Catan is a game of trading and building, but it’s so much more. Catan is a classic game that became pretty mainstream. A lot of serious gamers have kind of moved past it, there are a lot game options out there now. Some people don’t like how much luck drives this game and find it’s not greatest example for trading. However, Catan has done a lot for gaming. This game is fairly recognizable to people who don’t normally play games. Which makes more people want to play and it doesn’t hurt that it’s easy to teach. Overall that’s pretty special. This game will remain a staple because of that.
If you find yourself wanting to play something a little more hefty than traditional classic games and move away from party games I think is a great choice. Catan is for 3 to 4 players ages 10 and up and takes an hour or two to play. You can get a 5-6 player expansion if you would like to play with more people.
The goal of the game is to get to 10 victory points by building settlements, cities and roads. You can get points for having the longest road or the largest army. I’ll try to go through most of the rules, I still recommend having the rulebook near you and reading it before you start. This is more to give an idea of how the game plays.
The board is set by assembling the frame and then inserting the terrain hexes. There is a suggested set up for beginners in the rulebook. Distribute the number signs onto the hexes skipping the desert tile. Place the robber token on the desert tile. Each player picks a colour and collects all the roads, settlement and city pieces matching their colour. They will also have a reference tile to see how much thing cost.
Place the longest road card and the largest army card near the board along with the resource cards and the development cards. This will be the bank.
Everyone rolls the dice, whoever rolls the highest places a settlement and road on the board. Settlements should be on intersections and roads adjacent to it. Go clockwise around the table so everyone can place a settlement and road, then do it again in reverse order and you are ready to start.
The game is played over rounds. On a players turn they will roll the dice gain resources, trade and construct buildings. Once the player has rolled the dice any players that have a building next to any tiles matching what was rolled gain one of that resource for each settlement and two for each city.
The next step, you may offer to trade resources with other players. If you have four of one resource you can trade with the bank for one of a different type. There are also a benefit to being located next to a harbour where trading to the bank is a better deal.
The final step in your turn is to build. This is where those resource cards really matter. You can use those cards to build or to buy development cards. Refer to your trade reference card to see what resources are needed to build. For example a road requires a brick and lumber card. You need a road to build a settlement. The roads are not worth victory points unless you have the longest one. The longest road cannot have another players building intersect in the middle of it. Cities are great, they are worth two victory points each and you get two resource cards when its number is rolled. To build a city, you need a settlement first, then the city can replace it.
One thing to throw a bit of a wrench in your plans is the robber. The robber starts on the desert and is activated once someone rolls a seven. If you roll a seven on your turn, all players who have more than seven cards must return half of them to the bank, then the robber is moved to the number token of any other terrain. The player that rolled the robber can steal a card from one person adjacent to this tile. Also, this blocks any resources gained from this tile until the robber is moved.
You are probably wondering how to protect yourself from that, this is where development cards come in handy. You can trade in resources to get development cards. Different card types include knight cards, which will protect you from the robber, progress cards and victory point cards. Not only does the knight card protect you from the robber but if get three you have the largest army and get that card as well.
You’ve traded, you’ve build but how do you win? The first player who gets to ten victory points on their turn wins.
- Cities are worth 2 victory points
- Settlements are worth 1 victory point
- Longest road is worth 2 victory points
- Largest army is worth 2 victory points
Those are the basic rules of Catan. Catan has been around for a while and because of it’s popularity it has a lot of expansions, so if you really like this base game there are lot of ways to add on. I haven’t played any of the expansions but I have heard that Seafarers and Cities and Knights are awesome. There’s even a family version of this game. Whatever you are looking for, this is a game that has a lot of room to grow. This is a really good option if you want to start a game collection and want something a little heftier than the usual classic games and a good intro to more complicated games.