Catan (previously called”Settlers of Catan”) is just a traditional board game designed by Klaus Teuber.
It’s the absolute most successful of the Eurostyle games, and it has spawned numerous expansions.
It employs a gorgeous and endlessly variable but consistently familiar board. I’ve played off and on for ten decades, and a few of my first Instructables was a 3d plywood edition of the board.
This strategy guide does NOT tell you the way to play the match. The rules are described very definitely from the game itself and also so are freely available online.
This guide is to help those who know how to play but want to be more competitive, whether in person, on the web, or even contrary to those pesky bots. It’s substantially more than I initially intended and contains a high level of nerdy overanalysis. Feedback welcome.
Measure 1: Placing Settlements
The first installation is a must in Catan. There are various levels of sophistication here, you start with all the obvious and moving into the subtle. Very good players consider all the facets below, and simply how much weight needs to be given to each inside a certain game is dependent on the specific design of these tiles and amounts.
- Get one of what. You’re going to require all of wood, brick, wheat, sheep, and ore, why not be sure to have them all at the start? Set your very first settlement so you obtain 3 unique resources, and grab the final 2 with your final placement.
- Maximize pips. Each number has pips about it signaling its own probability (out of 36) of being rolled to a specified throw of the dice. Set your settlements looking to maximize your odds of getting resource cards (when you’re placing numbers according to this recommended spiral convention, the best you can perform is 1-3 pips, e.g. 5/6/9). Watch the 2nd photo, above.
- Ports. Choosing late at the round frequently leaves you poor choices, along with coastal options may possibly become appealing if they come with a port (though make sure it is one with 2 hexes adjoining, not one!). Especially good are ports that match well along with your absolute best resource-gathering tiles.
- Get a fantastic distribution of numbers. This seems a tiny counterintuitive, however, it’s terrific for experienced players since it keeps them from the game regardless of how the stunt shakes. The dream initial placement is something like 4/6/9 and 5/8/10… 2/3 of this moment, you’re going to be obtaining a resource card, and you’ll feel involved throughout.
- Balance resources. Try to get about the same number of pips of brick and wood, and additionally for wheat and ore. Paired tools like 9 of wood and 9 of brick will provide you an instantaneous road every time that the 9 is rolled, and this sort of synergy is successful.
- Where to start? You need to consider choices for expansion, and this can be a superior tiebreaker in your decision-making in case you believe two placements are essentially equal. See roads the following measure.
- Prioritize ore and wheat. You can find tremendously competitive strategies that want hardly any wood and brick. But no strategies might do without ore and wheat, therefore if you do not start with them, then you’d better have an idea of how to receive them…
Obviously, the order in that you get to go would affect your chances. You’ll find no substantial advantages inherent in moving 1st/2nd/3rd/4th, though players who strongly prefer a specific strategy tend to wish to proceed earlier.
Personally, I like to go third or second – there are frequently three good spots on the board to start with, however, the choices becoming worse because the board fills up, and choosing late might leave you with poor options.
2: Placing Roads
You want to point them towards where you may like to construct your following settlement. This will often be towards the beyond this board. Do not bother pointing it in that empty 5/9/10 intersection – someone will occupy it for sure. This 4/9 port? Perfect.
Road positioning is about second-guessing your competitions: you basically want to point the path at the (n+1)th ideal position left on the board where n = the number of compensation placements left.
That is tough on round 1 of placements for obvious reasons but becomes much easier since farther placements are created and in the event that you go first/last it should be a big part of your settlement positioning strategy, too – the second positioning should maintain a decent spot which also allows you to step towards the other decent spot AND hopefully inconveniences somebody else.
If your strategy doesn’t involve the Longest Road, attempt to point the path towards two open intersections. You’ll then have the ability to fork it and build two more settlements at a cost of 2 roads instead of 3.
The resources are not created equally. You will find 19 tiles.
The previous 4 photos show what you want to build roads, settlements, cities, and development cards. Wheat is a part of 3 different builds, therefore may be the 1 resource everybody else should ensure they have.
Ore consistently needs wheat as a way to be played. Wood and brick are consistently used together in amounts, therefore attempt to balance these. In the event you end up with a major excess of a resource over something it matches with, your aims had better comprise an interface.
The simple fact that the exact identical amount of brick and wood are needed in every single game, but there is an additional timber tile compared to brick means that brick is more highly valued due to scarcity. There is an excess of sheep at the basic game, therefore it’s the simplest to trade for.
The ore may be the strongest resource and it’s tough to triumph without a decent source of this; try to acquire as much wheat to decide on it.
There is just 1 strategy to roll a two, but 5 different ways of rolling a 6. In the match, the numbers have one to five pips about these, and these represent the chance at 36 of the specific resource being stated in a particular role.
But a typical game involves a finite number of rolls, and also the supply isn’t going to match the preceding perfectly. Sometimes, there’ll be deviations from the averages that may outrage players. More 12s than 6s in a match? No 5s within a whole match?
You’ll see these and worse. The next picture shows 9 simulations of 72 rolls (a fairly moderate number for a game), with the reddish dots showing that the called distribution and also the blue bars that the detected values (made with Excel using RANDBETWEEN and COUNTIF functions. This easy spreadsheet is appended to the end of this measure if you wish to play around with it; just hit”save” if you want a new supply ).
All sorts of deviations have emerged; as such examples, the”game” at the top left features 2 being rolled as often as or more than 5, 3, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Usually, the one in the bottom right has 10 being rolled more than 8 and 6 placed together. The main one in the middle gets got the robber turning only 6 times in the whole game.
In a little sample size deviations like these are average. Your work is to reevaluate luck as much as you can, and also you certainly can do so by playing the likelihood (optimizing pips and getting a fantastic supply of numbers) as best possible if you are placing your settlements.
5: Development Cards
The development card (25) distribution is as follows:
- – 14 Knights (56%)
- – 5 Victory Points (20%)
- – 2 Monopoly (8%)
- – two Road Building (8%)
- – two Year of Plenty (8%)
Whatever you draw, representing it for a knight whenever it’s sitting in front of you’s a good idea. You never want to have the robber sitting on your own tiles, also in the event that you’re able to ward off it with a victory point card, then all of the better.
Knight: Knights are powerful – that they protect your most valuable tiles, block other player’s most effective tiles, provide you with a free card (in order to effectively only spent two cards, also denied a competitor one!) , and catch you in the race for Largest Army.
If the robber is on among your tiles, it’s not exactly always correct to play a knight *prior * rolling unless you have seven cards (robbing somebody will give you 8 cards, so if you then roll a seven, you’ll lose half of your cards). Recommendations for setting the robber have been in the next step; they follow no matter of whether you proceed it onto a roster of seven or by playing with a knight.
Victory points: Someone with a great deal of un-played development cards in front of these is really a dangerous competition – they have either got lots of firepowers on their sleeve or are much closer to victory than they look.
Monopoly: here’s where keeping tabs played becomes a lot more crucial. Catan is actually a near-perfect information game – it is likely to know just what cards are out there, if not exactly who’s what – however in practice just card-counting sharks can achieve this.
However, you should pay additional focus to dice rolls when you have a credit card card. Alternatively, peek at the piles of cards if one really is getting low, hit that. A sneaky trick is to trade cards away you plan to monopolize after in your own turn.
Most powerful in the long run game, monopoly cards will be probably more important to damage your competitors than they’re supposed to secure you usable resources, therefore play with them accordingly.
Road-building: try to engage in this when you’ve got a settlement ready to go at the conclusion of it. A favorite hand of mine is 2W, 2 B, 1Wh, 1S, and an RB card – building 3 roads then plopping a settlement on the ending is a superb surprise method to destroy another player’s carefully laid plans for expansion.
Year of Plenty: but in the early game, it can be handy when certain tools are difficult to find. Any hand can be built from when you can add two wildcards to it, and you can effectively hold a 9 card hand safely with it. Good for receiving the very first city to secure you in the manufacturing lead. Less use after, however, you could always use it to help buy the next card.
