For those of you that lean more towards video games then board games, like myself, The Settlers of Catan can be describe as Civilization for beginners. This weekend I played a couple three player games and had a blast. Each game took about 90 minutes. The game out of the box is for 3-4 players, but a 5-6 player expansion is available. Tiles are randomly placed on the board before each game so no two games are exactly the same. After the board is set up, which only takes a minute or two, you start to grow your settlements and populate the land. The game itself is a mixture of dice roles and strategy. Just as fun for kids as young as 9-10 years old as it is for 50 and 60 year olds.
For those that really get into the game there are several expansion packs. In addition to the 5-6 player version mentioned above there are Seafarers, Cities and Knights, and Traders and Barbarians sets available.