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  • Joseph Strauss

Friend Getting Worryingly Good at Catan



In lieu of face-to-face contact, some students have adapted by keeping busy during the summer and calling friends over Zoom and FaceTime, while others have resorted to alternative methods of staying occupied. Take second-year student Jacob Hawthorne, who has turned to recreational Catan-playing as a means of escape:

“I hear from him once every couple weeks,” said Candace, a good friend of Jacob’s. “It’s always about online Catan. Last Thursday he asked if I wanted to settle,” she said, scrolling through their message history. “The Monday before that he said, ‘Catan? We can play w [sic] a bot if we don’t find a third.’ I’m just worried this is a gateway to something more serious, like Dungeons & Dragons.”


The rest of his friends informed The Boundary that he’d sent them similar, even identical messages, revealing an alarming pattern which may be indicative of Catan dependency.  

“He’s really good now,” said Hawthorne’s long-time friend Ravi. “Like… disturbingly good. We played last week. He beat me in seven minutes. I asked if he wanted to FaceTime afterwards since the game ended so quickly, and he said he didn’t want to risk accidentally giving away tactical information.”


Concerned members of Jacob’s inner circle have all confirmed reports of not only startlingly aggressive Catan victories with friends, but also of Hawthorne’s newly created Catan Instagram account (@SettlersOfInstacatan) in which he rates the difficulty of various board setups and tracks his participation in the upwards of 20 games per week played against bots.

“I asked him how he’s doing,” said Candace, continuing to scroll through her message history. “He replied, ‘I am faring horridly! I own a surplus of sheep m’lady, thine friend doth wish to procure a five upon th’ die, if fate allows it.’ I’m seriously worried for him.” Jacob has permanently sworn off Modern English and acquired a natural dung body odour to fully immerse himself in the Catan experience. So as not to miss an important play, his eyes have not fully shut for three weeks.

The effort to maintain social distancing is both important and integral to the prevention of COVID-19 spread. Its lasting impacts on students like Jacob Hawthorne, however, will certainly be something to monitor over the coming months. After all, the path to ending the pandemic will require the largest of armies to trudge down the longest of roads. Hopefully, 2021 will be a year of plenty.


Photo Credit: Joseph Strauss


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The Boundary is the University of Toronto's Satire Paper