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Klaus Teuber, Creator Of Catan, Dies At 70

Beloved board game designer Klaus Teuber passed away on April 1 after a brief, severe illness. Teuber is perhaps best known for creating the popular and seminal euro-style board game, Catan (originally called Settlers of Catan).

Catan kicked off a new era of board games which saw the rise of more complex play that often included an in-person social element, such as resource trading between players. It has been played competitively in formal tournaments and even by intramural college teams.

Catan is also one of the best-selling tabletop games of all time, currently having sold over 32 million copies and showing no signs of receding in popularity. In fact, it experienced a strong upsurge in play, both the physical and digital editions of the game, during the COVID pandemic.

Today considered the evergreen “gateway” introduction for players new to euro games, Catan was one of four games designed by Teuber which won the prestigious and coveted Spiehl des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in Germany. It was inspired by Teuber reading about the vikings’ discovery of Iceland, causing him to imagine what it would be like for explorers to discover new and unpopulated lands.

Teuber’s approach was to try to balance luck and strategy evenly. He has said, “…if you win in Catan, you think, ‘My strategy was good,’ and when you lose, you might think, ‘I was just out of luck.’ This is the same as life.”

Before his success with game design, Teuber was managing a dental lab, an occupation he found stressful and unrewarding. He began to create games as a mental hobby in order to relax and unwind from his job. In 1998, however, the success of Catan allowed him to turn his attention to game design as a full-time career.

Of course, this is a great loss to the gaming community and Teuber will be dearly missed.

About the Author
Dve (pronounced "Dave") is a long-time hobby gamer who writes about and plays board games, miniatures games, card games, and tabletop role-playing games. He also works part-time at a Friendly Local Gaming Store in northern Indiana.

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