Klaus Teuber, creator of the Catan board game, has died

Apr 5, 2023, 8:21 AM

Klaus Teuber is pictured here at the Spiel '15 games trade fair in Essen, Germany, in 2015. (Roland...

Klaus Teuber is pictured here at the Spiel '15 games trade fair in Essen, Germany, in 2015. (Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance/Getty Images)

(Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Klaus Teuber, creator of the blockbuster board game Catan, has died at the age of 70.

“It is with profound sadness that we at Catan Studio acknowledge the passing of Klaus Teuber, legendary game designer and creator of the beloved board game Catan,” the game’s publisher said in a statement posted to Facebook and other social media platforms Tuesday. “Our hearts go out to Klaus’ family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Teuber, born in 1952, was “a kind and selfless human being, an inspirational leader,” the statement reads, adding that his “contributions to the board gaming industry are immeasurable.”

The German designer first started developing games in the 1980s, according to the Catan website. Catan, originally called Settlers of Catan, came out in 1995.

In the multiplayer game, competitors have to settle the island of Catan using resources like grain and lumber to build their societies. Over the years, Catan has become a massive hit, paving the way for more intricate games to be sold at big-box retailers.

A 2011 Atlantic article described “a small but passionate following” after the game’s release in the 1990s. But by 2011, Catan had become a household name.

“With sales nearing 25 million copies worldwide, Settlers of Catan is becoming the most popular board game since Risk and Monopoly,” according to the Atlantic. In 2010, the magazine reported, sales jumped 35%.

Since then, the game has become a part of mainstream gaming culture, even expanding beyond its analog format. In 2019, Catan became available to play on the Nintendo Switch.

The most popular board game in Utah is… Catan!

And in early 2020, the company said sales shot up as people sheltered at home in the early days of the pandemic. “The company says sales skyrocketed by 144% for the first five months of this year,” NPR reported in 2020.

Today, Catan is available in over 40 languages, according to the game’s site. Over 40 million games have been sold.

In its statement on Teuber’s passing, Catan Studios invited mourners to “honor Klaus’ memory by being kind to one another, pursuing your creative passions fearlessly, and enjoying a game with your loved ones.”

In comments, people shared fond memories of playing the game.

“I will never forget the first time I played The Settlers of Catan,” one person wrote in a Facebook comment under the announcement of Teuber’s death. “I was so excited about how fun this new game was that when I got home from my friend’s at 2 in the morning, I woke my wife up to tell her about it (she was not happy).” Another reported playing the game with cousins after the passing of a grandparent.

“Thank you Klaus for the joy you have brought to my life through the brilliant game of Catan,” another wrote. “May the members of your team continue the excellent work in your memory.”

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Klaus Teuber, creator of the Catan board game, has died