Good citizens of Catan, rejoice! You have a new leader.
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Herbert Schager of Austria was named world champion of the popular German board game The Settlers of Catan, after defeating 42 participants from 27 different countries.
Since its birth in 1995, the game has amassed a cult following. It is currently published in more than 30 languages, and some 18 million copies of Catan have been sold worldwide, according to Nick Johnson of Catan, Inc.
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“Settlers of Catan is unique in that it is easy to learn and engaging for all players, regardless of whose turn it is,” Johnson tells Mashable. “It is the most popular non-mass market board game in the world.”
The 2012 Catan World Championship took place Sept. 14-16 at the Normandy Farms Conference Center and Hotel in Blue Bell, Penn. The U.S. and Germany alternate hosting the contest, which has occurred every other year since 2001.
Each country may send two representatives to the contest. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 30 qualifying events and about 2,000 competitors.
The championship competition is structured in three rounds. In the qualifying round, the 42 contestants each play four games. The top 16 players advance to the semifinals, where they are seeded based on wins, points and quality of victory (percentage of total points earned per game) in their qualifying round games. The winners of the four semifinal matchups face off in the finals, which is played on a custom-made oversized version of the board.
This year, the final match was streamed live around the world with play-by-play commentary from Mayfair Games representatives. The company hosted the contest and also publishes the English language version of Catan.
Schager, the eventual winner, came into the final round as the second highest seeded player. Reiner Beila of Germany stormed through the qualifying and semifinal rounds, winning four of five games. Despite entering the finals as the top seed, Beila faltered, ultimately landing in fourth place.
The breakdown of the championship game's final score follows: Schager won with the requisite 10 victory points; Chi Wai Chan of Hong Kong finished second with nine victory points; Justinas Noreika of Lithuania placed third with eight victory points; and Beila finished fourth with seven victory points.
In addition to holding the world champion title for two years, Schager earned a gold trophy, a Gamer Adventures cruise for two, a Star Trek-themed version of Catan and additional Catan merchandise.
For Mayfair Games, the contest's success was a tribute to the communal spirit inspired by board games such as Catan.
“The atmosphere amongst the players was pretty amazing, from the moment we met them at the airport,” Mayfair representative Julie Yeager tells Mashable. “It was so great to see so many people playing a game that they know and love so much, in a friendly and fun atmosphere, while competing for their country and the title of Catan World Champion for the next two years.”
Check out the video below to see how the entire championship match played out. Then, be sure to share your thoughts and best Catan strategy tips in the comments below.
Above: (Left to right) Herbert Schager, Justinas Noreika, Chi Wai Chan and Reiner Beila compete in the final match of the 2012 Catan World Championship. Image courtesy of Mayfair Games.
This story originally published on Mashable here.