How To Play Catan

How To Play Catan

Catan is an exciting, award-winning board game that has maintained its popularity, even warranting a reference on The Big Bang Theory. You have probably at least heard of it, and are curious what the hype is about.

Catan, also known as Settlers of Catan, appeals to families and new or hard-core gamers alike. It allows experienced players to challenge themselves through strategy but allows new players to join in easily on their first game. Add-on extensions and rule variations keeps the game fresh and interesting.

Unlike a more 'normal' game, Catan manages to be enjoyable even when you’re losing. You get a sense of satisfaction and success from expanding settlement empires and trying different strategies, regardless of points.

The concept is that you are settlers building up your settlements and developing land. You collect necessary resources for development, while competing against other players to earn victory points and become the dominant settler. It makes for lively player interaction.

How Do You Play Settlers Of Catan?

To succeed, gather resources through dice rolls to obtain resource cards. Strategy is required, especially if there is competition for the same resource. To help, gameplay allows you to trade resources and even rob players.

Game Set Up

To start, set up the Catan game board. It consists of hexagonal tiles of land, or hexes, including farmland for wheat, pastures for sheep, forests for wood, mountains for ore, and hills for bricks. The desert hex land is barren. Lay hexes out randomly, or for variety, try different island setups.

On each hex, randomly place number tokens facedown. A robber pawn starts on the desert tile. Set up ports along the coast.

Give players a building cost card -- a recipe card for resources needed when building. Players choose a colour, with five settlements, four cities, and roads.

Take turns to place one settlement and road, then reverse the order, with the last person becoming the first person to place a second settlement and road, for a total of two settlements. There is also a beginner setup option, with more basic rules, where players place the initial two starting settlements and two roads in one round.

Settlements are placed on hex points, while roads run along the sides of hexes. Cities and settlements can be on the same hex but not within two spaces of any other, so you can't build an adjacent settlement within one hex-point of an already existing settlement. When you build settlements, try to pick areas to access all necessary resources or set up a monopoly. Alternatively, cut off resources from a second player who is next to place a starting settlement.

After setup, turn over the randomly placed number tokens. These numbers indicate when land hexes will give resources. The dots under the number show how likely statistically that number is to be rolled; more dots means a better chance.

Running The Game

On each turn, two dice are rolled to determine which hexes produce resources. It doesn't matter which player rolls; if the dice roll number is the same as a hex's, and you have a settlement or city on it, you will get the appropriate resources. Settlements receive one resource card while cities earn two cards to earn you more resources.

On a 7, players can move the robber token to another hex, including ones belonging to other players. The new hex won't give resources until the robber moves again. The active player who rolled the 7 gets to steal a resource card from any player with adjacent settlements or cities touching that hex. Finally, players with 8 or more resource cards must discard half of them; they choose which ones.

On their turn, players can use resources to build roads or settlements, or upgrade to cities (replacing original settlements). For example, use one brick and one wood to build a road; two wheat and three ore for cities.

You can buy a development card for one wheat, one sheep, and one ore. Development cards are like 'Chance' cards in Monopoly. You don't want to rely on only development cards, but they can be beneficial. You can get victory point cards, or a road building development card for two free roads. You could also get a knight card which acts like the robber; playing at least three knights can win you the largest army achievement.

Try trading resource cards with fellow players or through the bank at a four-to-one cost. Settlements on ports give two resources-to-one or three-to-one costs on bank trades.

Victory Points

The first player to score ten victory points wins. Settlements earn one point while cities earn two. You get additional points for winning achievements, such as having the longest road or largest army with knight cards, or for holding victory points cards.

Ready To Try Catan?

Wicked Stuff Online has the original Catan board games, plus any expansion packs you need to customize your game. We even have novelty versions like the Game of Thrones edition. Check out all we have to offer in tabletop games, and get playing!