Ever since the triumphant arrival of STAR TREK: CATAN, a concept I was championing a year ago at GenCon, I’ve been “ablaze” with the notion of the only thing that would be better… CATAN: DARK SHADOWS.
It’s pretty clear that the Catan concept is as versatile as the Monopoly concept. My hope is that the fine folks at Teuber Command will see this. It will bring the concepts and joys of the mechanics within Catan to greater and greater audiences, although I realize that, yes, it may take us down the dark roads of CATAN: DILBERT and CATAN: NASCAR.
It could get worse. Much, much worse.*
Still, it was fun to ponder what the Catan concept would do with Dark Shadows. My initial concept was that the commodities would be wrath, betrayal, passion, wisdom, and regret. But as I played with the idea, it was a bit too abstract.
I’m kind of caught up with what the equivalents of settlements and cities would be. Collinwood can only have so many rooms and wings. I ended up making them coffins and crypts. No, not all of (or even most of) the show deals with vampirism, but I had to settle on something. Roads became secret passages.
The hexes are color-based, but each has an individualized portrait in it (with a space for the number token), keeping it interesting. The game has the following commodities…
WISDOM (blue) with pictures of Bill Malloy, Dave Woodard, Sam Evans (two-sided for blind or sighted), and Julia Hoffman. 4 Hexes.
WILLPOWER (purple) Barnabas, Maggie, and Vicki. 3 Hexes.
There is one “woods” piece, and the Trask (robber) figure stays there until a 7 is rolled.
Development Cards are now Seance Cards, and contain a preponderance of Stokes Cards, which represent the Knight Cards.
All of the standard rules apply. I haven’t gotten around to the individual cards beyond the Stokes Cards, but I will.
The building card goes like this…
Willpower and Secrets = Secret Passage
Wisdom and Willpower and Secrets and Passion = a coffin. (Talk about a metaphor!)
3 Arcana and 2 Wisdom = upgrading a coffin to a crypt.
Passion and Arcana and Wisdom = Seance.
Trading became an interesting issue. The landscape of the board is no longer literal, so the ports change a bit. When do you give up one of the above commodities for another? At Cliffhangers. So that’s what the ports have become. And trading with the bank has become “visiting the Blue Whale.”
Now, how soon can I find the time to make my custom board?
*CATAN: FRIENDS. CATAN: HOGWARTS. CATAN: MUPPETS. CATAN: MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. CATAN: SEX IN THE CITY. CATAN: AVATAR. CATAN: GLEE. CATAN: BIG BANG THEORY is so obvious I’m amazed it hasn’t happened. But then they’d have to play it on the show, and it might explode in a self-referential causality loop. CATAN: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA would be the best game until someone reached nine victory points. At that point, a second, hidden rulebook is opened up. It’s total gibberish, but once decoded it explains that no one wins. CATAN: DEEP SPACE NINE is the best of any of the games ever made, but midway into the second round, all but one of the players are required to go play a totally different game designed by either Joe Straczynski or Joss Whedon. The remaining player has an amazing experience as the game picks up, but no one will believe him. He will spend years trying to convince people that the game got really good, and they are required to say, “I tried playing, but I got bored during the second round and went to play something else.” The player who remained is the winner, but no one will believe him.