Catan, better known as “The Settlers of Catan,” has been around for almost 20 years and is a classic board game that has captured the hearts of board game enthusiasts around the globe. The game, first published in 1995 in German, was created by German game designer Klaus Teuber and has since been translated into over 40 languages. The game has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide!
In Catan, 3-4 players compete to build settlements, cities, and roads on a fictional island, all while collecting resources and trading with other players. The game calls for a lot of strategic thinking and careful planning, making it a favourite among gamers of all ages. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of Catan, including gameplay mechanics, winning strategies, and expansions, so that you can familiarise yourself with this amazing game and perhaps even beat your next opponent.
Setting up the Catan Game Board
When setting up for a game of Catan, the participating players must first assemble the game board by arranging the hexagonal terrain tiles in a random pattern. Each of these tiles represents a different type of terrain, such as hills, forests, or fields. Once the tiles are arranged, players place a number token on each tile, indicating which dice roll will produce resources from that tile. Next, each player takes turns placing two settlements and two roads on the board, following specific placement rules. Settlements must be placed on the intersection of three hexagonal tiles, while roads must be placed adjacent to settlements or other roads. Once all players have placed their initial settlements and roads, the game can begin.
Catan Gameplay Mechanics
In Catan, players take turns rolling the dice to determine which tiles will produce resources, such as brick, lumber, wool, grain, and ore. Players who have settlements or cities adjacent to these tiles will then receive the corresponding resources. These resources can then be used to build roads or upgrade settlements to cities, which will help the player produce more resources. Players can also purchase development cards using their resources, which provide various benefits such as bonus victory points or the ability to move “The Robber.” The Robber is a special game piece that can be moved to any tile on the board and will block the resource production on that tile, thus allowing the player who moved it to steal a resource card from another player with a settlement or city adjacent to the blocked tile.
Winning the Game
The game ends when a player reaches 10 victory points. The victory points can be earned by:
- Building settlements and cities.
- Holding the longest road.
- Holding the largest army.
- Achieving other objectives, such as building a certain number of roads or having a certain number of development cards.
Tips and Strategies
To succeed in Catan, players must balance their resource acquisition and construction needs while anticipating the actions of other players. Here are some tips and strategies that can help players improve their gameplay:
Prioritise Building Settlements Early
Building settlements early in the game increases resource production and helps players to establish a strong foundation for future gameplay.
Pay Attention to Which Resources are Scarce and Abundant
Knowing which resources are scarce or abundant can help players to prioritise their trades and construction effectively.
Be Mindful of Which Tiles Produce Resources
Understanding which tiles are most likely to produce resources can help players determine where to place their settlements and where to focus their construction.
Focus on the Longest Road
Holding the longest road can earn players additional victory points, making it a valuable objective to pursue.
Use Development Cards Wisely
The Development cards can give players an advantage over their opponents, but it’s essential to use them strategically. Be wary of wasting them on small gains.
Be Aware of Your Opponents’ Strategies
Pay attention to what your opponents are doing and try to anticipate their moves. This can help you make better decisions and avoid making mistakes.
Expansions and Variations
Catan has become such a popular game that numerous expansions and variations are now available. Some popular expansions include Seafarers, which adds a water element to the game, and Cities and Knights, which introduces new development cards and a new victory point system. Additionally, numerous fan-made expansions and custom scenarios are available online, which can add even more variety to the game. However, it’s important to note that these expansions and variations require the base game to play and may add additional complexity to the game.