The Rivals For Catan [App o' the Mornin']

Klaus Teuber’s two-player version of Settlers of Catan went through a much needed streamlining and revision a couple years ago, creating a more balanced, user-friendly game.

The Rivals for Catan (USM, iOS: $4) uses the themes and setting of Catan, such as quasi-medieval village life; gathering rock, wood, wool, gold, brick, and stone; and spending it on upgrades. Instead of a map, however, each player has a town center made of cards in front of him, and begins with two settlements and a stretch of road. By drawing cards and spending resources, the player expands the road, adds and upgrades settlements, and constructs specialty items, such as buildings or heroes, that add resource bonuses or point advantages. The goal is to build enough to reach a set number of victory points.

In the basic game, 7 victory points is the win limit, but The Rivals For Catan app includes all of the special card sets, adding new kinds of buildings that match various Eras: Gold, Progress, and Turmoil. These add subtle strategic changes and have a way of making the game, which is a really a face for points at its basic level, into a more interactive and cut-throat affair.

If you’ve played the original tabletop game, know this much: the app is 100% faithful recreation for the iPad, making good use of the game space. Your town center and cards are visible at all times, and you can toggle to see your opponent’s lay out with one tap. It takes a few minutes to get the hand of the gameflow and the way the interface handles resources by turning cards (thus mimicking the original), but after a tutorial and a few turns, the controls become quite natural.

Rivals includes hotseat and internet play (including GameCenter player matching), which is a welcome treat for those who don’t care for AI opponents. It’s a straightforward and clean adaptation of a fun little addition to the Catan family.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    Not to hijack this post, but I don’t know if you like music, but if you do here’s something you can try that a friend of mine suggested, that I’ve been playing with for the past week, and it’s actually pretty cool: if you install either the iOS or Android Box (cloud storage) app, you get 50GB of free storage. You can upload all of your music (or 50GB of it anyway) to Box and then install either CloudBeats (for iOS) or Cloudaroud (for Android) and have it sync up with your Box account for a “free” (after spending $5 for CloudBeats or $2 for Cloudaround) cloud-based music service. Cloudaround seems to be nicer than CloudBeats as it indexes all your music when you first start it up (instead of as you play individual tracks) making artist and album searches easier. It will also load pictures of the artist you’re listening to from the Internet and use it as a background in the app, which is kind of cool. CloudBeats seems more stable, though. Anyway, it’s fun and you should try it. I’m a DropBox man myself, but for free I don’t mind using Box in this way. And oh yeah, CloudBeats can’t play ogg or FLAC files yet which is kind of a bummer.