You and Those You Love Playing Games With Will Be “Transformed” by Catan, an Award Winning Board Game Created By Klaus Teuber and Played Around the World

Because it mentioned our family’s beloved board game, Catan, in the title, I immediately went to an article in the New York Times, April 7, 2023, “The Creator of Catan Transformed Games, and Then Us,” by Allan  Yuhas, which is spot on for those of us Boomer grandparents of teenagers. Yes, you and those you love playing games with will be “transformed” by Catan, a board game created by Klaus Teuber.  The article was written because of the news of Teuber’s death, to which a friend of the author said, “RIP to a Legend.”

As a grandmother, I was introduced to the game by my grandchildren, but never knew who created it. If you do not know Catan, whether you have grandchildren or not, or adult children, or not, but have any friends, you should immediately go out and buy the board game.  It is available on Amazon, where it enjoys a five star rating from over 33,464 reviewers.

Although I am unfamiliar with it, Amazon also sells an extension to the original Catan so you can play with 5-6 players rather than the 3-4 players for the original Catan.

The grandchildren hooked me on Catan immediately and I bought my own game so I would have it available every time they visit. When they were young, until they were about eight or nine or ten years old, I made it my business to let them win at any and all games that we played. I really wanted them to have a good self-image, and feel confident and competent. Even when I am teaching my teenage children a new game such as hearts, I don’t want them to come in last place. So even when we are playing with four people, I try to end up in last place. The grandchildren tend to feel sorry for me, but that is OK because winning isn’t as important as my grandchildren.

But then we come to the game of Catan. There is something about this game that initially feels and sounds very easy and simple, but then you realize that it requires and enhances life skills you want your grandchildren to have, planning, contemplation, strategy, negotiation, bargaining, persuasion, and resourcefulness. Yes, it requires intelligence to understand what this game is really about, which all of our grandchildren have, of course. Then, best of all, it adds a bit of luck that can make a loser a winner. I have found it impossible not to be impressed with my grandchildren, listening carefully to learn how to outwit them, being proud that they can beat me every time, and being frustrated that I can’t beat them.  All of my willingness to let them get the better of me is gone. The author of the New York Times article, Alan Yuhas, mentions the  Catan “devotion to a board game leads you exasperated or confused – asking why, for instance, otherwise, rational adults would lose their minds over sheep, wheat, and the injustice of where someone just placed a little block of wood. . . .”

The board game changes with every game set up, with hexagons of resources randomly arranged each time. This set up, as well as the “purchase” of chance cards, and the importance of dice throws brings the gamble, promise, and luck to the game. The first person to accumulate 10 “victory points” in various ways and means wins (see skills above).  You also can accumulate “victory points” by the way you determine to allocate resources and build roads, settlements, cities, armies, and obtain cards.

I wish I had a nickel for every time one of the grandchildren said to another player what you just did is not fair. Life is not fair. Life involves the skills of Catan, of negotiation and strategy and bargaining and more, and then luck. We family members tend to forgive each other, but Alan Yuhas writes that playing Catan can provoke strong feelings, and end a friendship.

If you think that it makes me believe that it will overtake monopoly as the best game of all time, I am a convert.  When there are at least three of us together at any time, the first thing this grandmother wants to do is play Catan. I hope I can win a game before I die, but if not, I will die proud of my grandchildren.

I never really looked at the name, Klaus Tauber, the creator, on the box of Catan, and I guess if he had not recently died, I might never have looked at his name. The game was released in 1995 (when it won game of the year), 28 years ago for those of us who continue to learn about things from our grandchildren. The creator was a German, Hans Teuber, who ran a dental lab, then designed board games as a hobby, then as a career.  Those of us with grandchildren who design web games on YouTube can hope that they may also become a Hans Teuber.

Alan Yuhas credits Hans Teuber not only with selling tens of millions of copies of Catan, but transforming the business of board games. According to Wikipedia, “it has been called “the board game of our time” by The Washington Post. A 2012 American documentary film titled Going Cardboard (featuring Klaus Teuber) is about this game’s impact on American gaming communities and what came of it.”

As of 2020, over 32 million copies of Catan in 40 different languages were sold around the world.  There are tournaments and world championships in Catan. Hans Teuber is the creator of an industry, not only a game.  I hope he reaped the just rewards for his brilliance. His obituary is on the Catan website. and at The Daily Beast.

This grandma recommends you buy Catan and see how it transforms the business of playing games not only with your grandchildren and family on family night but also your friendships.  May the luck aspect of the game let you beat your grandchildren just once.



Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Speak Your Mind


Follow by Email