Screen fatigue was a tough issue we faced in our early port of Catan. In fact, the issue is still not resolved. It haunts us. It haunts us to the very marrow of our bones.
It’s kind of tricky to explain. It has to do with having a mobile device that is signed into a larger public screen or display area. It has to do with the user not knowing where to look for information that he or she needs — and subsequently looking back and forth frantically to try to figure it out where their attention should be. That’s screen fatigue: Looking back and forth between too many screens. I would even stretch it to include looking around at different parts of the same screen to try to find relevant information.
Greater detail: You have to understand that in this version of Catan, players have their digital dock cards “docked” on their edge of the large, flat PlayTable screen. This dock card represents them inside of the PlayTable. It provides a location, so that if a person buys a new settlement, the settlement will appear near their area of the screen.
In addition to the Dock Card, each player has their mobile device, which conceals their private resource cards.
Simple, right? If you want to look at your private “hand” of cards, then glance at your mobile. The problem is that when the turn changes, your options for the turn appear near your DockCard on the playtable. So you look there. You make a selection, let’s say trade. You tap that and then your supposed to look back at your mobile device to decide which cards you would like to trade. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. It quickly turns into too many places to look.