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The Green Bay Packers' offensive line has a board game obsession

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Behind closed doors, the Green Bay Packers have developed an obsession with the game Settlers of Catan, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"For the past two months," the Journal said, "it’s been the talk of the locker room. The number of players that have devoted a long night to the game is in the double-digits and includes most of the team’s starting offensive line, among others."

The object of Catan is to gather enough of the right kind of resources — which include wood, wool and brick — to build more settlements than your competitors. A classic "German-style" hobby game, it does not rely solely on chance die rolls. It is instead a complex, social construction that involves trading, careful planning and the ability to subtly influence other players.

Just today, the makers of Settlers of Catan, Chicago's Mayfair Games, announced their first Kickstarter, an over-the-top novelty game based on an episode of NBC's Parks and Recreation.

The popularity of the game among the Packers has lead to a minor boom for Green Bay's friendly local game store, Gnome Games. When players mentioned the game on a local radio program, sales doubled.

"When the average person sees the Packers doing it," Gnome Games' Pat Fuge said, "it becomes a safe thing. That it’s not the kids in mom’s basement anymore."