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Former Mayfair Games Executive Vice President reflects on Catan's success

Catan recently released a new version of the table-top game that addresses climate change, and the former English-language publishers say they're happy to see it succeed.
Posted at 6:13 AM, Jul 03, 2024

STURGEON BAY (NBC 26) — Catan recently released a new version of the game that tackles climate change, and it's creating quite the buzz around the world.

Mayfair Games is the original English-language publisher of the popular table-top game, and the owners sold their gaming catalogs to another company nearly a decade ago.

From there, some members of the Roznai family—who owned Mayfair Games—decided to permanently relocate to Washington Island and buy Steffen's Cedar Lodge.

Even though they're no longer connected to the popular game, they're excited to see its continued success.

"It's cool sitting down and being like, "I have your new favorite thing, and then being right about it,"" said former Mayfair Games Executive Vice President Loren Roznai of Washington Island.

Roznai says she's proud to see how far the table-top gameCatan has grown after her family sold Mayfair nearly a decade ago.

It was a tough decision that was so much more than a roll of the dice.

"I think it's awesome that Catan is still going strong - almost 30 years later. It'll be the 30th anniversary next year," Roznai said.

"To be able to play a board game with somebody who has the connection to it, I think is kind of cool," NBC 26 Today's MacLeod Hageman said.

"You're not the only one who feels that way. It's always very entertaining to make those connections and have people kind of geek out and think it's the coolest thing. For me, I loved it, but that was my job," Roznai said.

Even though Roznai hasn't played the game in years, she was able to explain the rules perfectly.

"The first one to 10 points wins, and what you've got to do is expand your territory to get all of your resources," Roznai said.

Roznai says even though she hasn't played the game for some time, she says that will definitely have to change after showing her the latest version of it that addresses climate change.

Roznai read the game's new box, "Today's Catanians need energy to keep society moving and expanding, but pollution is a growing threat. In Catan: New Energies, you must decide: Invest in more expensive clean energy or opt for cheaper fossil fuels and risk disaster for Catan?"

Mac asked, "What's your reaction to that?"

Roznai responded, "I like the artwork. But, I think it sounds really cool. I might have to actually check this one out, but it's been a minute. I might have to hit up some of my friends."

The Gnoshery owner Pat Fuge says that telling customers the family behind publishing the first English-language version of the game now owns Steffen's Cedar Lodge on Washington Island is a local hook he loves to share.

"What we kind of do is tell that story. That's the neat thing that tabletop gaming does is allows us to tell stories together," Fuge said.

After years of judging competitions and traveling around the world to help people learn about the game, Roznai says she still recommends it to anyone willing to learn.

"Love the game. It's amazing. I've taught it thousands of times. It's the best game you've never heard of. Catan is never the same game twice. It's the same rules. It's the same principles, but it's always a changing island," Roznai said.

Fuge says during street fairs in Sturgeon Bay, they're the only spot—that he knows of— with a life-size mat where people can use themselves as game pieces to play Catan.

He says it attracts people from all over, and they're planning to host one of those games later this summer.

Fuge adds, you can also come to the Gnoshery and play any version of Catan you'd like seven days a week.