Dear Catan community,
Ten years ago today, under the wing of the German telecommunications company T-Online International AG, the German-language “Catan Onlinewelt” opened its gates. The Catan Onlinewelt at T-Online International AG no longer exists, but the Catan Onlinewelt itself - and, since 2008, also its English-language version, the “Catan Online World,” both of which now go under the name of “PlayCatan” - is still populated by a crowd of Catan players that year after year is growing moderately. Well, if that isn't a reason to celebrate! ;-)
At the beginning, in 2002, the Catan Onlinewelt didn't have a separate Premium area, it wasn't international, its number of featured games was small, and it still lacked many of the functions we have integrated over the years, based on your experiences and suggestions.
However, from day one there were offline meetings: weekends where the citizens of the virtual cities meet to get to know each other and play, where friendships start and, occasionally, even end up in marriage.
For me, this is the real merit of our gaming platform and also its greatest success. Many of you are not solitary players who compete against computers but sociable people who often can't gather enough players for a tabletop game. When this happens, PlayCatan is a good alternative, which also allows people to get to know new gaming friends and meet them in real life to play games.
Like in the past years, new game content and modifications or extensions of game functions were introduced this year. For example, “Struggle for Catan” was programmed, and since October, “Rivals for Catan” enthusiasts can play the Theme Game “Rivals - Gold.” For the first time, it is now possible to enjoy exploration also in the 2-player card game.
Many smaller modification proposals were implemented. Examples are the surrender option in Rivals for Catan, the game option “Harbormaster“ for further scenarios, the possibility to export charts, and personal Monthly Lists.
This year, our programmers started to work on an HTML5-based version of PlayCatan that runs in any browser, which we hope to present by the middle of next year. For all those who are not very tech-savvy: PlayCatan is currently based on the Java programming language. Since Java-based games do not run on tablet PCs such as the iPad, a growing number of people who would rather play slouched on a sofa in the living room than sitting at their desk computer are currently excluded from PlayCatan.
Games programmed in HTML5 run on all computers, tablets and smart phones and, therefore, are a prerequisite to further increase the number of players on PlayCatan. And we do need an increase, because only this will allow us to make larger investments in an even more appealing and varied world of games.
Next year, the new large board game expansion “Explorers & Pirates” will be programmed. If you haven't heard yet of this latest addition to the Catan family - to be released for German-speaking countries on the occasion of the Nuremberg International Toy Fair - you are welcome to read my blog,
where from now until the end of January I'll be writing about the background of the expansion's development and its content.
If everything goes as planned, next year we'll add another highlight to PlayCatan that should please particularly the creative Catanians.
On the occasion of our anniversary, on December 13 we have released the new scenario “Treasure Islands C&K.” “The Treasure Islands” scenario is part of the German-language scenario pack “Schätze, Drachen und Entdecker” (Treasures, Dragons & Explorers)
. According to our statistics, it is by far the most popular Seafarers scenario. We hope that playing this scenario in combination with Cities & Knights will make you happy!
“Oh,” some of you might think, “now he'll probably start to thank everybody.” Yep, that's right. ;-)
Once a year there should be time for this. There are many people who deserve a “thank you” - a “thank you” for helping to develop PlayCatan further and keep it alive even after 10 years. I'm referring to the players who were with us at the beginning, in 2002, and who are still loyal to us. I'm also referring to the mayors who have kept the cities vibrant, to the organizers of the unofficial tournaments, to the organizers of the annual meeting at Buchenau Castle, to our moderators who maintain our forum and keep it family friendly, and to our in-game moderators who offer help and support to the players in the Tavern and the Metaworld.
And finally, I'm also referring to all those who treat their fellow players in a tolerant, fair, and respectful way. You are the soul of PlayCatan. The more there are of you, the better - and not only as far as the gaming experience for the players who settle our island is concerned.
I wish that 10 years from now - on the occasion of the 20th anniversary - I can send you another year-end greeting, and that as many of you as possible will read it.
On behalf of our team, I thank you all and wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! Your Atan (Klaus Teuber)