Microsoft Zone to bring Settlers of Catan online, offline

Microsoft's online PC game network shows off its upcoming online-and-offline adaptation of the classic board game.

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At the recent Gen Con Indy 2004 event, Microsoft showed off the Windows version of Settlers of Catan, its computerized version of the classic German board game. The adaptation will feature both an offline version, which can be played in single-player only against computer-controlled opponents, and an online version for three to four players over Microsoft's Zone gaming service. (Unfortunately, there are no plans to include hot-seat play on the same computer for either version).

Settlers of Catan is a fan favorite among board game enthusiasts for its elegant simplicity. Each player plays as a group of settlers exploring a new world that can be explored and later exploited for tradable resources. Like the board game, the computerized version of the game will be hex-based, though it will also have highly streamlined interfaces for trading along with a chat window for the online version. Microsoft plans to offer the offline version of the game for sale at a one-time price, while the online game will entail subscription fees that may be included with subscriptions to some of the Zone's other premium games. Both versions of the game are planned for a final launch in time for the holidays this year.

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