Behind the Hexes goes to the US to speak with the experienced Catan player EmeraldAngel about a variety of board games (and a peek inside the King of Catan engine room).
Real Name: Aimee
Age: *gasp* I’m in shock! You don’t ask a lady such things!
(was that the appropriate amount of outrage?) … 39
Home/Country: New Hampshire, USA
Catan player since: 2006
Clan/Sponsor: viva la REVOLUTION!
Most notable achievements
So, it looks like we started the interview a bit rough with an accidental insult (asking EmeraldAngel’s age). We thought we might have to sail away to hidden Troy, but took a chance and pushed on. Lucky for us, she was joking around and was gracious enough to answer our questions (unlike Catan bug reports).
Why did you choose the name EmeraldAngel? What is the story behind that?
My favorite color is emerald green, and I like that angels are divine messengers and warriors. Seems like a good combo.
How did you get started playing Catan?
A group of friends said, “Hey, do you want to learn this new board game?” It was a game of CK with Seafarers. I enjoyed it so much I looked up how to play online and found (then) Catan Online World, which became PlayCatan.
Where did you hear about King of Catan, and why did you join?
I heard about KoC on the CU discord, though Starshine and DragonSnail. I was very hesitant to join since I was really just looking for Rivals players, but I decided to try it out. I remember there was a discussion between two or three people and those people clearly disagreed about whatever it was but were respectful and willing to listen to each other. I like that.
Who is your favorite KoC player?
I enjoy playing with a lot of people, but right now I think probably Bjaki. He is a great person overall, but also smart at the Catan board and willing to help me improve my game. He is calm and patient with me and all of my bad moves.
Who is the player you are most scared of in KoC?
Perhaps just myself. It’s less of a “scared” and more of a “frustration”. I’m the only one who can make bad decisions about my game.
Otherwise, I don’t think I’m scared of anyone. That’s the thing with luck-based games- no one is unbeatable and no one can not win. Skill can certainly help and go a long way, but it is not the only thing.
Is there a fun fact about yourself which you would like to share with the community?
I am involved in many things other than Catan. Many things! But my favorite things are traveling and board games of all types! I look forward to getting to travel again!
What is your favorite resource and why?
I know the answer here is supposed to be wheat or ore, but I don’t actually have a favorite. It seems like many times you are put in a position where you have to play with none of [insert resource here]. So it seems better to learn to play without each type. Now commodities- that would be cloth. ; )
If you could share one piece of advice with Catan novices, what would it be?
I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this question. For most games though, knowing the rules and cards available seems like a good start.
Have you participated in offline tournaments or are you planning to do so?
I haven’t so far. I have been to the US nationals (many years ago) but didn’t participate.
I would like to in the future, but I don’t feel that I am good enough. Plus my job doesn’t afford me weekends off regularly right now, so I am not able to attend. Until then I’m just trying to improve my game to be able to do well when I do attend offline tournaments.
What is your favorite Catan mode/scenario?
There was a scenario on PlayCatan called Troy, I enjoyed that one. [As for currently playable scenarios], probably Through the Desert with C&K. But that’s not including the Traders and Barbarians or Explorers and Pirates expansions. And I haven’t tried Catan Starfarers yet. Who’s going to come play with me?
I know you like other board games besides Catan as well. What are currently your favorites?
Oh this is going to be quite a list! Depending on who I’m playing with and how involved we want to be, more casual games: Carcassonne, Azul, Three Dragon Ante.
For the more involved gamer, we get my true favorites: Kepler 3042, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, London, Brass, Löwenherz (aka Domaine), Scythe, Puerto Rico… this list will keep going if you don’t stop me!
In addition, I do play D&D online with a group and I have played in real life as well. I also play a location-based game called Munzee. Plus, I play plenty of PC games.
You are a Volunteer for KoC. What are your tasks and how did it come about?
Treeckosaurus asked for help, and I said, “I’ll help anywhere you need me.” I became a member of the update squad and was asked after that to be a council member. I think it’s good to give back to a community that I am apart of, even in a small capacity.
You have been a moderator for PlayCatan. Can you compare that to your current tasks in KoC?
Yes, the moderator job for PlayCatan was a small amount of testing and bug reports. A big part of [it was] keeping the chat free of profanity and abuse. Sometimes someone would ask for help and I’d answer basic questions. I also did help run the meta-game city elections.
In KoC, it is much more involved. Abuse moderation is much less in KoC but in addition, I have helped with the updates, investigating issues with the updates, advice with direction of the server, editing the channels/roles, keeping the record book up to date, [and giving] general support and advice.
If you could design the perfect Catan platform, what would it look like?
Hmm… it would probably be a cross between what Colonist currently is and what PlayCatan was. PlayCatan had more life-like trading in games. Also, PlayCatan had an overworld at one point, so there was camaraderie and a team spirit between people. It did a great job creating a community, and in turn, the community organized things for PlayCatan (tournaments, leagues, etc).
I love that Colonist is web-based, can be accessed on any device, and listens to its customers for what to implement (and I’m hopeful their mobile presence will improve.)
While it’s nice that some platforms have AI logic, I feel that AI’s should be a last resort. I like that in PlayCatan there was a way to join a game in progress and help others who got left at the table.
I also loved that PlayCatan had more than just Catan based games. It had multiple other games created by Mr Teuber so you could enjoy other games with your friends.