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The work week is winding down, which means that it’s a perfect time to find some Friday night fun. Luckily, the Internet Explorer team is here to help. They’ve created a fully playable online version of the popular board game Settlers of Catan that will run in any modern browser.

Entitled Catan Anytime, the game allows people to trade resources, build structures and amass victory points to beat their friends without having to set aside time to sit across the table from one another. Users play asynchronously on their phones, computers and tablets, and get notifications via email every time their turn comes up. The game also includes auto-trade functionality, so it’s possible for people to exchange resources without constantly pestering their fellow players with “you have any wheat?”

image_thumb_4F98C898The game does require that players have friends who are also interested in playing, though. In order to start a match, three people need to join a game, since Catan Anytime doesn’t support AI players yet. Users can invite their friends with an email, or by connecting the game to their Facebook account.

Once everyone is in a game, it’s possible to chat with other players using a group Skype messaging session, or open up a group call between everyone who’s playing. In addition, users can tweet their thoughts out from the in-game chat box to let the world know that somehow they are unable to get any bricks.

Catan Anytime is still in Beta, and it definitely feels that way. I’ve encountered a small handful of bugs in both Chrome and Safari on my Mac just from trying out the game’s tutorial. It’s possible that it runs better in Internet Explorer, but I haven’t been able to test that. The full Catan rule set hasn’t been implemented yet either, though Microsoft said that everything – including support for development cards – will be available in August.

People interested in checking out Catan Anytime can do so here.

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