Star Trek: Catan is basically Settlers of Catan with a thin sheen of Star Trek painted over it. Normally I'd consider that kind of pointless, but in this case, it seems like the perfect approach. In fact, it probably makes the game less pointless.
Here's why you might consider joining the Federation of Catan.
Let's be honest: Settlers of Catan is a brilliant strategy game, but the theme, what with all the sheep, brick and ore trading going on, is pretty weak. Transform the sea into space and the geometric chunks of Catan into planets, and suddenly it looks a lot more interesting. I'd much rather build starbases than settlements.
If you're unfamiliar with Settlers, players compete to build settlements and upgrade them to cities, trying to gather the resources necessary to win, all while avoiding a robber who steals your stuff and forces your resource generating tiles to lie fallow.
Star Trek: Catan reskins the whole thing. You build Enterprises instead of roads (representing explored hyperspace routes, I guess), and there's a Klingon Bird of Prey instead of a robber. You gather water, oxygen and dilithium instead of wood, wheat and sheep. But the vivid colors and 1960s space atmosphere give the game a much cooler vibe than the old-timey feel that original Settlers has.
There are a few extras that set the game apart, however. The development cards have been retooled to fit the theme, of course, but there are also support character cards. Each character (from the original series) has a special ability that a player can use twice during the course of the game. Chekov lets you move the Klingon ship, Uhura allows you to force a resource trade with another player, and Spock gets you extra resources, for instance.
It's good that the developers didn't needlessly complicate the rules of Catan. In this case, a straightforward reskin was just the thing.
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