I am not sure how much to go into this as I am sure most people have played Settlers. It seems to be almost as prolific as Monopoly or Risk so skip this section if you must. The basics are, you roll for resources which you get by having a settlement or city next to a resource, which you can then use to build roads to get to new locations for more resources and numbers, settlements, cities and development cards which help you get more resources and attack other players. The aim is to get to 10 points to gain the title 'lord of catan' (only in the old version) and win the game. If you want a better definition get the rules from here.
Luck and frustration
This is the most frustrating aspect of Settlers. What you do requires the luck of the dice. There are ways to minimise this, for example putting your settlement on a 8 is better than a 12 as there is only 1 way to roll a 12 and 5 to roll a 8 (at-least I think its 5 of the top of my head). Also don't forget to get a diversity of number. However even if you have really great numbers they never seem to roll for you! It is sooooo frustrating!
What makes it worse, is when your luck evens out as the game goes on it is often hard to come back as your opponents have build around you minimizing your opportunities! To make it worse when I play with my wife's family my mother in law always puts the robber on me despite the fact that I am losing miserably she has some weird reason for finding it better to place the robber on the loser rather than the winner! Grrr.
A great entry level game
Settlers is a relatively easy game for new gamers to learn. As I mentioned above my in-laws enjoy playing settlers when we visit. It is easy enough to learn and enjoyable while you try and master it. However I find because of this, many of my non-gamer friends want to play settlers, which renders it an overplayed game growing dull quickly.
Settlers is fun. The game play is interesting, and when luck doesn't draw you a foul card it gets even better! Like most people I know it was one of the first modern games I played so it has a soft spot in my heart. Also, you can make towers with your pieces while you play.
I guess in the end settlers is a good enough game and a good game to play with new gamers. However every so often luck can get you down (and bad robber placements!).
See more reviews? Check out our Alien Frontiers review here.