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Game News
Important Announcement Regarding the Metagame
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 14:42

During the past weeks, we have concerned ourselves intensively with the Metagame on PlayCatan and made important decisions for the future. Below we would like to explain the background of it.

In addition to the online conversions of the boardgames, PlayCatan also offers the Metagame. Here the players can use their resources - which can also be obtained by playing the aforementioned online games - for house building and new clothing or for expansion and protection of their city, thus trying to convert the city, over the course of a 6-month competition, into the Capital of Catan. After 6 months, everything starts over again.

In its current form, the PlayCatan Metagame runs for almost 3½ years now (currently, it is the 7th round). Unfortunately, the game didn't play as important a role as we had hoped, and the 6-month competition period drew criticism early on. Many players are put off by the Metagame's complexity and don't want to deal with its strategic possibilities in the first place. Other players who still participate in the Metagame wish for more variety. We have tried to make allowances for both groups of players. However, we were unable to find a genuinely convincing solution for both groups - the increasing lack of interest in the Metagame is proof of it. Sadly, different views on expansion strategy often lead to conflicts, and some players feel stressed by community pressure. Many players would be comfortable with simply upgrading their houses and clothing and focusing on board games and tournaments. Although there is a core of committed players for whom the contest of the cities is an important element of PlayCatan, the Metagame was never able to fill a majority of players with enthusiasm, let alone to attract new players. In addition, even players who, so far, have been well-disposed towards the Metagame are showing signs of fatigue, and interest is decreasing with each new round.

The aforementioned issues have led us to the conclusion that the era of the Metagame in its current form is over. Even elaborate and costly modifications would revitalize the Metagame only temporarily, and already in the medium term we would have to expect interest to decline. Furthermore, the online games, which actually are the most important element of PlayCatan, would be adversely affected by a lack of improvement and expansion, because if we pour our efforts into the time-consuming operation of the current Metagame, we won't be able to properly take care of other areas. This is something we have often regretted in the past, when projects meant to boost the games on PlayCatan could not be implemented as planned. We would like to put much more effort into games, game variants, tournaments, and the modernization of PlayCatan, because in our opinion this is what PlayCatan's great potential and appeal are based on.

Therefore, we reluctantly decided to significantly remodel the Metagame after its 8th round in fall of this year. This summer, there will be one last round before discontinuing the contest of the cities in its current form.

It wasn't an easy decision; however, after long internal discussions, we think it is best to simplify the Metagame and use the capacities thereby freed up to foster the development and improvement of the actual games. We believe that this will allow us to offer the already existing players as well as the potentially new players a more attractive game platform and thus secure PlayCatan's future.

We won't entirely eliminate the Metagame; only the 6-month periods and the contest of the cities regarding "cultural expansion" will be removed. In this context, preserving the established community is particularly important to us, because the city communities are one of PlayCatan's greatest strengths. Therefore, the cities will continue to exist. And even if they can no longer be improved, they will continue to be meeting places for the players from the corresponding geographical regions.
The players will still be able to improve their house, clothing, and garden. Of course, these improvements must be renewed at certain intervals, but unlike before there will be no need to start from scratch, and barbarian attacks will not take place either. As a result of these changes, the different city titles will disappear, which is why we will create a wider variety of personal titles for citizens instead. Also, we don't want to get rid of contests between the cities; instead, we want to transfer them to a place where they harmonize best with the purpose of a Catan platform: to the Catan games – by means of new types of board game and card game tournaments that extend across cities. Together with you, we will devise new ways of competing with each other, not only for individual players but also for cities. That way, the parks of the cities will continue to have plenty of statues.

We are aware that late last year we announced a poll regarding the Metagame. In the meantime, however, we have realized that if we don't want to neglect other areas of PlayCatan, it is necessary to abolish the Metagame in its current form. Therefore, it is only logical to forgo the poll, since it no longer can affect our decision. We know that this will displease some of you, and we're sorry about that. Hopefully, we were able to clarify that although this decision wasn't easy for us, in the end it is the best thing for PlayCatan's future.

Thanks for your understanding.