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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