Rivals for Catan is a card game that puts players in-game sessions where two players draw and play cards, trigger events, trade resources, build their own principality, and try to outperform their opponents.
It pretty much offers the same experience as Catan Card Game does. Both games let players engage in these two-player games where each player controls a principality of Catan, as well as builds roads, settlements and cities. Your ultimate goal is to expand your own principality, obtain victory points and defeat the opponent.
Players take turns in making moves. Those moves including rolling the dice (after that some resources will be distributed), building settlements, roads, or even cities, trading current cards for a preferred card or a random card. Different cards bring along different resources or advantages and opportunities. For example, every time players place a settlement card in their principality, they can then place two resource cards near the settlement.
Rivals for Catan makes the familiar game experience much easier. All the statuses of both parties are displayed on the top screen, enabling players to check and compare instead of analyzing and keeping in mind by themselves. When players need to place new cards onto the principality, new slots appear and players can put them in whichever slots they like. The buttons at bottom right vary in different cases and enable players to perform different actions. Moreover, tips appear under the decks, instructing players what they should do or what their opponents are doing.
The game offers multiple play modes. Players can either compete against other Game Center players, against friends, or play with their family or friends in Hotseat mode. In Hotseat mode, two players can share the same device and take turns in using the device and making their moves. In single-player mode, players can play the basic games where only basic sets are available or the theme set games where both theme sets and basic sets are offered.
The theme set games feature different focuses. For instance, Era of Gold, or the gold theme set, intensifies the struggle for the Trade Advantage and in such a game, gold resources become more important.
Long tutorial is also provided to help players get familiar with the complicated rules and gameplay. The tutorial might not be instructive at all for experienced players, but can be quite difficult for newbies.
The tutorial makes the learning curve unbearably steep. Both the basic set tutorial and the theme set tutorial use a game to explain all the rules. And the result is scores of, or even hundreds of pages of tips and conversations run on and on and on, cramming your head with large loads of information. I got stunned and even more confused and didn’t know what to do when the game suggests that all rules had been fully explained.
Rivals for Catan proves to be an excellent mobile version of the classic card game because it not only recreates the complicated and strategic gaming experience but also offers a new approach to enjoy that experience. However, its steep learning curve is obviously not friendly enough to newbies.