The players in the game represent settlers establishing settlements on the island of Catan. Players build settlements, cities, and roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board, which represents the island, is composed of hexagonal tiles of different land types, which are laid out randomly at the beginning of each game.
Players build by spending resources (sheep, wheat, wood, brick and ore) that are depicted by resource cards. Each land type, with the exception of the desert, produces a specific resource:
- Hills produce brick
- Forests produce wood
- Mountains produce ore
- Fields produce wheat
- Pastures produce sheep
On each player's turn, two six-sided dice are rolled to determine which hexes produce resources. Players with a settlement adjacent to a hex containing the number just rolled receive one card of the corresponding resource; cities produce two cards of the corresponding resource. For example, if a player has one city and two settlements adjacent to a grain hex, that player would take four grain resource cards if the corresponding number was rolled.
There is also a robber token, initially placed on the desert. If a player rolls 7, the robber must be moved to another hex, which will no longer produce resources until the robber is moved again. That player may also steal a resource card from another player with a settlement or city adjacent to the robber's new placement. In addition, when a 7 is rolled, all players with 8 or more resource cards must discard their choice of half of their cards, rounded down. For example, If a player has 9 resource cards, and a 7 is rolled, the player must get rid of 4 cards.
On the player's turn, the player may spend resource cards to build roads, settlements, upgrade settlements to cities, or development cards. Players can trade resource cards between each other and they may also trade off-island at a ratio of four-to-one resource for one of any other. By building settlements adjacent to ports, players may trade with at three-to-one) or two-to-one ratios, depending on the port's location.
The goal of the game is to reach ten victory points. Players score one point for each settlement they own and two for each city. Various other achievements, such as establishing the longest road and the largest army grant a player additional victory points.
Resource cards can also be spent to buy a development card. Three types of development cards include:
- Cards worth one victory point
- Knight cards, which allow the player to move the robber as if they had rolled a 7
- Another set of cards which allow the player one of three abilities when played
As the game developed, expansions for the base game were created:
The first, Seafarers of Catan, was released in 1997. It was later re-titled Catan: Seafarers. Seafarers adds ships that allow players to cross sea hexes and includes scenarios in which players explore an archipelago of islands. It also adds gold-producing hexes that allow players to take the resource of their choice.
The second major expansion to the game, Cities and Knights of Catan was released in 1998. It adds concepts from the card game and its first expansion to Catan, including Knights who must be used to defend Catan from invading barbarians, and improvements that can be bought for cities that give benefits to players. In addition, three commodities (paper, coin, and cloth) can be produced, as well as the original resources.4
The third large expansion, Catan: Traders & Barbarians, was released in 2008. Traders & Barbarians collects a number of smaller scenarios, some of which have previously been published elsewhere. The set also includes an official two-player variant.
The base game of the Catan series, Catan, includes support for 2–4 players. New extension packs were created for the game to allow for up to 6 players to play.
As well as extra components to accommodate more players, the extension adds an extra building phase to the turn, so that players can participate in the game during each other's turns.
There were a number of spin-off games also created including:
Star Trek Catan is a spin-off of the original series released in 2012 by Mayfair Games. The game uses the same basic components with new names, new graphics, and some minor rules additions. The building costs and resources match the original game.
A Game of Thrones Catan: Brotherhood of the Watch is a spin-off based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. As Brothers of the Night Watch, players harvest resources from the Gift to build settlements and keeps, while contributing to the defense of the Wall. The game was released in 2017.
Another variation of game includes: Catan Card Game
The Catan Card Game, originally named The Settlers of Catan: The Card Game, is a card-game adaptation of The Settlers of Catan board game. The Game is a two-player game, although the rules can be accommodated as to allow players to share a set or for each player to have their own.
In the Catan Card Game, each player controls an area of Catan, consisting of two settlements, a road between them, and six regions near the settlements, all of which are represented by cards. Throughout the game, players seek to expand their area, scoring victory points for certain features. In the course of the game the two areas are kept separate.
The aim of the gain is to get victory points. Each settlement scores one point for their player, while cities score two. Some improvements may also award victory points. The player with the most commerce points, provided that they have a city, is said to have the trade advantage, which is worth one victory point, while the player whose knights have the greatest strength also earns one victory point. The first player to reach 12 victory points is the winner.
Catan is an exciting game that can be replayed over and over. It’s a great game to play with both friends and family. A full list of all Catan games that we have available can be found here: Catan Games