La,OCt13:Hollywood threatened to make a Monopoly movie. They were taking it seriously, too. Ridley Scott was going to direct it at one point. It sounded like a nightmare. And while everyone held their breath and waited for the movie to never, ever get made, we pondered one question: what the hell is a Monopoly movie? And that inspired another question: are there any board games that would make for great movies?
The answer to that second question is yes, but we’ll get there soon enough. Right now, the big news is that The Settlers of Catan, or just Catan (it was recently rebranded) is heading to the big screen courtesy of Sony. And while this is probably the most famous designer board game in the world, considered the classic gateway game for people looking to dip their toe into the hobby beyond Risk and Monopoly and Sorry, this is also downright weird. The Settlers of Catan is a classic, one of the most important tabletop games ever made, but is there even a movie in there?
The Settlers of Catan is now set up at Sony with Producer Gail Katz (who acquired the rights to the game back in 2015) has teamed up with Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich to realize the project. Blaise Hemingway, whose auspicious credits include the upcoming Ugly Dolls movie and the “Untitled Playmobil Movie,” has been hired to write the screenplay. No director is attached. It’s not clear if this will be a serious take on the game, which centers around building a civilization on a beautiful island, or if it will be a self-aware, LEGO Movie-style comedy. Heck, it’s not even clear if this will be live-action or animated. But it is “being eyed as a potential franchise starter.”
What is clear is that The Settlers of Catan (or just plain Catan now) has sold 25 million copies and has been translated into 38 languages. While not as universal as other, less good board games (Monopoly stinks, y’all), a lot of people all over the world are familiar with this game. And while it took a few decades, Catan is finally available in big box retailers, where it is sold alongside the flimsy and dated likes of Risk and Scrabble. It’s only going to get bigger.
If you’re a board game aficionado, you know what The Settlers of Catan (and no, I’m not prepared to just call it just Catan yet) is all about. Players assemble a modular island, which means that every game is a little bit different, and start building settlements and roads. A roll of the dice determines which hexes pay off their resources, which include livestock, wood, stone, and wheat. This is the only source of randomness in the game – everything else is about good timing, patience, and a little bit of negotiation as players expand their communities, compete for victory points, and hoard goods, avoiding the bandit who steals their stuff and screaming when someone builds their road in the exact wrong place, screwing up the strategy you’ve been plotting for the past hour.
Designed by Klaus Tuber and originally published in 1995, The Settlers of Catan is probably the most famous “German-style” board game in the world.