For this installment of Behind the Hexes we chose to highlight Vrej. A longtime casual player who’s been competitive since 2019, he’s known around parts of the Catan community as “The Wizard” for his ability to sneak a win out of nowhere. He has a unique view of the game- and an unapologetic love for what is arguably the worst resource on the board.
Real Name: David
Catan player since: Grew up with the game, playing regularly since 2019
Most notable achievements
On top of his many Titles, Vrej is also one of the KingofCatan volunteers who keep the server and tournaments running smoothly. Let’s see if we can get him to reveal some of his strategies for pulling a win out of nowhere.
Why did you choose the name Vrej?
It is a name I googled randomly many years ago for an RPG character and since it is short and not that common, I continued to use it.
What is the story behind that?
Well I recently learned about the real meaning of the name and it is pretty dark, so I have been thinking for a while about changing it. Suggestions are welcome
Is there a fun fact about yourself which you would like to share with the community?
I can’t play any instrument, still was part of a band for about 3 years.
How did you get started playing Catan?
In Austria Catan is omnipresent, it is the one board game most people know. I played it very rarely though and did not own it (still only own a travel edition of the game). I got into it in early 2019 when I heard about Catan tournaments at my local board game store. I registered for a tournament and started playing online at the same time.
Where did you hear about KoC, and why did you join?
I think I heard about it on the Catan Universe Discord server and was immediately interested, since I was not really enjoying the auto matches on CU anymore.
Who is your favorite KoC player?
There are so many cool people on KoC. For this one I’d like to pick Shazzy. He has a pretty deep understanding of the game and picking his brain is always worthwhile. He also has this matter-of-factly way of speaking I do enjoy. When he tells you “My 5 development cards are all bad” you are inclined to believe you were just told a scientific fact.
Who is the player you are most scared of in KoC?
Only one? I have a comprehensive list of scary players in KoC…
If I have to pick one, Cool_kp is a player that I started out with, who is constantly evolving and getting better and scarier.
What is your favourite resource and why?
I have a bit of a soft spot for brick. It is not the best in base game, it gets worse in Cities & Knights and in Seafarers it gets kinda absurd. Brick is the underdog resource that needs some love.
If you could share one piece of advice with Catan novices, what would it be?
Trading is a key part of the game. Try to be active and keep tabs on what other players need.
You are sometimes called ‘The Wizard”, how do you like the name and do you know where it comes from?
Some people think I have a knack for unlikely, magical comebacks. Maybe there is something to it since my initial placements are not always spot on and I find myself playing catch-up more often than not.
It is always nice to get recognition in the community and wizards are cool, so no complaints there.
Do you have some reserve of unusual Catan ideas which you will use if an opportunity arises to surprise your opponents?
If I had them, I am not sure if it would be wise to share them here.
It is hard to surprise a seasoned Catan player, but I know players who are good at bluffing and can pull out a move that catches you off guard. I am afraid that is not my strong suit though.
You have won so many titles, what do you think was your most important one?
Well, the list is not that long. I remember my first KoC title (Season 14) quite fondly. I joined KoC in Season 4, lost a lot of playoff games, including 3 finals until it finally happened 10 seasons later. It was the first time I won something in online Catan, it felt good and gave me renewed confidence moving on.
You told me once that you play other board games as well, what are currently your favorites besides Catan?
The pandemic pretty much froze activity with my board gaming groups and I therefore have not been exposed to many new games recently. On the crunchy side I still enjoy Gloomhaven and A Feast for Odin but I have not played in a while. If I want all my friends at the table, I have to bring out something lighter, we like Time’s Up quite a bit.
You are a Volunteer for KoC, what are your tasks and how did it come to that?
I work with Shades on the playoff part of the KoC seasons, maintaining the brackets, publicizing the games, trying to keep track of everything.
Before the pandemic I hosted offline Catan tournaments and I wanted to see if I can learn something new helping with the KoC tournament.
Thanks to Vrej for spending time with us today! It’s always fun to hear from popular community members.
Too bad he won’t reveal his game secrets- but if you’re looking for some help, Treeckosaurus does still have some coaching spots open right now.