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Catan creator, board game pioneer Klaus Teuber dead at 70

His work will live on in the collections of millions of fans

World record attempt ‘The Settlers of Catan’ featuring more than 1,000 players at the Essen Spiel in 2015.
Klaus Teuber at Essen Spiel in 2015 during a world-record attempt with more than 1,000 fans.
Photo: Roland Weihrauch and picture alliance/Getty Images

Board game designer Klaus Teuber, creator of The Settlers of Catan, died on April 1 after “a brief and severe illness.” He was 70 years old. Teuber’s family confirmed the game creator’s death in a news release on his company’s website.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential modern board games, The Settlers of Catan — later rebranded as Catan — was first published in Germany in 1995. That same year it won the Spiel des Jahres, among board gaming’s most prestigious awards. Inspired by tales of Viking exploration, the non-violent experience gathers players together on a remote island, where they must use communication, negotiation, and a little bit of bluffing to get ahead. An economic simulation at its heart, Catan and its iconic resources, like wood and sheep, helped to build a bridge into the board gaming hobby for countless players around the world. More than 40 million copies have been sold in more than 40 languages, according to its publisher.

A game of Catan 3D laid out for play, with a massive mountain and a series of plains in the foreground.
Catan 3D was released in 2021.
Image: Catan Studio/Asmodee

Teuber remained close to his creation throughout his entire life, personally performing design work on many of Catan’s more than 50 expansions. That includes Catan 3D, with elaborate tiles and tokens that he sculpted by hand. His memoir, My Journey to Catan, was published in 2021.

“We mourn the passing of Klaus Teuber,” the official Catan website said. “The Teuber family respectfully requests the chance to bid farewell to their loved one in private and to be allowed the space they need to grieve.”

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