NEWINGTON – The Tabletop Gaming Center at 741 New Britain Road played host to a national championship qualifier tournament for the internationally recognized board game Settlers of Catan Saturday and gathered competitors from all over the state.
Twenty-four participants competed against one another for points over a few rounds, shifting in with different opponents as games ended and had their scores tallied via an app. The qualified winner would be guaranteed a spot at the 2022 Catan United States National Championship Tournament in Columbus, Ohio and those winning the United States tournament will be guaranteed a spot to compete at the 2022 Catan World Championship in Malta.
The first Catan World Championship was held in 2002 in Essen, Germany.
Sometimes just referred to as “Settlers” or “Catan,” the game has been printed in 40 languages with over 32 million copies and was first published in Germany by Franckh-Kosmos Verlag in 1995. Since that time, it has received several edition updates and expansions. The game’s setup typically takes 15 minutes or less and gameplay can at times last a few hours long. The base game allows for three or four players to play on a hexagonal layout. Players build settlements and roads on the game board, recognized as the island of Catan, collect and trade resources and outscore their opponents through superior tactics and infrastructure development. The board spaces are randomized for each game’s start. Dice rolls often determine the kind and amount of resources players can collect.
John Stearns, a resident of Old Lyme and tournament competitor, said he first started playing Settlers in December last year online and got “addicted” to it. He saw a notice for the competition and came to play in his first, live board game tournament.
“Unlike chess, each (beginning) board state is different and there’s a lot of initial strategy to go through and there’s a steep skill curve where you can get better as you’re able to track and predict making decisions and how they affect one another down the line,” he said. “The one downside is there still is a lot of luck involved in the game.
Stearns said he enjoyed the game because it had a nice mix of skill and chance.
Chris Ceron, David Canales, Stephanie Chung and Mario Balducci visited the tournament as friends from Queens, New York.
“We play every week and we think we’re good so we went online and we found (the tournament),” said Balducci.
“Every single week, we have a standing priority reservation,” said Chung of the group’s play times. “We love Catan and they should put us on the box.”
Ceron said he first introduced the game to Chung before the pandemic and they play multiple times a week.
“I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the numbers, the chances and placement,” said Ceron of why he enjoyed the game. “We’ve expanded (into the game expansions). When we met Mario and David a few months ago, we realized they played Catan too and our friendship built off that.”
Canales said it was nice to play with friends and he enjoyed every game being different.
“I guess we usually attack the player who’s winning,” said Balducci of his play tactics, given the game’s nature to allow for trades and potential, if brief, allied actions.
When asked about the store’s many and varied game events being held, Tabletop Gaming Center Owner Haldan Pflueger-Smith said the store’s focus is on being there for those in its community.
“That’s all of our communities, whether it’s people who want to play board games or card games. We want to be an accepting place for people of all genders, ethnicities, races and everything,” he said. “Especially in the world today, we want to be that place where people can come, relax, be and just enjoy themselves.”
As of press time, tournament results were not yet available.
Posted in The Bristol Press, General News, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington Herald, Terryville on Saturday, 5 March 2022 19:38. Updated: Saturday, 5 March 2022 19:41.