Due to changes in my living arrangement I’m no longer able to play Settlers of Catan with my old group of friends. I’ve considered a few digital solutions to this problem.
Microsoft recently released a version of the game that runs on Windows operating systems. Unfortunately this product is almost unplayable. This software has not been developed or tested properly and allows players to win through exploitation of bugs. This is a shame as an organisation as large as Microsoft has access to tools, knowledge and budgets that should have ensured this simple online game was released in a well polished state.
An alternative is a browser-based game client that is getting better reviews. Unfortunately, this product is still in development and I was unable to gain early access. From what information I could gather, this game promotes play with other random players. I really hope that features such as being able to invite specific people to games, friends lists, pre-game lobbies and in-game chat are implemented as for me, these would be necessities for effective community building and on-going connection to established communities. I’m a little skeptical about implementation of the ability to communicate through text or speech. These features would increase the chances of players being harassed by less friendly members of the online community. It would also present safety risks for younger players and lower the demographic that the game could be marketed to.