When it comes to board games, The Settlers of Catan, or simply Catan, is a modern classic. However, for those looking to include some technological elements in the gameplay, there is a “fancy schmancy” version, as its inventor, Sam March, likes to call it. He imagined an ingenious board made of tiles that light up on their own!
By 2020, Catan had sold more than 32 million copies worldwide. These numbers make it one of the most popular board games. For those who may not know, there is also a World Championship in Catania which takes place every two years, the venue alternating between Germany and the United States. So you can imagine that people are serious about their game.
Its popularity has actually led to the creation of spinoffs and many DIY versions over the years. Recently, with the ongoing health crisis, people have had to find ways to have fun while being indoors. And while board games are exciting at first, they tend to become less and less appealing. This is when all kinds of variations come to life.
From a Game of Thrones Catan to 3D tiles and multi-layered wood with resin inlays, this game can be extremely versatile. However, Sam’s idea is a bit more complex. It combines electronics with a bespoke plywood board, but also tries to keep the game’s signature design.
Building the board and putting each tile together is a meticulous task that requires precision. But that’s not the hard part, no. It happened when Sam had to wire everything up and do the coding. Unlike its traditional counterpart, the The chic settlers of Schmancy has circuit boards with LED lights glued under the tiles.
When everything was put together, the end product took the form of a classic Catan plank with a twist: tiles that automatically light up in a random arrangement. They also display different colors, so players can tell when it’s their turn and what kind of resources are being produced.
Sam also thought about saving time, so instead of taking turns rolling the dice, each person just presses a button on the side of the board. It is indeed a very “chic” way of playing Catan. You can watch Sam build it all from scratch in the video below, who knows, maybe you’ll make your own take on the popular game.