New Product Review: Catan Scenarios Frenemies

Frenemies

Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is justly famous as an engaging strategic board game for 3 or 4, in which players jostle for scarce resources on the game board that represents the island of Catan.  The original game is quite starkly competitive: the player who best positions his villages and cities, who can cut off other players’ access to valuable resources, and who uses the robber judiciously to strangle his opponents’ most productive tiles, can–given a bit of luck–win.

Ah, the feeling of grinding one’s opponents into the dust, of stomping on their pathetic hopes and dreams of owning the Longest Road, or the Largest Army!  Bwah hahah! There’s nothing like it!

Or is there?

With the brand-new Catan Scenario Frenemies, designer Benjamin Teuber (son of Catan author Klaus Teuber, and head of product development at Catan GmbH, the headquarters of all things Catan) has brought to the gaming world the idea of altruism in Catan.  As the press release says:

“Let me remove the robber from that hex – I bet he’s bothering you, right? By the way, you seem to need a brick – do you want me to give it to you for free?”
Well, which game is being played here? Doesn’t sound like Catan? Just wait until you set up the Frenemies scenario … Players give away resources to help those who are lagging. They move the robber to isolated locations to ensure the safety of fellow opponents. And they even connect their roads with those of other players! Has everyone gone nuts?

Virtue may sometimes be its own reward in life, but in Frenemies certain virtuous actions are tangibly rewarded with a Favor Token.  And Favor Tokens, in turn, confer advantages such as road building for free, development cards, random resources, preferential trades, or even victory points.  Killing ’em with kindness: a gentler way to defeat your friends … enemies … Frenemies.

Catan Scenarios: Frenemies requires the core Settlers of Catan game in order to be played. In stock now. $5.99

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