A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn to perseverance, and use strategic and critical thinking as they figure out Catan's rules and try to win games. With help from parents, kids can discuss how people interact with their environments, how economies develop over time, and how the game might be different if the settlers also interacted with native peoples on the island of Catan. While the web-based version isn't the ideal platform, if kids stick with it they'll still experience some of the deep strategic thinking that's made it a beloved game.
Kids learn how people and cultures are, in part, interdepedent, and they get a chance to help one another even while competing.
Ease of Play
Play Catan's text-heavy tutorials lack some of the interactivity that's needed to teach the game, so beginners might be lost especially if playing against quick-paced, experienced players.
The host of an online game Play Catan can turn off chat, but parents shoud be mindful that chat is left on in some games.
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Products & Purchases
The website that hosts Play Catan does feature ads for account upgrades and an online shop for purchasing more products in the Catan franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Play Catan is a somewhat complex online multiplayer video game based on the popular turn-based strategy board game Settlers of Catan. While the online version of the game lacks the same amount of socializing that happens around the board game (especially in single player mode), kids get access to tutorials, and can more easily find people to play with from around the world. Play Catan requires more strategic thinking than a typical board game and it calls for both cooperation and competition, which may leave new players frustrated as things turn more competitive near the end of the game and players hoard resources. The out of date matchmaking interface makes joining and hosting games confusing, and the in-game interface shows its age too. The iOS app is a better digital experience, but the board game remains the gold standard.
Is It Any Good?
For fans of the original board game, Play Catan can be a fun, if dated, online experience, but it's difficult to learn how to play using the text-heavy and quick-paced online tutorials. A crowded matchmaking and game hosting interface makes it confusing to find the right game for kids and newbies. Consequently, it's better to learn how to play Settlers of Catan using the board game or iOS app. Once kids have a good handle on the game, it'll be fun to jump online and race other players to the top of the resource chain.
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