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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Shoot Goals in CATAN, Replace Sheep with Goats, and Revisit Marrakesh

by W. Eric Martin

I’ve expressed my hatred of April Fools’ Day many times on this site, but to (sort of) get into the spirit of the day, I thought I’d post about games and expansions that are 100% real, but which others — including you! — might find hard to believe.

• Let’s start with CATAN: Soccer Fever, a scenario from Klaus and Benjamin Teuber and Catan Studio for use with the CATAN base game (or any version of CATAN that uses the base game) that will debut in English in June 2023:

Soccer fever has gripped the island of Catan. You and your fellow Catanians are swept up in supporting your hometown teams. Will they win the most matches and finish the season with the championship cup?

CATAN: Soccer Fever is a lighthearted and simple scenario for the CATAN base game that’s perfect for soccer and football fans everywhere. Every time you build a settlement or city, it’s match day on the island of Catan. Winning soccer matches provides you with benefits, and the team that leads the league standings gets extra victory points.

Holding a soccer match in CATAN: Soccer Fever is ridiculously fun yet simple! Assemble the packaging folio into a soccer pitch and flick your soccer ball at the goalie! If it lands color side up, it’s a GOOOOAAAAL! Score the most goals to win the match.

I tweeted about this expansion in early March 2023, and many of the responses seemed appalled by the idea of introducing a dexterity element to CATAN, ignoring that you don’t have to use this if you don’t want. Lots of “Is this April 1?” comments followed, as if silly things aren’t released at any other time of year, as if we shouldn’t welcome playful absurdity into our lives every day.

• I’ll note that a new edition of the CATAN: Hawai’i scenario is also scheduled for release in June 2023, despite Hawaii being nothing more than a construct to simulate life on Mars. Stick to reality, Fraud Teuber!

• Speaking of CATAN, the sheep have gone missing in the digital version on Board Game Arena and in the Console Edition only to be replaced by…goats, specifically Pilgor and other goats from the video game Goat Simulator 3.

Yes, these goats will be taking the role of sheep online until the end of April 1, 2023, but you can try to make the transfer permanent by entering a contest for one of thirty packs of Pilgor resource cards.

What’s more, CATAN’s sheep will be appearing in Goat Simulator 3’s world of San Angora as a free playable skin so that players can become one with the sheep.

How did this crossover come about? It’s not too hard to figure out when you realize that Asmodee owns the English-language publication rights to CATAN, and Asmodee is owned by Swedish firm Embracer Group, while Goat Simulator 3 is published by Coffee Stain Studios AB, which is a subsidiary of Coffee Stain Holding, which is itself a subsidiary of Embracer Group. It’s synergy, baby!

• German publisher Queen Games is running a Kickstarter through April 4, 2023 for Marrakesh: Essential Edition, a new version of the Stefan Feld game that debuted in 2022.

Queen originally Kickstarted this design in two versions — Classic and Deluxe — in October 2021, and that campaign is still being fulfilled as this new campaign is underway for a version of the game that, in the words of a Queen Games representative, “offers the same great gameplay and component quality, in a standard sized box, with a lower price point”. (The first two editions of Marrakesh are rectangular, so they don’t shelve nicely next to other titles in Queen’s Stefan Feld City Collection.)

Queen has a long history of releasing multiple editions of its games, e.g., Alhambra, Alhambra: Big Box, Alhambra: Big Box Special Edition, Alhambra: Family Box, and Alhambra: Mega Box, which can make figuring out exactly what’s in which box a game all its own.


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