Eureka! Oil has been discovered on the island of Catan! And after many years of study, the great engineers of Catan have learned ways to improve production using this valuable new resource, both by converting it into other resources and enabling the upgrade of cities into metropolises. But oil is scarce and its use does not come without cost. Using oil produces pollution, as well as climate changing emissions, which bring with them the threat of coastal flooding—and absolute disaster. With the discovery of oil on Catan, its inhabitants face a new challenge: deciding whether the common good is worth limiting oil usage or whether the pursuit of victory is worth the risk of ruin.
Catan: Oil Springs is an effort to draw attention to important challenges humanity faces, in relation to the resources that modern society depends on. While taking on issues of pollution and climate change, we strongly wish to emphasize that we do not see this as a polarizing political effort, but simply as a way to draw attention to the tradeoffs inherently embedded in the usage of natural resources such as oil. The use of oil has brought with it great benefits, and it is not our intention to condemn its use in a general sense. However,
science has shown that its overuse is now having a destabilizing effect on our climate, and responsible use has become more important than ever before. Our intention with this scenario is to draw attention to these challenges in a way that is both educational and enjoyable.
Catan: Oil Springs is a scenario written by Erik Assadourian and Ty Hansen, for the board game The Settlers of Catan by Klaus Teuber. It was developed by the Transforming Cultures Project of the Worldwatch Institute for the purpose of creating awareness about the effects that the usage of oil has on the environment. The scenario has been further developed as a non-profit initiative with support of Catan GmbH and Mayfair Games, which had the lead on graphical design and will publish the scenario on the English speaking market, as well as Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG, which is publishing it on the international market.