screwed by the AI’s hate as well. I pulled ahead a couple points and all the other players were grudged against me the rest of the game, even after one of the AI guys was just a point away (and that guy won because he had that +1 point card stashed away)

  3. I guess what I mean about the robber is: take 3 players, A, B, C. A rolls a 7 early in the game and uses it on B for lack of any other choice. B (human or AI) will hold a grudge, of course. However, later, C comes along, rolls several 7 or playing the soldier card several times in a row, each time hitting B because B may have the most cards, or B is ahead, or what. Now, if B were to get the 7 or to play a soldier card, a human opponent will likely target C if the choice between A and C were equal; A only struck him once, but C’s been pushing him around, so duh. But in the AI on the 360 version, B as the AI will target A, basically seemingly to allow C free reign to push B as much as he wants.

    Of course, I will say this is on Moderate difficulty.

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