Settlers of Catan

How to play Settlers of Catan online guide

Use our how to play Catan online guide to understand rules and gameplay quickly. 

3 -4  players

60 – 120 mins

Age: 10 +

What is the goal?

Settlers of Catan or  Catan is a 3-4 player game. The game is set on an island made up of areas that produce different types of resources.

Players compete to collect and trade resources. Resources are used to build settlements/cities to expand resource production and earn victory points.
The resources can also be used to purchase development cards to gain an advantage in the game. (e.g. bonus victory points).
The player with 10 victory points wins the game.

Table of Contents

Game setup 

Build the island

Set up the island with terrain tiles

  • Set up the larger hexagon blue sea tiles
  • Place the 19 hexagon terrain tiles randomly in the larger hexagon.
  • You now have your island
Catan Sea Tiles
Sea Frame Tiles
Catan Terrain Tiles
Hexagon Terrain Tiles

Place pieces on the island

  • placing robber piece on Desert Tile
  • Randomly placing the harbour pieces on top of each harbour on the sea frame
Catan Robber Pieces
Robber on desert tile
Catan Harbor Pieces
Place Harbour pieces

Place the numbered tokens on the island

  • Choose a terrain tile on edge of the island
  • Numbered tokens have letters on them to assist in setup
  • Place numbered tokens with letter A on any terrain tile on the edge of the island
  • Take the next token (with letter b) and place on the next terrain tile, in a counter-clockwise direction
  • Continue to place tokens until all the terrain tiles (except the desert tile) have one token
Card Numbered Tokens
Numbered Tokens
Settlers of Catan 1
Tokens placed on tiles

Resource, Development and Special Cards

  • Shuffle each type of resource cards and place each stack next to the board
  • Place development cards next to stack of resource cards
  • Place special cards “Longest Road” and “Largest Army” beside gameboard
Catan Resource Cards
Resource Cards
Catan Special Cards
Special Cards
Catan Development Cards
Development Cards

Setting up player settlements

The player setup involves a 2 round building phase.

Each player will select a colour and take:

  • 5 Settlements
  • 4 Cities
  • 15 roads
  • Building Costs Card based on your colour
Settlers of Catan 2
Catan Roads
Catan Cities
Settlers of Catan 3
Building costs cards

Round 1 – Players build settlement and road

  • The player with highest dice roll starts the round.
  • The player builds a settlement by placing the piece on empty intersection on terrain tiles.
  • The player builds a road by placing piece adjacent to the settlement
  • Next player sitting clockwise starts to build.
  • The distance rule applies when building. You can only build on an open intersection and none of the 3 adjacent intersections contains a settlement or city
Building settlements
Building settlements in open intersections
Building roads next to settlements
Building roads next to settlements
Completed Settlement and road
Completed Settlement and road

Round 2 – Players build 2nd set of settlement and roads

  • Player who went last in 1st round begins round 2 by building 2nd settlement and adjacent road.
  • Next player counter clockwise does the same till everyone has built their 2nd set.

Collect resource cards

  • each player collects the relevant resource cards for each terrain hex tile surrounding a player’s settlement on the game board
    • Hills Terrain = Brick Resource Card
    • Pasture Terrain = Wool Resource Card
    • Mountains Terrain = Coal Resource Card
    • Fileds Terrain = Grain Resource Card
    • Forest Terrain = Lumber Resource Card
    • Desert Terrain = no resource card
Completed Settlement and road
Completed Settlement and road


  • Each player begins the turn by rolling the dice, they will then perform the following actions:

Special Events

When ‘7’ is rolled:

  • no one receives resources
  • anyone with more than 7 resource cards, has to choose half of them (round down) to return to the bank
  • move the robber to number token of any other terrain or desert tile
  • active turn player steals 1 resource card from the opponent who has settlement/cities adjacent to the robbed terrain
  • if there are 2 or more opponents adjacent, choose one of them

During resource production of any turn, players with adjacent settlements do not receive resource cards if the robber piece is on the selected terrain tile 

Playing Development Cards

  • Playing Knight Cards
    • Once played, move the robber to number token of any other terrain or desert tile
    • active turn player steals 1 resource card from the opponent who has settlement/cities adjacent to the robbed terrain
    • if there are 2 or more opponents adjacent, choose one of them
    • Place Knight cards face up in front
    • The player with 3 Knight Cards in front gets the special card ‘Largest Army’ (worth 2 Victory Points).
    • Subsequent players with a higher number of Knight Cards, take control of this special card and its victory points
  • Playing Progress Cards
    • Follow the instructions on the card. The card is removed from the game when used.

    • Victory Point Cards
    • Players keep cards hidden and reveal when they have accumulated 10 VPs


How do you win?

When you have 10 or more victory points during your turn, you can declare victory and end the game.

How to Play Video WalkthroughVideo Walkthrough

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