Klaus Teuber, creator and game designer of the hugely popular Catan board game, in which players compete to build settlements on a fictional island, has died after a brief illness, according to a family statement. He was 70.
According to a report in the Associated Press, the board game, which was originally called The Settlers of Catan when introduced in 1995 and based on a set of hexagonal tiles, has sold tens of millions of copies and is available in more than 40 languages. It has spawned dozens of spinoffs and new editions, including electronic versions, not to mention products related to the game, the report adds.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Teuber family announces their beloved husband and father Klaus Teuber passed away at the age of 70 on April 1, 2023 after a short and serious illness,” said the statement posted on the German-language Catan website on Tuesday.
According to the Catan website, Klaus Teuber, a former dental technician, was born in 1952 at the foot of Breuberg Castle in the village of Rai-Breitenbach, Germany. “Board games did not play a big role in his childhood until he was given the game Romans vs. Carthaginians at the age of 11,” the website adds. “In 1988, his debut Barbarossa und die Rätselmeister was named game of the year. Further games and game prizes followed until he hit the jackpot in 1995 with The Settlers of Catan. In the following years, Klaus Teuber mainly took care of Catan and expanded it into a large games portfolio, in cooperation with the editors of the Kosmos publishing house and later with the help of his son,” the website explains.
The AP report also cited a statement from the Catan studio team on social media which noted that “While Klaus’ contributions to the board gaming industry are immeasurable, we will remember him most as a kind and selfless human being, an inspirational leader, and most importantly, as a friend."
Catan is a cult title among board game enthusiasts. According to an NPR report from 2020, the game had sold more than 32 million units, according to company figures, making it one of the best selling board games of all time. That figure is now expected to be much higher, with covid-19 pandemic lockdowns playing a key role as families spent more time indoors.
In the multi-player game, competitors use five resources to build their colonies, or settlements: wool, grain, lumber, brick, and ore, the AP report adds.