If you haven't heard of "Settlers of Catan", I can only assume you've just come back from a 10 year stint in the Orient. Either that or you've got a proper job, and a proper social life. But let's be honest, I think that's very unlikely. Certainly in my tiny corner of the Solar System, this game has proved very popular, especially within Christian circles I might add. Incidentally, these are different from crop circles, in that they're made by nutters (I proudly count myself amongst their number) not aliens, and a cross can usually be found at the centre of it all.
The fun begins as soon as the box is opened; in randomly arranging the hexagonal board pieces, divvying up the tiny painted "roads" and "settlements". It's a game which has nostalgia built-in as standard, what with it's little wooden pieces, and old-school commodity cards, redolent of "Happy Families" or even "Cluedo". All this, and the game hasn't even begun yet. You play an up and coming, iron-age developer, who's sole aim is to plunder nature's bounty to sate his hunger for longer roads and bigger cities. You achieve this, or not as the case may be, through a combination of dice rolling, and cunning decision making. The pleasing ratio of luck to strategy required (about1:4), ensures even the least competitive, or most wine-affected player a sporting chance. O.K. I appreciate board games aren't everyone's idea of a good time, but if you even "quite" like the odd game of "Risk" or "Monopoly", I suggest you look for a cross-wearing nutter to accost, and borrow the game off. Who knows, you might get more than you bargained for.