Playing Catan with Calvin

Last month Jaeger’s mom came for a week to celebrate Calvin’s fourth birthday. While she was here, Jaeger and I took the opportunity to go out by ourselves for the evening. We ate at Leaf which was, as always, scrumptious. After Leaf we dawdled for a while on the Pearl Street Mall and then decided to stop by Barnes and Noble on the way home. Browsing Barnes and Noble I saw that they had Catan Junior. Jaeger and I convinced ourselves we should buy it for Calvin’s birthday even though it’s rated for ages 6 and up.

A couple nights after we bought the game, Calvin and I settled down for his first game. It went fairly well. Even though the rules are already simple, I simplified them even more1. Calvin doesn’t like pirates so we left out the pirate that would normal be played every time a six is rolled (there’s only one dice). We also changed the “pirate lairs” to “castles.” I would tell Calvin when it was his turn, and then point at each island adjacent to one of his castles and inquire if it was the number he had just rolled. If so, I’d point out the resources. When appropriate, I also suggested when he should consider building another ship or castle. Calvin won his first game

Last night Anya stopped by and we all played a game of Catan Junior together. This time I think Calvin had a better feel for the game. He seemed to get into being able to build and also liked it whenever he could buy Coco (a parrot card that is the equivalent of a development card). I gave him choices of where he could build ships and castles and made recommendations and sometimes he followed my recommendation and sometimes he didn’t. Jaeger ended up winning the game and Calvin was pretty distraught that he hadn’t won. We tried to explain that one doesn’t always win every game and sometimes other people win. He then tried to insist we play another game but it was past his bedtime so I insisted he go to bed instead.

We had left the game on the kitchen table and this morning Calvin pulled out all the ships and castles and organized them. First he put all the colors together and then he started lining them up, alternating ships and castles. With one color, he had started with the castles but there are more ships (8) than castles (7) and Calvin seemed a little perturbed when he got to the end and had two ships in a row. After contemplating for a bit, he rearranged the order so the color both started and ended with a ship. This mostly worked but he still had two ships, albeit of different colors, lined up next to each other for each color change. I think I managed to convince him that was ok because they were different colors but I think he was dubious.

This next week Calvin and I are flying out to visit my mom. Jaeger suggested I could take Catan Junior to play and I thought that was a good idea. However, to save space, I just packed the pieces and left the box on the table. After supper, Calvin requested another game of Catan Junior. I told him no because I had already packed them and he got very upset. He really, really, wanted to play another game RIGHT NOW. I didn’t relent, it was too close to bedtime and we have an early start tomorrow, but I was happy he seems to enjoy the game so much. I wonder when we can graduate him to real Catan . . .

  1. A good review and summary of the game is here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *