how to play settlers of catan

Settlers of Catan is one of the best board games out there. It makes an excellent game for family game nights, parties, and other gatherings. The game is easy to play, making it a kid-friendly option for the entire family. If you are new to this game, we will teach you how to play Settlers of Catan in this game.

The game has a step-by-step guide and easy instructions; it takes only a few minutes to learn how to play it. Catan’s base edition is suitable for two to four players. Hence, we will also talk about how to play Catan with two players.

How to Play Settlers of Catan

Step 1: Set up the Game

How to play settlers of Catan. The first step to playing this game is to set it up. Before you start the setup process, check to see if all the game’s components are complete. The box usually contains all the elements needed to play the game. Check the list of items and ensure they are all there.

The next phase is understanding the game. The objective of players in this game is to be the first to gain 10 victory points. You can earn points by buying cards, building structures, and earning accomplishment cards like “Longest Army” and “Longest Route.”

Next, you have to arrange the outer frame and hexes of the game. Connect all the edges of the outer frame, making the small pieces one big piece. After that, place the hexes in the frame. Next, you have to place the tokens, robbers, and cards in the right places.

Place 1 token on each land hex. Start at a corner of the island. Place the number tokens on the terrain hexes in alphabetical order, proceding counter-clockwise toward the center.

The robber always starts in the desert. 

Step 2: Starting the Game

After setting up the game, it is time to start playing. To play, you have to determine the turn order. Every player will roll two dice to start. After rolling the dice, the player with the highest outcome will select their color and take the first turn. The game has four colors – orange, blue, white, and red for up to four players. Turns will progress in a clockwise direction until everyone picks their color.

Settlement placements follow next. The first player will place a settlement at an intersection – the meeting point of three terrain hexes. If the player rolls the number on that hex, he or she will earn the resources on the adjoining hexes. Next, the player will place a road on one of the three areas close to their first settlement.

After which, the next player will take a turn and play as the first player did. However, they will place their settlement in a different location. Note: you cannot place a settlement on an intersection adjacent to another intersection that a player occupies.

The last player will place two settlements with one road for each settlement. The first player will place their second settlement and road. It will continue until all players place their two roads and two settlements on the board.

The next step involves taking your first resource cards. Every player will get some resource cards to start with. For each hex adjacent to both your settlements, you will take a card. For instance, if one of your settlements is adjacent to a lumber, sheep, or wheat tile, you will take one lumber, sheep, and wheat card. All players have to do the same.

Step Three: Take Turns

Roll the dice. Remember, all settlements will be touching three hexes with three numbers. After rolling the dice, if the outcome corresponds to the number on your settlement, you will pick up that hex’s resource card. If a player has a city instead of a settlement, the same rule applies, but they will get to pick up two resource cards rather than one. Players with more than one settlement bordering their hex will also get more resource cards.

After they roll the dice, the player will decide whether to build structures like roads, play a development card, upgrade their settlement to cities, or trade. You can decide to do none or all of these actions. After taking your actions, you will pass the dice to the next player. When it is your turn, you can use your resources to do the following:

  • Build structures

  • Play a development card

  • Trade as needed

How to Play Catan With 2 Players

Settlers of Catan is also enjoyable and playable with two players. The gameplay of building roads remains the same. Trading gets reimagned and there are slight difference in other rules.

In the two-player mode there are two neutral players in the game. The begining of the game follows usual Catan rules with each settlment and road being placed.

During regular game play each player will roll the resource dice twice every turn instead of once. When one player builds a road and settlement, the other player will also receive a free road and settlement.

Trading is very different due to the nature of a 2 person game. You wouldn’t usually trade with your bitter rivals. So, trade gets forced with trade tokens. Each player gets 5 trade tokens each. Once the trade token is used the player who is being targeted holds up their cards in a fan and the person who used the trade token will choose 2 cards from the stack. They then keep what they want and give 2 resource cards from their deck (or the rejects from the other players deck) to balance it out. Forced trade, not theft. 

Here is a video that goes into more detail.

Wrapping Up

If you want to learn how to play Settlers of Catan, you need to read, understand, and follow the instructions. The game comes with simple and clear instructions; even kids can easily understand and play the game. The game also has extension packs to add more players and introduce more scenes and characters.

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