Settlers of Catan + Man of Aran

Founding the new country, working hard

Settlers of Catan was the gateway game for me and the one the made me realise that boardgames didn’t have to be rubbish fun traps. It’s probably the most well known ‘good’ board game now and for good reason. It’s pretty easy to pick up, every player is involved a lot of the time and there are a lot of different ways to win meaning that you often have to change your strategy throughout the game. It’s also unusual in that the board is a collection of hexagon tiles which are arranged in different ways each time, so each game is different.

Catan is all about colonising new land, making bricks, bringing in the wheat and chopping down wood. The music choice for this is by one of my favourite bands ever: British Sea Power.

British Sea Power are a very rural band and many of their songs are about nature (sample song titles: “Apologies to Insect Life”, “Favours in the Beetroot Fields”, “Oh Larsen B”, “The Great Skua”). They’re incredible live, I saw them at Oxford Brookes and most of the crowd had attached foliage to their clothes. The band climbed around the scaffolding, at one point I think there was a guy in a bear suit, it was fantastic.

They’ve also done some interesting soundtracks for some great documentaries. Highly recommended is “Happiness” about a child in Bhutan who goes from his village with his dad to bring back a TV which have just been allowed into the country. This choice though is “Man of Aran”, a 1934 film for which British Sea Power wrote a new soundtrack. It’s epic and fits perfectly with the game. It always seems like the tension picks up in the music at just the right time. The film is great as well.

So get Catan out, and put Sea Power on.