Gamegenic has just released a range of products that aim to upgrade different aspects of gamers’ Catan experience.These take the form of a Trading Post that houses the cards (and provides a dice tray), a Hexatower to roll the dice in and Hexadocks, used to store the player components neatly. As they are all component upgrades, none of these impact the actual gameplay of Catan. However, do they upgrade the game experience? Let’s find out!
Starting with the biggest of the three products, the Catan Trading Post, gamers are essentially getting two products in one. Using a magnetic close system, a Catan embossed cover sits over the trading post, which when removed reveals slots for 6 different card types. Naturally, this is ideal for the 5 resources and the development card deck found in Catan. This houses the cards snuggy, with two tiers for the cards to sit on – allowing them to be easily taken. Both the holder section and the cover are premium to the touch, coming with a microfiber inner surface.
Upon removing the cover gamers will notice a number of ridges in it. These enable the cover to fold in a different way, converting it into a dice tray. Magnets are again used in this process, clipping the corners together, while keeping a seamless look. This double usage elevates the product, as it allows this part of the Trading Post to easily be used during other games with dice – getting increased use from the product. With 6 slots the Gamegenic Catan Trading Post sounds like it could be used for other games that use a small market of cards, such as Ticket to Ride. Due to being designed for the smaller than normal Catan cards this unfortunately isn’t the case. While other games with small sized cards could be used, so it isn’t entirely constrained, the uses for the Trading Post outside of Catan are limited.
Next up we have the Hexatower, a small Catan embossed dice tower. While in the images of this review it can be seen in yellow, a red version is also available. Like any dice tower, players drop the dice in the top and they roll out the bottom. Coming with the Hexatower, wrapped around it via magnets is a cover. When using the Hexatower this can be magnetically attached to the side of the dice tower to form a bit of a dice pen. Design wise the inclusion of the barrier is great, as it stops the dice from rolling too far across the table, from the bottom of the dice tower.
The Hexatower is rather small for a dice tower, being no taller than a Catan tile stood upright, and this is where problems stem from. While nice to look at, next to the Trading Post it looks visually small and despite being a bright colour it doesn’t stand out on the table. Then there is the bigger gripe. The fun of a dice tower is to throw the dice in the top, hear them tumbling down within and then out the bottom. With the Hexatower there isn’t the tumbling within. Being so short the dice are almost out the bottom as soon as they are plopped in the top. This doesn’t stop the Hexatower fulfilling its purpose of rolling the dice, it just makes it less satisfying.
The final product are Hexadocks, which come in a base set (including the four colours of the base game of Catan), with an additional expansion set for the 5 – 6 player colours. For those gamers out there that like to align their pieces, neatly aligning the roads and grouping the settlements and cities, then this is a product that can fill your heart with neatness filled joy. With slots for the roads to stand on end and spaces to place the settlements and cities, everything just fits. It even makes it easy to determine how many settlements you have left available to you at a glance during a game.
These come in two sections. The bottom half is where the pieces sit, with the colour matching the player colour. The top section is transparent plastic allowing all the pieces to be seen within. The lid section has a few notable features. On top of having the Catan logo there are small plastic sections protruding near the middle. When the Hexadock is closed these sit over the shorter settlement pieces. This stops them, like the lid does the rest, from moving around. Even with extreme shaking only the occasional city piece has jumped, though even then it didn’t fully leave it’s slot. This attention to detail shows the thought that has gone into the design, with the Hexadocks really standing out.
None of these products come with the base game box, especially the original insert, in mind. The biggest offender is the Trading Post. Measuring just under a centimeter taller than the box (Catan 2015 edition), it won’t comfortably fit in the box, without the box lid being sloped. This means that players will have to store the trading post, which is supposed to house the Catan cards, outside of the base game box. Another option to lessen but not remove the lid lift is to take off the Trading Post cover. Neither of the Hex shaped products will fit in the Catan insert, though this was expected. Plus, if you have the trading post you’ll definitely have to ditch the original insert to get it in the box.
Each of the products utilize the bold colours of Catan to stand out. Not forgoing quality or robustness for style though. All three products have a strength to them, so there is no need to worry about them being thrown around in the box. The magnetic closes of the Trading Post is especially nice, giving the product a premium feel. The branding of Catan is consistently used across the pieces including the transparent lids of the Hexadocks. Certainly for the Trading Post and the Hexadocks the designs have been well thought out, as how they will be used during play, even if storing them was forgotten.
The Hexadocks are the Gamegenic Catan product that is easiest to recommend to Catan fans. It provides a stunning storage option for the player pieces, which is more than worth ditching the base game insert for. The Trading Post makes the market of cards in Catan an eye-catching focus point on the table, and coming with a dice tray makes it almost better than the Hexadocks. The production in terms of quality cannot be faulted but the measurements seem an oversight. As for the Hexatower, it was almost fighting a lost cause. It seems a strange decision to include both a dice tray, on the Trading Post, and a dice tower in the same range. The Trading Post being the product to get out of the two.
(Editor’s Note: The Gamegenic Catan products were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. They are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)