Catan Histories: Settlers of America Review
Now that I have reviewed The Settlers of Catan, it is time to review its most recent offshoot: Catan Histories: Settlers Of America - Trails To Rails.
Settlers of America plays incredibly similarly to Settlers of Catan, but does change a few mechanics. First of all, some of the resource markers will move. At the beginning of the game (as at the beginning of the USA as a nation), all of the settlements are built on the East Coast. As the game progresses and players move westward, some of the resource numbers are moved with the players, thus causing the East Coast cities to be less useful later in the game.
The next mechanic that changes is that in Settlers of America, you cannot build a settlement directly (or upgrade to a city at all). You actually have to build a settler, and then pay to move them to construct their new settlement on an empty part of the board.
The third change (which I feel to be the greatest improvement) is that in Settlers of America, you collect something every turn. They have added the concept of gold into the game, and so if you do not collect a resource on a turn (due to poor placement, fluke dice rolling, etc), you at least gain a gold, and from there you can trade 2 gold for a resource of your choice later in the game. This helps balance out the randomness of the dice rolling, but is only somewhat effective at that.
The fourth, and most drastic change in the game is in the win condition. In order to win Settlers of America, you have to 1) place all of your settlements and 2) deliver the goods of your settlements to other players settlements - this is done through constructing rail lines and moving your train to be adjacent to other people's cities.
One of the problems with this game compared to the original Settlers of Catan is that the board is much busier. Between the rail lines, trains, settlements, settlers, and placed goods, it is very difficult to glance at the game board and see what is going on. This especially comes into play when collecting resources, as you will have to look through all of the board to determine where your settlements are and whether they produce resources.
Another downside of this game when compared to the original Settlers of Catan is that the board is not modular. There are a few resource numbers that are placed randomly (the ones that move westward as the game progresses), but other than that, the board is what it is.
Overall, I would give Settlers of America a 7.0/10. It is definitely a playable game, and I would recommend it to people that truly love playing Settlers of Catan. For those that only occasionally play a Settlers style of game, however, I would recommend sticking with the original.