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Settlers of Catan coming to Microsoft Surface

Attendees of this week's Origins Game Fair will get to see a sneak peek of the popular German board game running on Microsoft's tabletop touch computer.

A version of Settlers of Catan for Microsoft's Surface tabletop computer is in development, with an early version slated to be shown at this week's Origins Game Fair.

Now, it's no secret that I am a Settlers of Catan enthusiast. Just ask the kind folks at TechFlash who made the mistake of letting me play in their tournament.

In the Surface version of Settlers--as with the traditional board game, players benefit if they can keep rivals from seeing which cards they have in their possession. Screenshot by Ina Fried/CNET

So I, like many devotees of the German board game have been hoping to see it make its way to Microsoft's Surface tabletop. Well, the good news is that it is indeed happening.

Enthusiasts at this week's Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio, will be the first to see Catan running on the Microsoft tabletop computer, although the game is still in development. The final version is planned to be ready for the Gen Con Indy show in Indianapolis this August.

Now if I could only buy a Surface. But, since I can't--and Catan isn't quite ready yet anyway-- there's always the iPhone/iPod Touch version.

Plus, the developers of the iPhone game have started seeking beta testers for an iPad version of Catan. I'm interested to see how they make use of the iPad's bigger screen. It would also be neat if, down the road, one could hold their cards on an iPhone or iPod Touch, in the same way that is allowed in Scrabble for iPad.

Meanwhile, here's a YouTube video of Catan in action on the even bigger and more capable Surface. It's interesting to see the details, such as how players still use their hands to block others from seeing their cards.