This week, I thought I’d review a game that I’ve had for a while, but don’t get to play all that often on account of my game group having moved on from Settlers of Catan. Has your game group also moved on? Does the once loved trading game now occupy a spot on your shelf gathering dust along with your old copy of Puerto Rico and that Diplomacy board you never get to use (on account of the unleashing of evil)? I still enjoy Settlers of Catan, it’s just that there’s so much more to play nowadays, that I’d rather play the new game that’s breathing down my neck, rather than the old game that’s casually sitting there with not a care in the world.
Star Trek Catan is The Settlers of Catan with a few extra rules. The hardest thing to wrap your head around will be the change of the resources to more accurately reflect the Star Trek Universe. You’re now looking for Oxygen and water and Trilithium instead of Sheep and Stone and Clay. So if you have a big problem with change, Star Trek Catan may cause you some trauma.
The other big change is cosmetic- Your settlements/cities are now starbases that have an attachable piece that indicates that they have been upgraded (a very nifty addition) and the roads have been replaced with small starships (a very fiddly addition). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the entire port of the rules into the Star Trek setting doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anyway. Best to not get too caught up on realism when talking about warp speed and transporters. Does the aesthetic change detract from the game? No. The game is very colourful and is engaging, starship roads notwithstanding.
The largest change is the addition of the Crew cards. Every player now gets a two time use crew card. You get to use the card twice, and then have to discard it back into the Crew pool, to be picked up by another player. These crew cards each do something different, so it’s best to wrap your head around them before you start to play.
Far be it from me to be a know it all, but from what I can glean, it would appear that Star Trek Catan simply imports “Die Helfer von Catan” cards from “Die Helfer von Catan” expansion to the Settlers of Catan. I’m not going to go through what every one of these cards does, but all of them let you break the rules in some small way. Kirk allows you to not discard half your hand on a 7, Sulu lets you move roads/ships, Spock lets you take a resource even if you didn’t get one in the regular roll and so on and so forth. The whole thing is a bit lazy- if you have the Helpers of Catan expansion, then there’s absolutely no reason to get Star Trek Catan. If you don’t, there’s still not a huge reason to buy this game.
That all being said, Star Trek Catan is replacing my old copy of Settlers of Catan. My copy is worn down by time, and it was time for a new copy anyway. I don’t recommend that you buy it if you already have a base copy of Catan, but if you know somebody who is really into Star Trek but not at all into animal husbandry or pastoral settings, Star Trek Catan is a pretty good buy. You probably don’t know anyone like that, so best to leave this one on the shelf. I love my copy, though, so take that for what you will.