6: The Robber
Using the robber well is vital – typically, the robber will arrive once in every six rolls, and additionally, it gets moved when playing a knight.
– utilize it to the individual in the most powerful position (maybe not necessarily the available points boss ). Count un-played development cards in someone’s hand as things. Somebody who receives Longest Road premature is rarely a threat in the long term.
– use the robber entirely on your own most powerful competitor. Prevent inspiring more than one of your competitors to seek out revenge!
– block everything that the opponent needs, rather than their highest producing tile. Their city on the 8 of ore just got struck the double – tempting target, right? Wrong. Block their 4 wheat instead.
– if your competitors are typical equally positioned, hitting the man to your right (on a tile they exclusively benefit from) will ensure the robber stays there so long as you possibly can without retaliation. If they make an effort to get you back you may have the ability to respond instantly.
– in the event that you’re lacking a source, then do not place the robber about it. You would like there to be plenty of it in the match so people will exchange it for you. As an alternative, place it onto a resource that you possess a lot of and that means you can increase your odds of trading for what you want.
This strategy plans first to create two cities before attempting to create roads or settlements. Players who like this strategy try to find rich placements on wheat and ore and also do not stress much about brick and wood.
They collect plenty of development cards and a typical winning combination may demand 3 cities, two victory point cards, and the biggest military. Road construction is most often done with the proper development card. It’s quite feasible to win this way without even producing a single brick or brick in the full game (using trading or Road Building/Year of Plenty cards to find the wood+brick for your additional settlement(s)).
Good when one of these is true:
- board is ore-rich
- that you monopolize ore (i.e. that the ore is clustered together and/or you own the biggest source )
- you have a Wonderful supply of ore, sheep, and wheat
- everybody else is heading for another strategy
- what you can to get your first city. Liberally commerce-off sheep/brick/wood to achieve that.
- encourage others to compete for the maximum road.
- remember to leave at least one area open for building money. It’s possible to acquire with 2 cities, both largest army and 4 victory point cards, however, you’d need to play well and get very blessed.
- not get distracted by all that road- and – settlement-building. Get out of those cities.
- hog the ore. Your strategy relies on you having the cities, and also the best way to do this can be to decrease the supply of ore into other players to an overload.
- secure approximately two times as much wheat and ore as sheep, and twice as many hens as wood or brick.
- stay at the race to Largest Army.
This strategy is targeted at development cards, building different things just being an aside if development and resource cards dictate it. They’ll usually wind up getting the card and also the lion’s share of their victory point cards, and generally get a fantastic annoyance of these.
This really is a great strategy if you’ve got good ore/wheat/sheep balance, but is consistently fun to play, particularly because you’re going to be decreasing the robber around the area but your plank position can look sufficiently weak you’re not always the most obvious target your self.
It’s not at all unusual for the Developer to grab a few victory point cards along with Largest Army, so they often times just need to build a handful of settlements/cities to go out. It is surprisingly easy regarding Road Building, Monopoly, or Year of Plenty cards to help.
Good Once the following are true:
- your starting position gives you an even distribution of wheat, ore, and sheep
- you also love playing in a style That Actually messes with your opponents
- everybody else is heading for another strategy
- keep your options open. This strategy and the Commander are only subtly different, of course, in the event that you’ve got 3 ore, 2 wheat, and 2 hens ancient, you may just want to build that city rather than shopping for two cards.
- secure concerning the same amount of ore like wheat, and 2/3 with the amount of sheep. You truly don’t need any brick or wood to discuss it when playing with this strategy – you will get all you desire from development cards along with robbing different players
This strategy intends to collect more funds than anybody else, and make use of the absolute weight of production volume to conquer your own competitors. It generates no special effort at Longest Road or Largest Army before a potent engine based on 6 8 points of cities and settlements is in place, of which point funds will be rolling in at a ferocious rate, and also you coast to success.
However, it is possible that the focused strategies will close you outside of both of those bonus cards unless you are actually beating them with production, plus it’ll not be possible for your competitors to ignore your wealth and you’re going to get hit with the robber a lot.
