Ever looked across the little hexagon tiles that comprise the island of Catan and think, ‘this would make one heck of a novel’? The creator of everyone’s first non-Hasbro board game, Klaus Tuber, believes it’s worth at least three - he’s announced a trilogy of books set in the world of Catan.
Published by German board game and puzzle company Kosmos, the 576-page Catan: Der Roman (The Novel) will be the first of three volumes penned by Tuber and spin an epic yarn about “a great love, a bitter struggle for power and the hope of a new home,” according to the official description.
Here’s a synopsis from Kosmos’ website: ‘Norway in the year 860. The half-brothers Thorolf, Yngvi and Digur help the daughters of the Viking prince Halldor to escape. Halldor's revenge is not long in coming. He roams through the territory of the liberators pillaging and banishing them. The brothers have no choice: with settlers who are willing to emigrate, they set out for new shores and, after an adventurous sea voyage, reach Catan - the land of the sun. But the island presents the brothers with enormous challenges. Will they stand together to offer the settlers a brighter future, or will this task divide them?”
If you’ve read the first Catan novelisation by author Rebecca Gable - oh, yes, this isn’t the board game’s only adaptation into fiction - some details might strike you as familiar. Tuber has apparently decided to stick with the viking theme but distance himself from the characters and storyline created by Gable when the two collaborated on The Settlers of Catan, the Novel in 2003. The book was first published in English in 2011 and received fairly positive reviews.
What isn’t clear is why Tuber is returning for a second stab at storytelling within the world of Catan, especially one attempting to lay the foundation for a trilogy. The company that has sprung up around the competitive trading and building board game rebranded it as simply Catan in 2015, dropping ostensible mention of colonial settlement from the title. Board games writ large have boomed in popularity over the last decade.
Tuber could be looking to seize on renewed interest in tabletop games as intellectual properties with longevity in markets outside of local game stores. One need look no further than the expensive catastrophe that was Battleship’s big screen translation to see how these projects normally pan out, but the upcoming D&D film, Honor Among Thieves, could break the mould and open up a path for a cinematic portrayal of Catan last hinted at in 2017.
Kosmos has previewed a few pages of Tuber’s first novel on their website, granted you can speak German. Those of us who spreche kein deutsch won’t need to wait long - it’s set to be published later this month.