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. 

Suitable for 3 – 4 players | 60 – 120 mins duration | Recommended age 10+ | Game complexity: LOW Genre: Economic,Negotiation Solo game mode: No Co-op: No Online Version: Yes

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.

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

Catan 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


Catan Harbor 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

Settlers of Catan 1

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
Settlers of Catan 2
Catan Special Cards
Catan 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


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

Gameplay #

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

Player Actions: Resource Production #

  • Identify the hex terrain tile whose numbered token corresponds to the total dice roll
  • All players will receive resource cards based on the terrain’s type.
  • Receive 1 resource card for each settlement bordering the identified terrain tile.
  • Receive 2 resource card for each city bordering the identified terrain tile.
  • In the event, there are not enough resource cards for every player, no one receives any of that resource for that turn

Player Actions: Trade #

  • Domestic trade – Active turn player trades with other players (do your own deals)
  • Maritime Trade – Active turn player can trade with the bank
    • Trade 4 identical resource cards with 1 of your choice from the bank
    • If your settlement/city lies on a harbour intersection, you can trade at more favourable terms, at 3 to 1 or 2 to 1 for special harbours (highlighted by the harbour pieces)

Player Actions: Build #

  • Use resource cards to build. See Building Costs Card for the specific number of cards.
    Active turn players can perform the following actions:
    • Build roads – these need to connect to existing roads, settlements or cities
      • 1st player to build a continuous road of at least 5 road segments, gets Special “Longest Road Card” (worth 2 victory points)
      • Players who build longer roads later on in the game will take control of the “Longest Road Card” and its victory points
    • Build settlements/upgrade to cities
      • Build settlements on intersections where all 3 adjacent intersections are vacant
      • Settlements must connect to the player’s roads
      • Upgrade settlements to cities
      • Settlement and cities give players access to resources that a terrain tile produces. They are also worth Victory Points (Settlements 1 point, Cities 2 points)
    • Buy development cards
      • Discard required resource cards, and take the top card of the development card stack
      • Keep card hidden
      • There are 3 types of cards: Knights, Progress and Victory Points
      • You cannot play the card on the turn that you purchase but you can play it any time after that

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.

Video Walkthrough #

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