Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan has been the best-selling game in the Netherlands for years. The board game is extremely popular and can be played using different tactics. The diversity is what makes the game so popular. With the basic game there are already different ways to play it, but the extensions also provide nice extras

In 1995 the game Settlers of Catan was released. It was conceived by Klaus Teuber. The game comes from Germany and is called ‘Die Siedler von Catan’ there. The game quickly became very popular all over the world. It has been translated into more than 25 languages, including Dutch, English, Japanese, Italian and Greek. More than 11 million copies of the base game have been sold worldwide. The game is sometimes compared to Risk and Monopoly, and is therefore a game full of tactics.

The Rules of the Game:
This article will only deal with the rules of the basic game. In addition to the basic game, there are various expansions for sale. For example, you can play with more players, or you have to cross the water to place your colonists there.

The object of the game is to score ten victory points. You do this by placing your villages and roads on the board. The more you can place on the board, the more points you earn. The basic game can be played with three or four players and takes about 45 minutes per game.

The game board:

In the basic game you have 37 land tiles available. These are hexagonal. The following tiles are available:

  • 4 Forest
  • 3 Mountains
  • 4 Meadow
  • 4 Cropland
  • 3 Hills
  • 1 Desert
  • 9 Sea
  • 9 Sea with harbors

If you have never played the game before, it is recommended that you use the setup provided in the tutorial book. The tiles are placed here in such a way that almost every player has the same chances. However, to give the game an extra dimension, you can also choose to place the tiles at random places. You can do this in the following way: divide the tiles into two groups. Namely the land and the sea charts. Then shuffle the cards and place a vertical line of 5 land tiles. Then you place a row of four ground tiles on the left and right, and next to it is another row with three ground tiles. Then place the sea cards around the board and place the tokens alphabetically on the land tiles (not on the desert) and then turn them over so that you see the numbers.

In this way there is a good chance that raw materials are located next to each other and that the ports are also not favorable. You will now think differently and probably have to trade more with your opponents.

Placing villages:
At the beginning, each player places two villages, bounded by a road. At the beginning, everyone rolls the die to determine who starts. Then it goes with the clock. If each player has placed one village with a road, the last player may place a village first, and work is done back to the first player. You receive the resources from the tiles where you place your last village.

Building: There
is a path between two tiles. A road may be laid on these paths. It goes without saying that this cannot be done on the sea, as roads cannot be found at sea. Villages may be placed where three tiles meet. These can also be sea tiles, as long as you place the villages on the land. A new village may only be built if there are at least two roads in between. This also applies to the other players. If another player is only one way from where you want to place your village, the whole party will be canceled. A city replaces the village, you can then rebuild the village that you take back somewhere else, provided you pay for it of course.

Raw materials:
Everything you do in the game must be done with resources. You are nowhere without raw materials. So make sure that your villages and cities are with the resources you need. The raw materials are the materials that are on the tiles. You will find wood in the forest, ore in the mountains, wool in the meadows, grain in the fields and clay in the hills. You get nothing at the desert.

There is a number on every raw material. When that number is rolled with the dice, the villages built on this resource all receive one resource. A city gets two. With the resources you can build roads, make villages and expand villages into cities. You can also buy development cards.

Resources can be exchanged with the bank. You have to exchange four resources of one kind for one other resource. However, if you are on a port of 3: 1, it will only cost you three resources. There are also ports for specific raw materials. For example, you can stand on a harbor where you can exchange two wood resources for one other resource. You can also trade with fellow players. You determine how much you exchange and what you exchange.

You can also lose the resources. If seven is rolled, and you have more than seven resources, you will have to discard half. The player who rolls seven may also place the knight on one of the tiles. This tile is then blocked when the number is rolled. In addition, the player who rolled seven may take a card from someone who borders the resource with a village or city. In addition to throwing the seven, the knight can also be used if someone has a knight’s development card.

Victory Points:

Victory points can be earned in various ways. Namely:

  • Each village is worth one victory point.
  • Each city is worth two victory points.
  • The longest trade route (ie the longest route) is worth two points. The longest trade route only counts if you have five or more connected roads.
  • The person who played the most knight cards receives the knight power. This one is worth two points.
  • There are development cards that are worth points.

The longest trade route and the greatest knightly power are not permanent points. If someone else has a greater knight power or a longer trade route, you lose your points. Because the city replaces the village, one village and one city have three points and not (as some people think) four.

There are several ways to win the game. Find out where you can best earn points and how you can make it as difficult as possible for other players. The cities are quite expensive, but often necessary to continue building. Placing your villages near ore and grain in the beginning cannot be a wrong choice. You can also positively promote the use of ports. This way you don’t have to trade with the other players. So you don’t help them.

Buying development cards can be a really good move. Not only are points and knights hidden here, but you can also get resources, build roads and take all resources of one type from your fellow players. Do you have this last card? Then keep a close eye on which numbers are rolled and which resources your fellow players get. For example, if a lot of grain is received, the monopoly card is the perfect way to get all of these resources. And if there are many, you can of course exchange them.

Since the game is so diverse, there are many different ways to play it. The more you play it, the better you will find out which tactic suits you best.