“Wanna trade some wheat?”

“I give you DEATH WIZARD.”

“How about a brick?”

“DEATH WIZZ–AARD!”

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(If you haven’t heard of Settlers of Catan, maybe we won’t be friends. Correction– we most definitely won’t be. Give up already.)

It just so happened, as it often happens in nature, that what starts off as small and meek and insignificant, grows, and gets a life of its own. Because why the heck not. Things want to live, Catan included.

And looking back on it now, it is quite clear:

I have an intimately dysfunctional relationship with this board game. My cohorts Markus and Fate know this well. At first, it was harmless. A lovely little distraction. A radiant little excursion. The land of Catan, where I am the banker and the banker is me.

Things escalated, and baby Catan – our tootsie young boy – grew like a yeast, into the Troy. 

So the three of us, Markus, me and Fate, PLAYED. Yessir we did. In times of scarcity, in times of despair, when we were happy and when we were bare. With unsavory characters – in unsavory places; like the 3 Musketeers – only savage and crooked. Such was the lifestyle on which we were hooked.

Sure enough, and in classic vanilla-style, we adapted the rules to suit our perverse sexual fantasies. Markus would carry the damned thing to parties and events. We’d get in our trio and play on the road, play in the corner and stayed in that mode. We were a clan of nomads, of wasted bold hags, a marching band of gypsies, gypsies with class.

One time we played Catan 12 hours straight. It got abusive, hairy and strange. A pile of Pistachio shells was soon hurled at Fate, I cursed out her life and shattered a vase. Sought peace in a bathtub. Blacked-out right there.

What can be said? Refuge was found.

We’d play to escape. To waste time I guess. To fill the abyss of the life we had made. To make us laugh. To take a path. Our brittle, rotten expatriate lives. Such was the tyranny. Such was the dread. 1st world salary in a 3rd world debt.

*Point to note: De facto only Fate is employed. Salary was mentioned for effect. Markus and I have no jobs.

(evil eyes) We have Catan instead.

“Pray tell us the details” I hear you say?

Now, now darling peasant, restraint here is key. 

Catan is a beast of tactics and wit. A game of expansion fueled by risk. Trade, block and rob until you are full. Pillage and plunder the fortunes of doom.

Settle, build, expand.

Settle, build, expand.

Such is the drill in the land of Catan. So secure the resources! Get the best ones: Some juicy brick or lovely Baran…stay vigilant settler. Plan and prepare, be-wise-young-Padawan or you shall despair.

Attain 10 points and you will be king. A sovereign ruler – ruling the law. Ruling the roads, and ruling the ports. You will rejoice for Catan is all yours.

… Be warned though dear wizard. Be warned and be spared. Thine land is thine shrine, and it is not bare. It breathes and remembers: the people who came. So tread here with caution, or go now elsewhere.

(light fades)

If I had to explain the feeling of playing Settlers, It is the opposite of sad and uninvolved. The opposite of corrupting an SD card, losing your cat, or chipping a tooth.

Had Catan been a song, it would be a Confederate one. A Talking Heads track (dum dum dum dum Nudge, Nudge Fate) works too. It is the land of spicy beef and tofu from that questionable Chinese joint down the road. It is dog-sitting for friends whilst they marry in Somerset…I could go on. I shouldn’t.

Let’s wrap this up so I can go play.

I’ll build my apricot house, and place it right there. The land here is precious and hence I shall stay. So tell your superiors, and tell them again. The settlers have come. And we’re here to stay.

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Sound familiar?

Yeee Boy

 images from https://pixabay.com/