Game of the Year: Lords of Cannabis -

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!

Regardless of whether or not you can legally smoke weed in your state, you probably shouldn’t start running a large-scale marijuana growing operation. The world doesn’t need more drug kingpins, even if they do make for great TV show characters. Fortunately, we have games that let us act out fantasies we could or should never do in real life like stealing cars while evading cops or stepping on turtles while being Italian.

Lords of Cannabis, this week’s Game of the Year, is a board game about making the sticky icky, dank nugs, sweet kush, etc., for the masses under the radar. And if you’re a fan of a certain other popular board game, this one should feel pretty familiar.

Game of the Year: Lords of Cannabis -

Yo, dog. Do you like Settlers of Catan? Would you like it better if instead of pioneers ‘n shit Catan was about weeeeeeeeed? Well that’s Lords of Cannabis. It’s Settlers of Catan but with weed. Not officially, of course. Other Catan spin-offs based on pirates and Star Trek proudly display their Catan brand. Lords of Cannabis simply markets itself as “the strategic game of reaping, corruption, and conquest.” But it cannot be stressed enough. This is Catan but with marijuana.

Every aspect of Lords of Cannabis’s design suggests a group of friends got together, possibly while high, and joked about what a Catan clone about pot would play like. And then they made it. Instead of trying to expand the biggest community you’re trying to build the biggest drug operation with the best strains. Roads become drug tunnels. Thieves become DEA sheriffs. Towns and cities become greenhouses and plantations. Instead of wholesome sheep and wheat, players gather illicit crops and cement with their stash cards.

Shamelessness aside, Catan’s formula lends itself well to this world. It makes sense for friends to tentatively work together and share resources only to backstab each other in a tabletop game about the drug economy. Much like how Catan is a good gateway game for more serious tabletop play, Lords of Cannabis is a good gateway to brutal capitalism.

Game of the Year: Lords of Cannabis -

The games are so compatible enterprising players could probably even merge Lords of Cannabis with their Catan board with some creative tweaks. Cities costs two wheat and three ore but if you throw some seeds and water in there now you’ve got a Party City under your control. They have the most chill sheep I’ve ever seen. Call this mash-up Settlers of Catannabis, which already sounds like a Mouth Moods track. Lots of folks, including myself, already agree that Catan is a pretty fantastic game. And when’s the last time adding marijuana something made it worse? Never.

Sometimes I use Game of the Year to talk at length about weird, obscure games with interesting mechanics or historical context within the rest of the industry. Other times I just like to talk about weed. Given the week, it seemed right to keep things simple. So if you know any blazed Catan fans looking for gifts besides shirts and socks, enter the dank side of Lords of Cannabis. You don’t even need to go on the Dark Web to buy it!

Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year!

Game of the Year: Lords of Cannabis –


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