Yet another issue of this strategy is frequently balance – at the end game you may well be getting lots of cards, but if they are not mixing nicely with each other you will end up left trading with the bank very inefficiently. It’s tough to win Producer without getting a least good interface.
Good when the following are accurate:
- the starting position Provides you a Fantastic range of assets with a high probability
- you have choices for constructing good settlements
- you have a Practical interface accessible for you personally
- everyone else is going for another strategy
- start road, settlement, road, compensation. One of those settlements ought to be an interface, ideally 3:1. These 4 settlements are going to become your engine of production. Now look to upgrade to cities (unless hand direction or alternative opportunities dictate otherwise). Upgrade to cities before construction settlements IF your settlement locations are not secure.
- It is frequently simpler for your Producer to sneak the Longest Road from the Explorer as it is to sneak the Largest Army from the Commander or even Developer.
- win those races to hot intersections in the event that you want to win the production struggle.
- protected balanced line up of tools, with fairly similar conditions for wood, brick, wheat, and ore (and at the least a few sheep).
This strategy focuses on sprawling across the plank, building a lengthy road and resolutions together it. Players who enjoy this strategy try to find a great deal of brick and wood inside their initial placements.
An average winning combination will require two cities, including 4 settlements and the longest road. This strategy looks stronger as it’s because it typically allows you to race into seven points (5 settlements + longest road) but stalls catastrophically in the end game once you desperately need ore and everybody is pounding you with the robber and denying to exchange with you because you’re in the things lead.
Good when the following are accurate:
- you are able to procure a powerful supply of brick and wood
- you can view a way to get the ore you want to your own towns in the match
- you can get to a vent to get late-game ore/wheat when wood/brick is less precious
- everyone else is about for another strategy
- build settlements across your road. Nothing worse than being the longest road because the lynchpin of your strategy, simply to have somebody build a payoff in the midst of it!
- protected roughly two times as much brick and wood as wheat as well as approximately twice as much wheat as ore and sheep.
This is the smallest and most set-up determined strategy but can result in glorious victory on the ideal board. Fundamentally, you throw all thoughts of balance out the window and bet on a single resource for which you also have the matching port.
Any time I’ve seen a pure port strategy of this kind win has been for rebellion because the additional tools are valued more highly and you won’t find a way to sweep up them in precisely the exact same way. Additionally, who’s going to rob you once they understand they’ll simply get a sheep? Amongst the people I game with, this particular strategy is well known as”The Queen of Sheep”, the name self-awarded to the man who first pulled this off.
Good ONLY if ALL the following are accurate:
- the plank is sheep rich
- the sheep are clustered together and maybe monopolized
- you have the sheep port
- everyone else is going for another strategy
- that the board is ore-poor and/or badly imbalanced between ore/wheat along with wood/brick (this will slow down everybody else to give you the time to triumph )
- haplessly make an effort to trade sheep all the time” someone should possess wood because of my sheep!”. Your competitors may fall for it periodically (especially if you’ve done a great job of monopolizing sheep), when they don’t really, grumble loudly about just how foolish they truly are and transaction away gently at 2:1 together with your vent. Obviously, you will never have to trade unfavorably, because you could always apply your port.
- go for Commander as your secondary strategy. You want to have more sheep so cities really are a good idea.
- secure that the lion’s share of this sheep and at least some of the 4 remaining resources. When you have to exchange for more than a couple of resources you are probably going to lose win the game.
12: Which Is Best?
It very much depends on the board and how your opponents are playing. The figure above sums that the cards required from the following example situations:
Commander: buys 6 development cards to get Largest Army and also a success point, assembles two roads, 2 settlements, and three cities.
Developer buys 1-2 development cards to get Largest Army and two success points, assembles 1 3 and settlement cities.
Producer: builds 6 roads, 4 settlements, and 4 cities.
Queen of Sheep: replaces all of the ore needs with play Commander, buys 6 creation cards for Largest Army and also a victory point, builds two roads, 2 3 and settlements cities.
Commander is unquestionably strong, but suppose that if the board is ore-poor? Or someone else is playing with the Developer and locks up Largest Army? Or the ore-rich spots are taken before you arrive at the place of your settlement(s)?
