How I Use It
I had my one student (and only one because I couldn't get it working on the Macs in my class and had to use my laptop) play the game and gave him a list of questions to answers about probability, resources, etc. These questions were derived from actual game play since I was already an avid Catan player. The student played the game with tutorials while I supervised and answered questions (and more importantly, ASKED questions!). Finally, he was able to play on his own so I tied questions about properties and city planning to a short essay assignment which he presented to the class.
Catan was a GREAT game to use for a one-time supplemental lesson but this website was useless for whole class instruction and I had to purchase the Catan app in the end.
So first off, I LOVE the game Catan. So I tried to extend it to the classroom because really, the crux of the game is based on probability and natural resources (an extension of math and social studies). The website is awful. Your "free" account only comes with access to play others online in single games (no tournaments). The lack of tournaments is fine but I really wanted my students to be able to play at their own place in a non-competitive environment. I did upgrade to do this but did not renew my subscription. Also, the game itself is not Mac friendly so if you have Macs in your classroom, this will not work for you very well due to Java limitations. I had to use the program one student at a time on my personal laptop (non-Mac) and even so I had to sit with the student a long time at first to make sure he understood the game. The tutorials I think are helpful but maybe it was only because I knew the game well. The fact that students have to strategize about which spaces to select based on dice probabilities and to also look at different types of resources they may need to build roads, cities, and settlements was very intriguing for my student. It also made him think why 6 and 8 were high probability rolls, why 7 was the highest probability roll, why he shouldn't concentrate on a few resources, etc. A great game (supplemental only and only as an incentive though) for this type of math learning but the website is awful to use. We finally downloaded the app on an iPad and that works MUCH better. It did cost money but it was worth it!