Saturday, November 05, 2005

First Impression: Candamir: The First Settlers

Kray and I played Candamir today for the first time. I've been meaning to play this game for a while now but for one reason or another, I never got around to opening the shrink wrap.

This is Klaus Teuber's prequel to the Settlers of Catan series. In this game, players take on the role of individual settlers and set out to gather the resources required to build the first settlement of Catan.

Candamir is the name of one of the characters in the settlement. Apparently this game is based on a Settlers of Catan themed novel that was very popular in Germany. For those of us in the English speaking world, the literary connection doesn't really add much to the game so we're left to appreciate the game on its own merits.

There are some elements here that give the game its Settlers flavor. For instance, there's resources to collect and trade in for experience points and there's the ability to trade with other players. But really, this game feels very different. It's almost more of a role-playing game. Players take on the role of individual settlers, complete with statistics and experience points. As the game progresses, statistics improve. Statistics are used to overcome challenges, battle wild animals, and so on.

There's really very little player interaction in this game but there is some. One of the objects in the game lets you hurt someone who's ahead of you, hopefully slowing them down and allowing you to catch up. The other way you can interact is by trading but frankly, there's little incentive to do so. Any time you might trade with another player you're almost certainly going to help that other player more than you're helping yourself, and nothing in the game that you require is so hard to acquire that you feel compelled to trade for it. There are also a few instances where you compete with other players for victory points (similar to the longest road in Settlers of Catan) so by overtaking another player you can sometimes steal a victory point.So to a certain degree the game feels a bit like multi-player solitaire but it's still pretty fun and I look forward to playing again.


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