If you’ve ever played the addictive and award-winning board game The Settlers of Catan, you know that Earth’s terrains—forests, fields, mountains, hills, and pastures—produce resources essential to winning (not to mention surviving in the real world). Continuing in that vein, today the game’s producer and publishers, along with the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization, announced a new scenario where black gold, a helpful but potentially damaging resource for players, will be one of the resources.
"Catan's philosophy has always been at its core to deal with a limited amount of resources in a sustainable and responsible way," said Benjamin Teuber, a product developer for the game’s production company, in a press release. "The use of oil has brought great benefits with it. However, responsible usage has become more important than ever for all of us, and we hope to convey that concept in both an informative and entertaining way in this scenario."
Resources in the base game already include lumber, wheat, ore, brick, and sheep, all things that players must obtain and trade in order to develop, and oil will definitely be a complicating factor. In Catan: Oil Springs, players can develop faster with the resource, but in doing so could pollute and risk disasters associated with climate change. Those who opt to halt oil production can also get points for being a “Champion of the Environment.” And who wouldn’t want to get that token?
"This game shows the extreme difficulty in prioritizing long-term well-being and security when there is so much pressure to maximize short-term growth—an essential lesson in today's growth-obsessed culture," said Erik Assadourian, co-author of the scenario and director of the Transforming Cultures project at Worldwatch. The organization, which will receive profits from the sales once graphics and printing costs have been paid, is speculating that those who have bought one of the 18 million boards in production will be pumped about the new pools, er, hexes, on the board.
To find this version, or to download it for free, visit oilsprings.catan.com, and start tackling the issues surrounding development and sustainability while trading your lumber or building your settlements.