Or the Producer gets exactly the Longest Road? Or the Explorer grabs all the lucrative spots? Or the maximum probability tiles are sheep? Better have a backup arrange for if your chances don’t match your favorite strategy…
Be aware that the Producer needs a lot of funds but they also collect the maximum, so it’s more competitive than it really looks. It’s fair to say Queen of Sheep is uncompetitive except if no one else has much more.
Should you play from the Catan AI (I only have experience using the iOS program, but I guess it is like other programs ) on the hardest level, games often finish with the evolution cards offered.
If this not happens in your own games, you’re probably playing with a relatively friendly manner of game and no one is playing with Developer. Try it!
Your entire strategy will dictate exactly what your Objectives are, however, you’ll find more general things you can be trying to do:
– proceed for an interface. Even the 3:1 vents tend to be more valuable than they may appear, as you can always build something with almost any type of 8 cards or longer. It is critical to dodge the robber and to stay productive.
– if you’re missing a resource, then keep a close watch on who has the most of it. Card tracking will allow you to aim the robber most effortlessly.
– commerce before you build. In the event you need wood to get a road and sheep for a settlement, then commerce for both before setting the road your opponents may be less likely to want to trade you that sheep if they see where you’re going to set the payoff!
– attempt to prevent down trading to just a couple cards with the financial institution and also being stuck unable to build. Chances are, you are this to get a resource you’re finding hard to get and other players will know they are able to disproportionately hurt you with the robber if they slip it.
– conserve juicy settlement locations together with judicious road placement. Lock up that interface that’s essential for your strategy premature. Nothing more infuriating than having an opponent beats you to it.
– consider shooting a productive site close to an opponent than the much better spot away from everyone, especially if they don’t possess great options elsewhere. After that, you can pick up the other spot at your leisure while their plans are badly damaged.
– Attempt to accomplish self-sufficiency until the end game, by diversifying your resources or by procuring a handy port. Trading between players slows a great deal from the endgame, and clear leaders will soon be blacklisted entirely.
– if you have more than seven cards in your hand at the end of one’s turn, there’s a 52 percent (inch – 5/6*5/6*5/6*5/6) potential for you being robbed before you’re able to play cards. The possibility is 42% if having fun with 3 players as opposed to 4. Buy something!
– be elastic. Your hands may grow in such a way that permits one to take advantage of the chance to secure territory, grab a port, fortify your shield or build cities, even when that deviates from the key targets.
– the Commander is an ore whore along the best way to prevent them is denying them early cities by obstructing those tiles and needing to exchange them exactly what they crave.
– encroach on the Developer and strangle their own productivity. Do your best not to trade them ore/wheat/sheep – if you let them purchase a card every turn, they’re going to win.
– slip relentlessly from the Producer and also work to unbalance their hands by clever blocking. It may seem pointless since they receive so many cards, but in case you can stem the stream of an important resource it is possible to render them burning cards into the robber and the bank and also fighting to the finish.
– that the Explorer strategy could be the most readily disrupted through blocking, although unless the plank is well set up for these it’s a weak strategy anyway. Careful that building a settlement at the middle of their longest road will not hand the success to someone else! Many times, you would like the Explorer to keep the Longest Road – it is a fantastic method of keeping other players in check along with forcing them to go out the hard way.
– Queen of Sheep usually ends up having a loony tile that hauls in 5 sheep (which = an improvement card by using their sheep port) when wrapped. You want to shut it down.
– Catan is NOT multiplayer solitaire, and much of the banter around the dining table involves dissecting other players’ strategies and the reason why they’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the way you are hanging in there, maybe not just a threat to anybody and needs to be addressed fairly. Consistently having a butt is a fantastic way to get pummelled on.
– having two competitors pursuing exactly the exact same strategy as one another regularly removes both of the players out of contention. It’s possible to encourage this in numerous ways, which range from manipulative banter to strategic card-trading.
