Niantic’s Latest AR Game Turns The Entire Earth Into One Giant Game Of Catan

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Pokemon Go meets Settlers of Catan in Catan – World Explorers.

First released in 1995 to a small, but passionate group of fans, award-winning strategy game Settlers of Catan would eventually go on to become one of the most influential board games ever released. Set on the fictional island of Catan, the game tasks players with collecting resources and establishing settlements with the goal of accumulating Victory Points; the first to accumulate 10 points wins. 

Over the course of its 24-year run, the base game has spawned numerous spin-offs available on various mediums and platforms, such as Catan Junior and Catan Rivals. There’s even a version based on George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones.

Niantic's Latest AR Game Turns The Entire Earth Into One Giant Game Of Catan 1
Image Credit: Catan GmbH

Catan’s latest variation, Catan – World Explorers, takes the iconic board game series in a bold new direction, bringing the classic strategy experience to augmented reality for the first time. Developed in collaboration with location-based AR veteran Niantic (Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite), World Explorers turns the entire world into a giant massively multiplayer game of Settlers of Catan. Like in the original game, players will spend the majority of their time collecting resources, making trades, and building settlements; only instead of establishing dominance on a 2D game board, they’ll be laying claim to real-world locations. 

In order to gather resources, players can travel throughout their real-world environment to collect familiar items — such as lumber, grain, ore, wood, brick, and wool — as well as trade with multiple in-game characters.

Niantic's Latest AR Game Turns The Entire Earth Into One Giant Game Of Catan 2
Image Credit: Catan GmbH

“Some resources will be abundant in your region, while others you’ll have to trade for,” Catan on their official site. “You’ll bargain with entertaining in-game characters who are just as strategic as real-life ones. ‘Wheat for sheep anyone? Please!?!’ Use your resources and a variety of development cards to transform humble settlements into booming metropolises!”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Catan without some good old-fashioned competition. Friends can compete against one another in custom personal matches, or — for a more collaborative experience — work together to take on local and global events as a group as well as build new roadways and grow their respective settlements. Those who excel have the chance to be crowned Season Champion and receive permanent rewards. 

No release date has been provided as of yet, though Niantic stated during an interview with The Verge that more information is one the way sometime next year.

“CATAN: World Explorers is being developed on the Niantic Real World Platform and we’ll have more information to share on the title in 2020.”

Though Catan – World Explorers is the first Catan game to be released in AR, it’s not the first time the franchise has been playable in an immersive format. In 2018, Catan VR was released on SteamVR, Oculus, and PSVR, offering players the chance to go head-to-head with both friends and strangers in classic matches of Catan.

Feature Image Credit: CATAN GmbH





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