A while back I was sent a review copy (Disclosure: At no cost to myself.) of The Settlers of Catan by Rebecca Gable (translated into English by Lee Chadeayne). To be honest, this review should have gone up already, but for some reason I thought it was coming out next week. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know how I got that idea. My apologies to the kind folks at Wunderkind PR.
The book is based on an ingenious strategy board game called, duh, The Settlers of Catan created by Klaus Teuber. The game sets itself apart from other strategy board games by encouraging cooperation. Winning isn’t achieved by defeating the other players, but by working with them to grow your settlement.
A raid on the coastal village of Elasund, followed by a particularly harsh winter, pushes the Elasunders to face some hard facts. Their village can’t support them all. The rocky fields and its poor soil can’t supply enough grain, nor the sea enough fish to feed them year round. If they face another winter as hard as this one, many will not survive. After seeking the wisdom of their gods, they decide to search for a new home.