Catan creator Klaus Teuber has passed away at 70

The massively popular game sold over 30 million copies and inspired countless pop culture references.

Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Klaus Teuber, who created the board game sensation Settlers of Catan, has passed away at the age of 70. According to the official Catan website, Teuber died on April 1st after a “brief and severe illness.” He is survived by his wife Claudia and their two sons, Guido and Benny, all of which are involved with publisher Catan Studios.

It is hard to do justice to how important Catan was (and is) to the board game space. Teuber invented the multiplayer resource-trading game in 1995 and is one of the first European board games to achieve massive success throughout the rest of the world. As of 2020, over 32 million copies of Catan in 40 different languages have been sold globally.

It’s not just board games. The popularity of Catan has allowed for multiple digital versions available for smartphones, video game consoles and PCs. The game has also left quite a pop culture footprint, inspiring countless references in media properties like The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation, Supergirl and South Park. It even inspired a short film in 2014, The Lord of Catan, starring Amy Acker. There have also been rumors of a forthcoming Sony-produced feature film floating around since 2015.

Teuber may be best known for creating Catan, but the designer also had his hand in many popular board games like Barbarossa, Wacky Wacky Wacky and more. All told, he won the Game of the Year award a whopping four times. Not bad for a former dental technician who didn’t even begin developing games seriously until the 1990s, when he was in his 40s.

“I developed games to escape,” he told The New Yorker in 2014. “This was my own world I created.”

Teuber also founded publisher Catan Studios, which posted a memorial tweet today urging the title’s many fans to honor his impact on the world of gaming by “being kind to one another” and pursuing their dreams to the fullest.

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