Everyone from The Wall Street Journal to The Atlantic is claiming the game is about to hit the big time. But will it ever really arrive?
The German board game Settlers of Catan has been trending toward mainstream status for years. A 2008 Wired Magazine article dubbed it the "Monopoly Killer." The next year, the Wall Street Journal noted how the game is a favorite among techie crowds. The year after that, the Washington Post called it "board game of our time." Then, just this week, fellow Atlantic contributor Scott Keyes declared that the board game has arrived: "Over the past few years, Settlers of Catan has transformed from an activity enjoyed by a small niche of gamers into a mainstream hit." But, has the up-and-coming board game really transformed into a "mainstream hit," or will it be relegated to up-and-coming status—like soccer, or Vespas—forever?
Full disclosure: I am a regular Settlers player. At least twice a month I get together with two to five of my friends to "Settle," as the lingo goes. I first learned how to play in 2007, which I guess makes me part of the enclave that popularized the obscure German game with a less-than-marketable name. Since then I've been hooked. My college friends played when we were too lazy to go out. And when I first moved to D.C. I used it as a way to make friends in a city where I knew few people. I get the appeal. I'm just not so quick to call it the next Monopoly or Risk.