I spent Christmas undertaking some more general board game theory and computer history research, this has been helped by a slew of book bundles over the last month covering the topic.
First I read this post on Tuts+ covering Board Game Design. It was a good introductory read and the main points I took note of were the following.
You should also try writing rules for how character stats should be generated, or how certain card types should work.
One of the most useful game pieces in Settlers of Catan is the reference card which tells you how much each game element costs. Without the reference card, Catan would be a much slower game, especially if one or more people had never played before.
Both of which I have turned into future 'To Dos'.
I have started reading the Kobold Guide to Board Game Design and am about half way through, having picked up a bunch of good advice already, expect a full review soon.
Finally, in the Computer History field, I read "Videogames: In the Beginning" by Ralph H. Baer, the Grand Father of Video Games. I had read many criticisms of the book (and Ralph), many of which were valid, but I still got a lot of valuable flavour history for the game. One of the main criticisms of the book and of Ralph is that he helped create some groundbreaking inventions many years ago and has never really stopped going on about them ever since. He is quite bitter about his place in History and spends the vast majority of his life pursuing legal battles and patent claims agains similar ideas. That aside, the book also repeats itself a lot and gets a little tedious in places. Thankfully it was a very quick and easy read and has given me plenty of ideas for events and characters in the game.