I still prefer the real-deal version of board games like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne over the Xbox Live/iPhone versions because real board games are social. But the official Microsoft Surface version? It might be the perfect way to play.
By using the Surface Table, this version of the classic German board game features the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you've got four people sitting around a physical table, talking, laughing, whining in order to secure a resource cards trade. But on the other hand, you've got the slickness and convenience of a video game, with nothing to put away or organize and everything slickly organized and set up.
And yes, this is an official project with the Catan license, not just a tech demo to show off what could be. So in theory, gaming cafes could have a surface set up with this for people to come in and play. Or, you know, you could spring for one in your living room. Which doesn't seem like that crazy an idea after watching this video. [Kotaku]