The Settlers of Catan
How to Play The Settlers of Catan
Playing The Settlers of Catan
If youíre interested in enjoying one of the most popular board games of the new millennium, I suggest learning how to play The Settlers of Catan. First published in Germany in 1995, this Klaus Teuber-designed game has achieved international popularity in the gaming community and sold over 15 million copies. The success has also led to numerous expansions, card games, scenario packs, special editions, and even video games for everything from Xbox Live to smartphones.
In 1996, The Settlers of Catan received the Origins Award for the Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game, and it was inducted into the Games Magazine Hall of Fame in 2005. With multiple ways to win and endless strategies to explore, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. It is also noteworthy for inspiring a wave of popular German-style games that include Puerto Rico, Carcassone, and Agricola.
This article examines how to play The Settlers of Catan, as well as looking at some basic strategies that beginning players will find helpful. Not all of The Settlers of Catan rules are included here, though, so youíll need to buy the game to understand the full complexity of the game.
The Settlers of Catan Instructions
In order to understand The Settlers of Catan instructions, you should first understand the basic premise of the game. Players take on the roles of settlers on the island of Catan, and each competes to build cities, settlements, and roads to connect them.
To win, a player needs to achieve 10 victory points. Cities are worth two points, settlements are worth one point, special development cards are worth one point, and achievements such as having the longest road or biggest army also pay bonus points.
The Settlers of Catan Rules
The Settlers of Catan rules state that the game can be played by three or four players, but four is the number recommended by experienced gamers. Most games will average about 90 minutes in length, and the ease of the rules allows players 8 years and older to enjoy the spirited competition.
The hexagonal tiles that make up the island of Catan are placed randomly at the beginning of the game. Different types of land produce a different resource, and players can trade their resources with opponents or the bank. Resources can also be traded in to obtain development cards (such as the knight, which allows the player to move the robber).
Each turn, gameplay is broken up into three actions that must be taken in turn: production, trading, and building.
During the production phase, a player rolls two dice and determines which hex on the board has produced resources. If a player has control of property next to this hex, they receive the appropriate resources. If a seven is rolled, the robber token comes into play, allowing the robber to be moved to a hex and thereby halting production on that space until he moves again. The player who rolled the seven is also allowed to steal a resource card from one of his or her opponents.
In the trading phase, the player may trade any of his cards with other players. You can also trade with the bank by offering four of one type of card for one card of another type.
The building phase allows players to create structures and technology. Structures include cities, settlements, and roads, while technology comes in the form of development cards. You must spend resources in order to build either structures or technology.
The Settlers of Catan Strategy
Strategy for The Settlers of Catan allows players a diverse range of options, and tactics can often be crafted to suit each playerís individual style of play. However, there are some strategies that will benefit players regardless of their style, and that is what weíll cover in this section.
Beginning Settlement Placement - Your first two settlements should be placed on hexes that provide the potential for three resources. Other strategies involving resource placement include placing settlements on the rarest resources on the board or spreading settlements out on as many numbers as possible.
Trade with Weaker Opponents - Donít trade with a player whoís ahead of you, especially in the later phases of the game. While this may be okay in the early phases, you should trade with weaker opponents as the game begins to draw to a close.
Build Settlements Early - Building settlements early will lead to exponential growth as the game continues. When possible, itís also advisable to build settlements on three different types of resources. If this canít be done, try to target wood and brick for your settlement locations. If youíre looking to build cities, grain and ore hexes are also handy.
Think of Yourself - Some players will squander resources trying to thwart the goals of the opposing players. You should think about your own goals before anything else and always work to achieve them. If this provides you with an opportunity to screw the competition along the way, then all the better.
Build Roads and Block - If you want to impede the growth of your competitors, building roads is an excellent way to do it.
Ports - If you can place a settlement near a port in the beginning of the game, itís a good idea to do so. Later in the game, youíll then have access to it.
Beware the Robber - If you decide to build cities, beware the robber. The best way to counter the robber is to invest in development cards and hope that the knight turns up. You can also hedge your bets by making sure you have less than seven cards in your hand before someone rolls the dice.
Some gamers may prefer titles published by Hasbro and Parker Brothers, but learning how to play The Settlers of Catan will expose you and your gaming group to a new realm of products. The Washington Post dubbed it ďthe board game of our time,Ē and millions of players have tested their trading and resource management skills since the game debuted in 1995. And since itís been translated into over 30 languages, finding an appropriate edition should be no problem.
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