Game Time!

Some of you may know that Chris and I really like board games (though we have less and less energy to actually do anything about that like these days, as we tend to be wiped out after putting the kids to bed). One of our favorites is Settlers of Catan (which is a good thing because it’s a bit of a cult classic on the mission field), and we’ve been awaiting the day we could teach it to Judah.


For those of you unfamiliar with Settlers, it’s a strategy game (well, and luck, since how you fare also depends on the roll of the dice!) in which you get commodities, trade commodities and build things to earn points. You earn commodities based on what is rolled and whether you have a “property” placed on said number rolled. There is more to the game, of course, but that’s the gist of it.

Judah likes to get out the Settlers board (and especially the add-on to it, a game called Seafarers, but mainly because there are little wooden boats that he likes to play with) and pretend to play, so we decided we would try to play with him, knowing it probably wouldn’t go terribly well. We were pleasantly surprised, though! Now, he’s not quite ready to play on his own, nor does he quite get the strategy, but it was really fun seeing his little wheels turn and watching him grasp some of the concepts of the game. He did great at counting the numbers on the dice, recognizing the numbers on the board, figuring out what commodities he had earned based on the dice, figuring out what he could buy with what he had (and what he needed to try to get), paying the bank and even trading.

Without any instruction, Judah got straight to work setting up the board on his own. I loved seeing him so focused and intent!

Without any instruction, Judah got straight to work setting up the board on his own. I loved seeing him so focused and intent!

Some of my favorite moments of playing with him:

*Watching him so intently study the “price list” to determine if he and Chris (they played on a team) had the correct cards to buy what he wanted to buy. I was surprised at how quickly he caught on to this and was able to compare what they had with what they needed.

Studying the "price list"

Studying the “price list”

*Judah played on a team with Chris, and on their first turn, they had enough to buy what they called a “special card” and were one card short of what they needed to build something. Chris asked Judah several times what he wanted to do, and Judah said, “Let’s wait until our next turn to see if we get the other card.” We were really surprised that he passed up the instant gratification! (As a side note, Chris kept asking about the “special card” because he would have bought the card himself. I would’ve held out for the building. 🙂 Guess Judah does have some mommy traits after all!)

*I offered to trade them a card. Judah looked at his cards, studied the price list and said, “No, Mommy, we need our brick, right, Daddy?”


*On another turn, I offered another trade, but both Judah and Chris said no, so I counteroffered with two cards to trade. Judah’s eyes lit up at the thought of getting not one but two cards, and he exclaimed, “Okay!” Wonder if that same strategy would work to distract Judah from wanting a cookie – I’ll see you TWO carrots for one cookie…. Hmmm…..

Studying the cards (propped up by interlocking building blocks)

Studying the cards (propped up by interlocking building blocks)

Anyway, it was a fun time, and we look forward to more game playing with the kids. 🙂

….Oh, and one of Jovelle, who wanted to get in on the picture taking action, too.

Jovelle, (mostly) happily spectating

Jovelle, (mostly) happily spectating


7 thoughts on “Game Time!

  1. We don’t have Settlers, so I can’t teach Lydia that. We’ll have to get that someday. She does know several card games like War and Old Maid that I’ve taught her. We also just started playing Pacheesi with her.

    • Judah remembers Lydia and talked about her the other day (even remembers details like you guys planning to come to Nigeria and Lydia’s mommy getting sick – I was floored that he recalled all that!), so maybe he could be convinced to teach her! 😉

    • Bite your tongue – it’s already going too fast! 😉 I think the international school near us has some kind of dance/ dinner thing, but I’m not sure about anywhere else. 🙂

  2. Yeah for another Catan family! We love it too. When we first learned about it a couple of years ago, Sophia would do play-doh at the table while the four of us would play. After doing that a few times, she surprised us when she asked if she could play instead of doing play-doh. We looked at each other thinking it was too complicated for her…..she had definitely been multitasking when she was ‘playing play-doh’ – she knew exactly how to play!!

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