14: Late Game
The strategies all type of blend together in the late game when everyone has multiple cities/settlements/roads/cards, so trading is mostly happening with the bank/ports for concern with letting someone else go out on their own turn, the battle is going to be fierce for the bonus cards, along with evolution cards are disappearing at a furious speed.
Do not stress over payoff positioning in the late game – put them anywhere that you can, they’re victory points as opposed to production sources.
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Obvious leads make you a target. Longest Road particularly should be picked up as late as you possibly can. Combining two separate road sections with a huge road-building push and unveiling 2 victory point cards can give you the win from 6 points.
The largest Army on the other hand needs to become more publicly competed for, because of the play-only-one-development-card-per-turn rule. Victory point cards are great to have because they create doubt on your competitions (can it be a VP or a monopoly card?).
The best matches of Catan have all players at the table in with a shot of winning late in the game, and if this guide makes it possible to access that position more frequently, it has done its work. Enjoy fun!
You lose a Whole Lot as:
1. No one deals with you
You *have* to trade at Catan, particularly early on when the card’s roster is slow and it is really hard to get what you want. Stressless about other individuals taking benefit of you and give attention to the thing you require. So what if it cost you brick for that lousy sheep?
When it enables you to build an early settlement, then you’re still ahead – far better than waiting for yet another round and risking exactly the identical scenario or becoming robbed. In general, the individuals profiting at commerce would be the two involved, and that means it’s possible to accumulate net benefit by trading more often than your competitors.
Neutral trades may engender goodwill and are for that reason usually well worth it in the event you feel a player is in a weak position. They may just rob someone else down the line in the place of you personally…
2. The dice despise you.
You’re probably placing your settlements without even contemplating obtaining a fantastic distribution or high probability numbers, i.e. you are dismissing installation tips and not practicing them when you enlarge. As an alternative, you are this is the sort of person who remembers slights more than successes.
Catan would maybe not be fun if the ideal player consistently won, and also the dice inject some welcome chaos into the match with no descending to a dumb luck-fest.
3. You’re constantly getting burnt by the robber
The simple solution would be to build more and to exchange longer. The more attentive you are, the more vulnerable you are to overloading your hand. You could also complete a superior job of building for balance – perhaps you’re raking in a great deal of wheat however have no ore or no vent to use it with.
4. You constantly get Hemmed-in
Chances are, you’re not pointing your roads from smart directions to start with, you are building your settlements overly close together, or you are not building roads soon enough. In addition, it is possible you’re playing with people who all like the Explorer strategy, then you definitely should try out the Commander or even Developer as an alternative.
5. You receive close but no cigar
Take notice of what the other players need to win. Someone going to unveil a knight or a victory point card to secure the match? Build a settlement in the middle of their longest road. Don’t trade with others if they are close to going out, even when it’s fantastic for you – nobody remembers who came next.
Somebody hemmed-in however otherwise strong? Compete with them Largest Army. Someone holding the longest road about to move out? Trade brick and wood favorably with someone who may simply take it off them (supposing that’ll not put them out, needless to say!).
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You may also be losing as a result of an ostensibly weaker strategy (Explorer is very likely too early leads and also agonizingly slow endings ) or as your tools have been unbalanced and you’re easily blocked out of the thing you need to go out. Try specifically to procure numerous origins of wheat, as being obstructed onto that at the late game will probably shut you down.
6. Everyone gangs up on you
If you are leading, so they should. Otherwise, you need to possess a reputation to be (a) good (b ) ) cluttered or (c) both. Enjoy the battle; the wins will be that much neater.
7. Somebody Else comes with an unbeatable strategy that consistently works
No, another person comes with a strategy that you’re allowing them to get off with. Determine what the key to their playing style is and deny them that. Or beat them in their own game! But in case their unbeatable strategy varies game to game, they are probably only a whole lot better in Catan than you are…
8. Everybody is so mean
Perhaps you play very slowly, then you definitely deserve it.
Seriously though: Yes, they’re. There are tons of amazing games out there in which the meanness is hidden. Try out Ticket To Ride (path construction with rails ), Carcassonne (tile-laying), Agricola (worker placement), 7 Wonders (deck building), or among another great modern boardgame out there.