Below is a list of the German releases of the Catan base set showing the front and back cover.
I have listed these items as a series of releases by date rather than group only by the edition. My reason for this is that officially there are just three editions of Die Siedler von Catan, however there are a significant number of releases and special editions within each edition I wanted to show all of these so have used the release date. Where possible I have also tried to include examples of variations I have found as well.
The official German editions of the settlers begain in the following years:
- First edition (wooden pieces and hex border) 1995
- Second edition (plastic pieces and frame border) 2002/3
- Third edition (new artwork) 2010
Each image below can be seen as a larger image by clicking on it. To identify English versions, click here.
Featuring the red Franckh logo in the corner, this game was released at Spiel 1995. It is understood that only 5,000 of these were printed and sold out very quickly.
Still identified officially by Catan Gmbh as the First Edition, Kosmos updated the cover to the yellow Kosmos logo. The box also features the newly awarded SdJ game of the year award. This set was released in late 1995.
A second version of the Yellow Kosmos version was released in 1996. This can be identified by a second white box on the rear with the German consumer agency "Stiftung Warentest" details in it.
During this time the Yellow Kosmos box was sold with promotional labels from distributors and other companies. The first example below is where "iglo" added their own label to the earlier 1995 version, presumably as part of a promotion.
The most famous of these variations, and now a very collectible set in its own right, is the Panasonic Edition of Catan. Based on the 1996 yellow Kosmos set this version had the words "Panasonic Edition" printed on the lid, as well as on the instructions and inner box. This set is understood to have been the first time Catan was commissioned to produce a small run branded promotional product for another company. It was followed in 1997 by the first ever customised variation of the game for Glen Grant Distilleries, where they used "Das Wasser des Lebens", a whisky themed version of Catan in promotions.
In late 96 or early 97 the new blue Kosmos logo replaced the older yellow one. The blue logo has been seen on all German Catan games since. The set is officially still refered to as being part of the First Edition. The very first blue logo box was released without the SdJ logo on the front.
It is thought by many that the missing SdJ award was a mistake during the design process. The box without the logo was quickly replaced by the second blue version with the SdJ award shown on the front, back and sides. It also featured a new back design showing the new quick start instructions and card trays.
This blue logo and box design would last for almost 6 years. During this time variations of the box were released including one promoting the fact 8 million copies of Catan had been sold (a big jump from the first release of 5,000!).
One of the most seen variations of the blue logo box features a small yellow hex printed directly onto the box with the words "Jetzt sofort losspielen mit der neuartigen. Kurz-Anleitung! Mit stabilem Einsatz und zwei herausnehmbaren Kartenfachern!" This was a feature on the front of the box promoting the new quick start guide and card trays that were released in 1998.
A special release set in a tin case using the original yellow kosmos logo was released in association with "idee+spiel." This set included the base game as well as a copy of "The Settlers II: Gold Edition" CD-Rom. While there is no date on the tin, the CD Rom is dated ©1996-2000 so I presume the tin set was released after 2000. This is still to be confirmed.
This officially is the first version of the 2nd edition of German Catan. It was created and printed in 2002 and released in early 2003. This release remains one of the most controversial of the Catan releases for older fans. The change from wooden counters to plastic was a significant move and is still debated by purists today. Likewise the move to a printed frame instead of individual sea hexes also generated much discussion. Fortunately the new artwork was popular, so the publicity for this new version was not all negative.
A small aside...
Not everyone was a fan of the move to plastic pieces. The feedback was sufficient that in 2008 Catan released a custom set of wooden counters that were designed by Klaus Teuber himself Only available online from Catan these pieces are wooden and have a unique Viking theme. They are available for the base set in six colours and also had expansions for Seafarers, Cities & Knights, Explorers and Pirates, Legend of the Sea Robbers, and Traders & Barbarians.
I was originally advised these sets were no longer available, so was really pleased to be advised by another BGG user they are still available on the German Catan site.
In 2005 a special gold boxed version of the base game was released to celebrate 10 years of Catan.
This "exclusive special edition" gold set came in two versions. The first version was the standard base set. The second version released later included a copy of "Atlantis – Szenarien & Varianten" bundled with the gold box. The gold box design was also altered on the front to show the two boxes side by side.
Also during 2005 the 10th Anniversary 3D version was released. The German version of the 3D set was limited to just 2,500 copies and today is one of the most expensive of Catan games a collector can buy. 2,500 copies were also released in Dutch and 5,000 copies in English.
Featuring a minor change in the artwork this set is part of the second edition. Interestingly on the Catan.de website this is identified as the 2006 version, even though the box has 2007 printed on the back.
At some stage during these years Kosmos released double packs where the base version of Catan was sealed together with an expansion or extension of the game. There were a number of these different double packs but I cannot find a definitive list of which ones were made.
Featuring new artwork for the box, hexes and cards this set is identified as the first version of the Third Edition of Catan.
To celebrate 15 years of Catan a special presentation boxed set was released. While not as fancy and ornate as the 10th anniversary edition, this wooden set was expanded to allow for up to 6 players.
This next version of the Third Edition included additional graphics for "Play It Smart". The "Play it Smart" app is designed to enhance the game and included a special robber that activates features in the downloadable app promoted on the box. The link to the app in Google play is here.
Still part of the Third Edition this set is marked as being 2015. It features new artwork front and rear, but the contents remain as per the previous version. On the outer plastic of many sets is a sticker promoting that over 22 million versions of the game have now been sold.
9th Release 2019/2020
With the 25th year of Catan up on us in 2020, Catan is releasing new boxes with updated copyright info. Copies will be added when they are available.
All images are from my own collection. I welcome corrections, additions and other images if you are able to provide them.