Settlers of Catan (without Settling) – Part 2

Settlers of Catan is like the Monopoly of the new gaming world.  Well, maybe that’s not quite a fair comparison, though it does seem to be a staple in many gamer’s homes.

What really makes a gaming experience can be the players.  Have you ever had that one friend who makes everyone laugh?  Making clever remarks about some of the game pieces/cards, teasing others, or complaining about how they’re going to “die” in the game?  There are times when I’m grateful that someone isn’t taking the game too seriously.

On the other hand, have you ever played a strategic game with friends only to have one person taking their time each time?  Of course you have.  Whether it be another adult or a child, it can be frustrating.  I know I’ve had to learn patience from it.  Heck, I’m not perfect and I know others have had to exercise patience with me.

Here’s a solution when playing Settlers of Catan.  Be passive aggressive by handing that person this card.  Warning: friends with a sense of humour needed.

Catan_Longest Turn Card

The image isn’t mine and can be found all over the internet so I’m not sure who to give credit to, but I love it and thought to share.  Simply print it out using the same measurements as the Large Army and Longest Road cards, attach it to the back of some cardboard (I used two layers of cereal box cardboard) and have fun with it!

In an effort not to waste paper, I printed four on a page and made some for my friend’s copies of Settlers.


Carcassonne Tile Legend

Carcassonne is a fun tile laying game with the design based upon the city of Carcassonne in France.  My friend Pam introduced me to the game a few months ago.  Since then I’ve purchased my own copy as well as the mobile app, becoming addicted in the process.  What I really enjoyed about her copy of the game as well as the app is the legend showing how many tiles there are of each design.  For some reason, the newer copies of the game do not include this detail in the instruction manual.  If you have the game, check your copy.  Does yours have it?

I found this image on the web, printed it on some cardstock and included it in my game.  I find it helps during gameplay, especially when introducing new players to the game so they get an idea of what type of tiles to expect.



Game Hybrids

Being somewhat new to board gaming, I’m surprised whenever I see two completely different games being played together as one.  Recently when I sat down with a group of friends to play Telestrations (think Pictionary and the game of Telephone), someone pulled out their copy of Cards Against Humanity (CAH) suggesting we play both together.  What….?!

Instead of rolling a die and drawing the item listed on the Telestrations card, you have the additional option of drawing any of the subjects from the CAH cards in your hand.  Here’s what I ended up with..

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Can you guess which one I picked to draw?  Hilarity obviously ensued.

Best game of Telestrations ever!

Do you have any game hybrid ideas?  If so, I’d love to here about them!


Settlers of Catan (without Settling) – Part 1

Sometimes I look at a board game and wonder how I can make it a little more customized.  Just some small changes make a big difference to the satisfaction of game play at times.  There are several ideas on the web showing an incredible amount of effort using wood or clay, but I’m just not willing to commit that much effort into one board game.  Instead, I look for small ways to enhance my games.

Settlers of Catan has been around for quite a while and is now known as a staple in the board game enthusiast’s home.  If you’re familiar with this game, you know it comes with a robber/thief character piece.  Here’s what he looks like:

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Functional but kinda boring.  Alternatively I found this cute little guy being made and sold on Etsy for about $5:

Pinterest_SoC Thief

They can be found online here.  If you visit Etsy and search for board games, there are several handmade and fun pieces you can add to your games.  This one was just one of my faves.  Maybe you’re ambitious enough to make your own?

Happy browsing!


Organizing Game Pieces

Pinterest_How to Organize Board Game Pieces

Some of my favourite board games are worker placement type games which can be full of several small wooden pieces and tiles.  If you’ve ever played Tzolk’in, you’d know that it’s no exception to this rule.  Organizing all the bits can look like a mess with all the bags that end up being thrown into the box.  As you can see from the picture below, mine looked disastrous!


After playing someone else’s copy of the game a few weeks ago, our friend Lionel pulled out a little plastic tool organizer box he purchased from the dollar store.  It’s just the right size to fit inside the box and is a brilliant solution to store all the little bits!  Little dividers come with the organizer and can be inserted strategically to customize your different categories.

Here’s how I organized mine.  I added labels so set-up and clean up are now faster and easier for everyone playing.  It’s a win-win solution for only $3!


I hope you’re inspired to do the same.  🙂


Tzolk’in Cogs/Gear Enhancement

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Tzolk’in is one of my favourite worker placement board games.  The pieces, tiles and artwork on the board are all well done, so it’s surprising to me to see that the cogs have been manufactured as a boring and bland beige.  I became inspired when I noticed some Tzolk’in game owners had painted their cogs, posting pictures online.  Some talented game owners have some beautifully detailed cogs…but I wanted to keep it simple.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much information that I could find on how to paint them.  Listed below are some steps and tips that I found through trial and error to help you with the process.



– 7 small craft size bottle of acrylic paint; yellow/mustard, red/rust, blue, green, silver, black and grey.
– Paintbrushes (medium & small sized)
– Spray paint primer
– Paper towel
– Mod Podge (optional)

Step 1:  Prime the Cogs

Use a can of spray paint primer specifically for plastic. I used Rust-oleum.


I laid out my cogs on some newsprint outside for ventilation.  Spraying lightly and quickly, let them sit between coats to dry.  This will help to avoid paint dripping or pools of paint sitting on the cogs.


Could you forgo the priming process?  I wouldn’t.  I brushed a coat of paint onto the back of one of the cogs to test that and this is the result;

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As you can see, it’s fairly opaque and would require several coats of paint.  Using the primer really cuts down on your time later and allows for a more even hue.

Step 2:  Paint the Base Colours

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Go to town painting each cog a different colour, saving the grey for the large cog.  A couple of coats will likely be necessary.

Step 3:  Enhancing the Painted Cogs

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I took the picture on the left after the cogs were fully painted and sealed, though it shows the darker areas where the workers will be placed.  I simply added a touch of black to the paint when painting these areas.  I suppose you could alternatively use a watered down black on top of the blue as well.

For the large cog, I added some silver paint and water together, and while using a paper towel, dipped it in the mixture and lightly rubbed it over where I wanted the silver on the dried cog.

Step 4:  Sealing the Painted Cogs

Acrylic paint when dried has a powdery texture I don’t particularly enjoy touching.  To seal the cogs, improve the texture and make them a little shiny, I used Mod Podge from the craft store.  One coat was enough.  After the Mod Podge dries, add to the game board, then apply the round stickers that came with your game.

Tip: You may wish to avoid sealing the edges of the cogs to avoid cogs sticking when using the game.

Hope you’re inspired to paint your own.  Enjoy!