Expansions: Settlers of America

So I already had a follow-up article queued up on the Settlers of Catan expansion, Cities & Knights, but on my PAX panel, I was talking about the morning I dug through all my games for a Twitter rant on whether people who were not straight, white men existed within games I owned. And I was reminded of this gem of a game, which just barely passed this most basic test with a single picture of native woman handing a man blankets.

For those of you unfamiliar, Settlers of America is a spin-off (not an expansion, I guess–it plays standalone) of Catan focused on the westward expansion of colonisation in America:

A map of the board of Settlers of America
‘MURIKA

Similar dynamics of resource management as the original, but without the randomisation of the board. The main mechanism and victory conditions are a bit different–instead of just building your own settlements, you have to build railroads connecting your cities to others’ to deliver them goods; the first to deliver 8 goods wins. It’s… not as good as the original by far, and the problematic elements of the colonial theme are even worse.

But on a second look, I was actually wrong about it passing the representation test based only on that single native woman! I missed that there’s another solo woman pictured on the back of the resource card. My sincere apologies. This changes everything. Ha!

So I’ll make this fast and easy and just show you all of the cards that don’t have only white men on them upfront:

"Native Support" card, showing a Native woman handing blankets to a man.
There are two of these cards in the game, so I guess that counts double?
Shows a scene of people walking down a footpath with a train i nthe background, including 2 children, a man, and a woman.
Back of the progress card. Hark! A lady!

Race/Nationality

Native folk exist! Sort of! Their presence in the west has no impact on game play or your character’s manifest destiny 1, but at least they’ll give you blankets.

1 star, but I can’t even feel good about it

Gender

Two women live in the entire west! Woohoo!

1 star

Sexuality

Those two women are apparently very busy.

0 stars

Body

Pretty much the same thoughts as I had on the original.

0 stars

Overall

Hey, it improved .25 points on the original! That’s sort of progress, right?

Race ★☆☆
Gender ★☆☆
Sexuality ☆☆☆
Body ☆☆☆
Overall Average 0.5

Notes:

  1. This phrase is actually used in the game’s description. Gag.

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