The great attraction of the board game, Catan, is the way in which it forces players to think strategically, forming thinking that can be transpolated into business.
Not long ago Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, made an unexpected statement during a interview with the Financial Times. The billionaire said his inspiration in business came from an unusual resource: table games. You are not the only one who experiences business as a game or vice versa. Billionaire entrepreneurs, businessmen, and CEOs have long spoken of this entertainment more as personal training than as a playful activity.
“One of the reasons why board games are gaining a new boom and success is that technology has forced people to isolate ourselves more and more, and interact through a device. However, human beings carry in the essence the taste for relating more personally ", says Vesselin Reynov, country manager of Devir México, the firm that distributes in the country some of the most popular strategy games in the world.
One of those games is the Catan, the same one that Reid Hoffman referred to in the aforementioned interview: “It's a game that has won many followers. Hoffman refers to this as the board game of entrepreneurship, but he also has other equally famous fans such as Mark Zuckerberg, who has declared himself a huge fan of the game along with his wife, ”says Reynov.
For the manager, the great attraction of Catan is the way in which it forces players to think strategically, forming a thinking that can be transpolated into business. Catan introduces people to a story: the players arrive to explore an uncolonized island, it is a territory rich in resources. From there, the issue is how to grow and take advantage of these benefits of the place.
“The players (at least three) build certain elements: roads, towns, cities. The more you build, the more points you can get, and whoever reaches 10 units is the one who wins, ”Reynov summarizes.
So far it seems simple, but as the game progresses, the players find themselves in resource supply dilemmas and are forced to start negotiating, in order to build and continue their colonization process. But beware, the game may end up uncovering those who don't have much fang to land good deals, or it may be the first glimpse of the next great entrepreneur: the great colonizer.
“The lack of resources to negotiate means that the moment is not always in your favor and generates a healthy rivalry at the table. The competition is intensifying, but at the same time you have to think about collaboration with the other players ”, explains the manager.
Those who collaborate the least at the board will have little chance of getting ahead, while the one who negotiates the most and shows the greatest ability to relate at the table is the one who usually takes the lead.
Perhaps it is the reflection of the search for power (the winner becomes the conqueror of the island) or the fact of maintaining a strategic thinking even in free hours, but the game created by Klaus Teuber in 1995 has been a powerful pretext for return players to a physical board. For sample are the more than 20 million boards sold around the world.
“Zynga psychoanalyst and CEO Mark Pincus has also declared himself a fan of Catan. Likewise, it was long ago implemented as an integration game between the NFL's Green Bay Packers, ”Reynov details.
The Belgian soccer team also uses the game within its concentrations. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Catan also has high-caliber representatives, although they are few. One of them is the soccer player Javier Hernández known as ‘El Chicharito’, a taste that has surely been infected by his wife, model Sarah Kohan.
However, the most important national player of Catan is called Quetzal Hernández. At the end of 2018, Quetzal became world champion of the specialty. On his way, which culminated in the title held in Cologne, Germany, Hernández dispatched more than 60 Mexican and foreign players to survive a final tournament that included 76 participants from 46 countries.
It was Plato who said that "in an hour of play you can discover more about a person than in a year of conversation." It is very likely that the Greek genius did not refer to business matters, but Catan gives a new perspective to the phrase. Would you play it?