Rivals for Catan Extended Review Part 1: Introduction & Overview

by matthiasvtrigt

I have a soft spot for board games and card games; games that have players sitting around tables playing games IRL in general give me happy feelings. But, I’m an even bigger fan of emergent complexity, especially in games where you don’t expect to find it.

The entire Catan series, and the new Rivals for Catan game in particular, are chockful of emergent complexity, leading me to become quite a fan of the series.

What is this emergent complexity I speak of? Well, it’s the phenomenon of something becoming complex while it develops. You start with simple things, and end up with a single complex system. This is emergent complexity: simple elements combining to become something complex.

Rivals for Catan does this very well. It presents you with a host of conceptually simple phenomena and options, making it easy to pick up and understand, but through the interactions of these elements you find yourself enveloped in as bewilderingly a vast sea of possibilities as your mind can comprehend.

But I should probably back up for a bit.

I’m going to try and do a series of reviews for the entirety of the Rivals for Catan game in several parts, but one thing I’m not going to do is explain how the game works; for two reasons. For one, others have done this very well in the past, and for two, I’m more interested in tackling the game in-depth for players already familiar with the game play looking for strategy musings and observations.

So, to learn what the game is, follow any one of these links:

Geek News <– most straight-forward explanation I could find

aka pastor guy

Skirmisher Publishing

Opinionated Gamers

For everyone else, continue to part two.