For a number of years, now, the favorite game in my family has definitely been The Settlers of Catan, along with the expansion games. The first expansion we bought was The Sea Farers of Catan. We played it a lot until the more recent expansions came out, but tend to play The Cities & Knights of Catan the most, now. If you've never played the basic version, you should, plain and simple. It's a strategy game, and since the board is different every time, there's tons of replay value. Before you know it you'll be a brick trading, road building, 2 for 1 trading machine! As avid Settlers fans, we've done a few things over the years to help streamline & enhance our playing experience. A few years ago, my husband and I made a playing board to hold the hex pieces together, so they don't move around during play, and so that you can move the board from off the kitchen table if it's time for dinner. You can kind of see it in the bottom picture. We made it out of two pieces of hardboard. The bottom piece was left in a large square, and the top piece has a hole cut in the center in the shape and size of the Catan game. Then we glued them together, and it created a fabulous board!
The next enhancement we made was for our own Cities & Knights game. We like to play with more than just the normal 4 people, sometimes, so I decided to attempt to make our own 5-6 player expansion. We would actually need the expansions for both regular settlers & for Cities & Knights, so I checked what pieces we would need and set to work. I had almost the right amount of hexes from our Seafarers expansion, but needed 3 more, so I used some extra water hexes as the base, copied the front of the hexes needed, printed them off & used spray adhesive to attach them to the back of the water hexes. My husband made three sets of the wooden playing pieces using his wood working tools, and then I painted them black, pink or yellow. I also made knight stickers to go on the knight circles, and they turned out fabulously!Our most recent goal was to create a card holder to house all the cards needed for a game of Cities & Knights. My technically minded dad, and my creative husband (along with a little input from their wives to help with design) figured out a decent design, and built a prototype for the holder. It turned out great! You can see it in the top right photo. The card holder is angled upward toward the back, so the cards overlap a little on each level. It holds all the cards, including the victory point cards you win when you conquer the barbarians. We used it during the next game we played, and it was so nice to have all the cards organized, without needing to straighten the piles during the game. It was easy to see all the cards, and I'm sure we'll get plenty of use from the organizer. Another nice thing about the holder design, it fits perfectly into the Cities & Knights box!
So, now that I've revealed how crazy we are about board games in general & Settlers of Catan particularly, what are some games that your family is nuts over? Have you made anything to streamline your game play? Or are we just a weird family? =) Have a happy new year!