The Settlers of Catan, or Catan as it’s now officially known, is a modern board game classic.
More than 20 million copies of Klaus Teuber’s trade and expansion game have been sold in the 25 years since its inception, making it one of the most influential and important tabletop games of all time. Everyone from Kristen Bell of Frozen to Carly Rae Jepsen of pop music is a fan, it seems.
How to Play Catan
- Player count, game length, and overview: Find out how many players you can enjoy Catan with and how long it should take you to play.
- Setup: Break out the game’s board as we get ready to play.
- Gameplay rules: From trading and building to rolling dice and moving the robber, we get stuck into the basics of how to play Catan.
- Scoring and end of the game: You’ve gathered, built, and collected victory points – now it’s time to see if you’ve won.
Despite numerous expansions and spin-offs for Catan being developed over the years, there are still lots of people who have never even heard of the game itself.
Learn how to play Catan if you’ve never played before or just want a refresher course on the classic strategy game’s rules.
Player Count, Game Length, and Overview
Catan is a two- to four-player strategy board game set on the fictitious island of Catan where players fight to gather resources and establish the largest towns. The entire show lasts around one hour.
Catan’s board can be assembled in a variety of ways because it is modular. The more you play, the more inventive you can be in putting it together.
There is, however, a preferred manner to layout the board for your first Catan game. This may be seen directly at the start of the Catan rules. To get started, follow these simple steps:
- Assemble the frame by clipping together the blue edges of the board.
- Arrange the land hex tiles in the beginner formation given in the rulebook, or shuffle them facedown and place them randomly for a variable setup.
- Place the numbered circle makers in either the beginner setup given or in alphabetical order, starting at a corner and working counter-clockwise toward the middle of the board.
- The robber pawn starts in the desert.
Decide on a color scheme for your team. In front of you is a display of the five communities, four cities, and 15 routes in the same color.
Layout a town with a city and a road. Use the rulebook layout if you’re playing with a beginner setup. For a second settlement and an adjacent road, the order of placement is reversed (such that the last player goes first) according to the rules for experienced players.
You’ll be reminded of the resources you’ll need to establish villages, highways, and cities, as well as purchase development cards, by receiving a building cost card.
Place the two dice, the Longest Road card, and the Largest Army card next to the game board.
Make heaps of different commodities, such as sheep, wood, brick ore, and wheat.
The resources of the land around the settlement designated by the white star in the rulebook should be used for the recommended starting build. The animals, timber, and wheat all go to Yellow. Sheep, Wheat, and Wood are all given to Red. In addition to the ore and brick, Blue also receives a sheep. The ore, timber, and sheep all go to White.
Instead of receiving resources from the tiles next to your second colony, experienced players obtain them from each of the adjacent tiles.
In Catan, your turn is split into three phases:
- production of resources
1. production of resources
Before anything else, you must roll the two dice on your turn. According to your role and the location of your settlements, the outcome is the same for everyone and usually means you get to take a resource from the resource stacks. Because their town stands on one of the corners of a 9-marker-producing hex, Red gets a sheep this turn when they roll a 9. Sheep are waiting for White, who is located on the other side of the hex. On the top of the board, there is a ninth hex that is filled with wheat.
Each player must keep track of their settlements and whether or not they obtain a resource in any particular role to succeed.
As the dice roll determines what resources are available, Catan is a game of chance to some extent. With two dice, 7 is the most likely number to be rolled, but it is regarded significantly differently…
How does the robber work in Catan?
You activate the robber if you roll a 7 on your turn in Catan.
If a player has more than seven resource cards in their hand, they must give back half of them (rounded down). In addition, the person who activated the robber must be included.
Until the robber is repositioned, you can move him to cover one of the numbers on the board, preventing players from obtaining resources from neighbouring settlements on the off chance that that particular number is rolled.
Because you’re a thief, you can take a random resource from a player whose settlement is adjacent to the number you’ve covered. A resource can only be taken from one player at a time when the robber impacts multiple players.
Catan’s commerce is divided between land-based and sea-based forms.
The term “domestic trading” simply means that you can exchange items with other players. Declare what you’re looking for and what you’re ready to give up to get it. It is possible for your teammates to offer and propose alternatives to you, but not for them to do the same to each other.
If your opponents are being particularly adamant about trade, you may be able to get a leg up on them by engaging in maritime trading.
It’s possible to trade four of one item for one of another in maritime trading. It is possible to conduct this activity no matter where you are; but, when you have a town or city on a harbour, there is an incentive to do so, such as the ability to trade at 3:1 or even 2:1.
The building phase occurs at the end of each player’s turn.
As long as you have the resources and the building materials in your pool, you can build any number of items on your turn.
The cost of constructing a road is one brick plus one piece of wood. There are roads at the margins of hexes that allow you to develop towns further afield and obtain more resources.
The Longest Road card, worth two victory points, is awarded to the first player to construct a road with at least five parts (not including forks).
The Longest Road card can never be completely safe in the ownership of any one player.
A brick, some wood, a sheep, and some wheat are needed to build communities. It’s crucial to get settlements on the board as early as possible because each colony is worth one win point in the game. To win the game, you must score a total of ten points.
There is a limit on where you can place settlements, and you must be at least two spaces away from another settlement, including your own. No settlement can be located next to another settlement.
Additionally, each colony will provide you resources anytime one of the numbers next to it rolls.
An established village and three ore and two wheat are needed to start a city from the ground up. Cities in Catan are like Monopoly hotels, which are an upgrade.
To establish a city, you must have a settlement that can be replaced with the new city on your board. Cities are worth twice as many points and double the resources.
The cost of purchasing growth cards is one sheep, one ore, and one wheat. To some extent, you are playing the dice, as you are picking from a hat full of favourable options, but the odds are in your favour.
Depending on the card, you can keep development cards secret from your opponents until a specific point. If you buy a development card, you cannot use it until the next turn.
The cards have all of the directions written on them. Knights, progress cards, and victory points cards are the three sorts of development cards.
When three knights are played in front of a person, they will gain a two-point bonus for having the Largest Army. This card is identical to the Longest Road card. Another player with a greater army than yours can steal this card, as can the Longest Road. is played, you may expect to be treated if you’ve just rolled a 7 in terms of how you respond to your opponent’s actions.
The purpose of each progress card is explicitly stated on the card itself. In most cases, they provide you with resources or allow you to construct without using any. Once a card is played, it is removed from play.
Development cards with victory point values are the most valuable since they help you win the game faster and remain hidden until you have enough points to do so on your turn. Only development cards with victory points can be used in the same turn as purchase.
Scoring and End of The Game
It’s very simple to win at Catan: get 10 victory points in your turn before your opponent does.
While playing, be sure to maintain track of all buildings and any Longest Road/Largest Army bonuses to ensure that you don’t lose track of your win points (or those of your opponents!).