There may not have been any dashing saves or dramatic hits, but the pressure at GeekWire’s first-ever Settlers of Catan tournament still had some of the competitors sweating. The tournament, run by Kirkland game store Gadgets and Gizmos at the 2017 GeekWire Bash, pitted eight expert board gamers against each other in a four-hour battle of will and strategy.
For the uninitiated, Catan is a board game that mimics settling an island, with players competing for control of land and resources. The player who is able to build up their civilization and earn ten points first wins and ends the game. The tournament winners were decided by adding players’ points together after two rounds of games, and two winning spots were up for grabs.
Adrian Pike, the software development manager of healthcare tech company Navigating Cancer, won both his games to take first place with a perfect 20 points.
So what was his secret?
“Luck,” Pike said with a laugh. He also said support from his coworkers helped him prepare.
“We’ve been playing at the office a bunch this last week,” he said, and several Navigating Cancer employees showed up to cheer on Pike and the company’s COO Bill Hughes, who also took part in the tournament.
Pike was followed closely on the leaderboard by AJ Hans, a “devsigner” at Venbit Business Solutions who ended the tournament with 19 points. He said adaptability was his biggest strategy.
“It’s a dice game, so there’s always an element of randomness,” Hans said. “The thing I like about Catan is it’s just super approachable, it’s easy to pick up and play with other people.”
Both Hans and Pike took home games from developers Red Raven Games, and both earned a spot in the regional Catan tournament at this summer’s Dragonflight conference. The winners of that competition will go on to play in the Catan World Championship.
It was a bittersweet day for Cecilia Jeong, an associate at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, who just missed out on the top spot. After soaring to a win in the first round of games, she had the resources to win the second, but waited too long to play them, giving Pike an opening to ride to victory.
She said her strategy was to focus her resources on cities, the second and more valuable tier of settlements in the game.
“I built around city resources, was able to build a lot of cities, get some development cards and end it really early, which is what you always want to do,” she said of her first game.
But even though she finished just two points shy of the winning spots, she still got a prize — her coworkers bought her a game themselves to show their support.