Above Average pokes fun at kale-fueled gentrification with “Settlers of Brooklyn”

Development East Urbanism
    In "Settlers of Brooklyn," players compete to "colonize" the outer boroughs. (Above Average)

In “Settlers of Brooklyn,” players compete to “colonize” the outer boroughs. (Above Average)

The comedy geniuses at digital network Above Average have released a glorious sendup of gentrification in New York City’s outer boroughs. “Settlers of Brooklyn” (pronounced Brook-LAWN) promises hours of good old-fashioned board-game fun for the next generation of power brokers: millennials.

A fictional update of “Settlers of Catan,” “Settlers of Brooklyn” similarly encourages players to civilize Williamsburg and its surrounds by collecting resources and converting them into development—where “development,” in the new context, equals upscale, hipster-oriented growth. “In the early 2000s, the land of Brooklyn was virtually uninhabited by young adults with wealthy parents,” begins the voiceover. “Your goal is to be the first player to create a fully gentrified colony filled with used record stores, food trucks, and Urban Outfitters.”

Resource cards include coffee, bicycles, and kale. (Above Average)

Resource cards include coffee, bicycles, and kale. (Above Average)

Every aspect of “Settlers of Brooklyn” is tongue-in-cheek, from the lineup of resources—coffee, bicycles, vinyl, skinny jeans, and kale—to the prizes rewarding players on their way up—condo conversions and intangibles like “longest brunch.” Development cards include “loan from Daddy” and “grad school,” and a player who rolls the number seven can use the “realtor” piece to displace existing residents “to make room for more colonization.” (“I hope they open a gym there,” said the player demonstrating the move in the faux-mercial.) The corresponding piece in the original “Catan” is, of course, “the robber.”

The winner of “Settlers of Brooklyn”—the first player to 10 points—is “crowned Lena Dunham.” Worried the fun stops there? Have no fear; the video promises expansion packs for Harlem and Astoria.

The "realtor" piece displaces existing residents to make room for development. (Above Average)

The “realtor” piece displaces existing residents to make room for development. (Above Average)

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