A Brief History of the Robbers of Catan
by Klaus Teuber
No doubt, every Catan player has held him in his hands countless times - the robber. Until 2002, he used to appear in the shape of a black, lathe-turned game piece, to plague the terrains of Catan and stall their resource production. If credence can be given to what people told me in e-mails I received during those years, it was a time when the robber caused more than just raised tempers. Even marriages are purported to have broken up because of him.
The truth is that the robber is a harmless fellow who is merely taken advantage of by the players, for the sake of their own benefit. He is pushed around from terrain to terrain, unable to escape his sometimes quite harsh destiny. And he doesn't always end up safely in the box after a game. Many e-mails sent to Kosmos Verlag during the past years bemoaned the loss of the robber, reporting a bitter end for the fellow in black.
For example, it seems that he was swallowed by dogs, which surely happened because he was touched with hands still sticky from clasping burgers and fries. Children, not knowing anything about his importance, apparently threw him into the toilet and sent him on a long journey through the sewer pipes. Some robbers experienced a hot finale in the fireplace, and others were simply lost.
To me, the robber never was the villain many people see in him. Actually, I always saw him as a group of three harmless, maybe even likeable robbers.
I materialized this perception in 1997, when I created the game piece “Teuber’s Robbers,” as it was called later. Based on my wax model, several thousand pieces were cast in plastic and painted in China. Later they were given away for free at various events.
The game piece “Teuber’s Robbers” was very coveted; therefore, in 2006, I decided to rework it and commissioned a German manufacturer of pewter figures to cast and paint the pieces. Since then, they are available for everyone at the Catan Shop.
The robbers had matured, and each of the three cronies had been given his own distinctive character. Now the idea of telling little stories suggested itself – stories that would make the daily routines of the robbers on Catan come alive. As an introduction, I would like to familiarize you a bit with the robbers’ personalities.
The gang boss is called “Chief.” Chief is a sly leader who takes care of his group as long as it works to his advantage. However, if his own interests are threatened, charity begins at home.
Lucky is a bit slow and, thus, more of the naïve type. He is the unlucky fellow of the group. But he is good-hearted and couldn’t harm anybody, not even a sheep.
Bert is always hungry, which is why not getting enough to eat is his greatest concern. He is sluggish and is not exactly crazy about work. His favorite dish is – how could it be otherwise – roast lamb.
I hope that the comics give you an idea of the sometimes pretty tough life of the robbers on Catan, so that next time a “7” is rolled you are not too mad at the three fellows blocking the production of your terrains.
© 2008-2009 Catan GmbH - Created by Klaus Teuber - Illustrated by Georg Zitzmann