Five of us played that old standby, “Settlers of Catan”: As usual, I only brought it out after pressure from the others. I like Settlers but I have played it more than any other game I own and I have too many new-to-me games waiting to play.

We finally played one of the scenarios from the “Settlers Book”: I randomly picked The Atoll. It was OK, but I would have preferred something more exotic. It’s nothing more than a standard “Seafarers”: scenario, although it is well designed and balanced. It’s played over two concentric rings of land with the pirate randomly circulating around the separating ring of sea. The central ring of land is rich, but has no ports; the outer ring is poor, but has ports. You get victory points for connecting the rings by sea.

Playing with five was a slight mistake. It slows down the game too much, although at least it’s not as bad as it is with six. I now regret buying the 5-6 player expansions, especially considering the price. Having said that, the game was enjoyably tense. I haven’t won a game for a while, so it was nice to break a bad habit.