How to Play Settlers of Catan

How to Play Settlers of Catan Board Game

So you just purchased a fresh copy of Settlers of Catan? If you are new to it, you might feel overwhelmed by the rules and the number of pieces that come in the box. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it seems!

Settlers of Catan is an amazing board game that revolves around managing resources. 

Like most board games, Catan requires a mix of critical thinking and luck. Due to the modular layout, the game will turn out to be different every time.

In this article, we will see how this award-winning board works. You will get a brief idea of the concept, how to play Settlers of Catan and how long does it take to play.

Let’s jump in!

How to Play Settlers of Catan – Step by Step Guide

Preparing The Board

The first thing to do is to set up the board. Start off by connecting the edge pieces first. The pieces have a number on them. Connect them by matching their numbers.

The hexagonal tiles that lay in the middle don’t need to be placed in a specific order. Simply shuffle the pieces and then place them randomly, starting from one side.

After that place the number tokens. When all the pieces have been laid out, place the robber on the desert tile. This is the point where the game will start.

Get Started

The game starts with a player rolling the die. The player that rolls the biggest number can select their color of choice, and takes the first turn. Players will have their turns in a clockwise manner. 

In a sequence, the players all place their settlements on the edge where three hex tiles meet.

Next, every player will place a road on three possible locations next to the players’ settlements.

The last player will need to place two settlements and roads. After that, the remaining players will also have to place an additional settlement and road.

After the players roll the die, they either have to build roads, settlements, upgrade the settlements to cities, or play a development card.

They can also choose to do none of it, and pass the two dice to the next player instead.

Aim of the Game

The objective is simple. The first player to get 10 Victory points wins the game. Now you might be wondering, how do you get victory points?

Well, there are three ways to do it. Whichever way you choose depends entirely upon you.

Firstly, you can gain victory points by building settlements and cities. Every settlement you build will gain you a single victory point. If you build cities, however, you get 2 victory points instead.

Secondly, you can earn victory points by building a large army or long stretches of roads. If you are able to build them, you will be awarded 2 victory points for each.

Thirdly, development cards also allow you to earn victory points. The way this works is that there are a total of 5 victory points available in the development card deck. This may only be drawn once a development card has been built.


So how do you build cities, settlements, roads, and armies? Well, the answer is simple. In order to build them, you must first collect valuable resources.

In Settlers of Catan, these resources come in 5 different forms. The wood that is indicated by a dark green color.

Brick, which is reddish-brown, Sheep that is light green in color, wheat that is golden yellow, and grey ores.

The five resources are displayed on hexagonal tiles. The game also consists of a desert tile that basically doesn’t produce any kind of resource.

Settlers of Catan Rules

Your game entirely depends on the roll of your dice. If you have placed a settlement that touches an area where the number is equivalent to the roll of your dice, then you will get one of that specific resource.

If you have placed a city in that area, then you get two of that resource instead.

Now to build the roads, settlements, and cities, you will have to acquire them through the resources you have collected.

Each has its own requirements. For roads, you will be needing wood and brick. For settlements, each of wood, brick, sheep, and wheat is required.

Building cities will require you to invest three ores and two wheat, and for development cards, you will be needing each of ore, sheep, and wheat resources.

Each of the things you build has a specific purpose. By placing roads, it allows you to place settlements at any distance from the place you have started. If you want to build roads at any point of the map.

You basically have to make roads continuously until you reach the desired location. Only then you will be able to build the settlement.

The roads or settlements you built are placed on the edges of the tiles.

A settlement and city cannot exist in the same place, so whenever a city is built, the settlement will be replaced.

1. Play A Devo Card

Development cards are interesting, as it benefits the player that uses them.

The way it works is when you purchase the card using resources, you will be able to peek at the top card from the development deck whilst keeping it hidden from the other players. You can only play it once either before or after your roll.

The development cards cannot be played if someone has already played it in that turn.

Also, you can only play a single development card per turn. These cards are of 4 types.

Knight card is one of the most common cards in the deck. When you play this card, it will allow you to move the robber and steal a random resource from another player to the robber’s area. Knights also help your army.

If you have flipped or played three or more knights, you will acquire the largest army card. This will give you 2 victory points.

The Year of Plenty card allows you to acquire any two resources from the bank. The resources can be either the same or different.

With the road builder card, you have the opportunity to build any two roads instantly with no resources required. They must be connected to any existing roads that you have built.

If you have at least 5 roads that are connected together in one path, then you get the longest road card that gives you two victory points.

You can also earn the longest road victory points by building the longest road pf all the players.

When the monopoly card is played, you can name any resource. All the players will then have to give you the resource they have.

Lastly, there is a Victory point development card. This card is not flipped unless you have won the game. It simply counts an extra victory point.

2. What’s The Deal With The Robber?

You might have noticed an odd figure that doesn’t look like any other piece on the board. The humanoid figure, known as the robber, is a special part of the game that starts from the desert tile.

When a seven is rolled, the players that have 8 or more cards have to discard half of their cards.

Everyone can choose what cards they want to discard. After discarding the cards, the player who has rolled the seven can move the robber to a specific place.

Placing the robber on a specific tile means that no resources will be generated from the place unless the robber is first removed.

The player who rolled the seven can then pick any random resource from the player who has a settlement or city in that tile. 

3. Trading

Trading is an important aspect of the game. A player can trade their resources with other players or the bank.

Players can trade four of the resources they don’t need for another resource. If you can’t get a specific resource, then trading may be your best bet. The trade can happen if both the players agree.

How Long Does It Take to Play Settlers of Catan?

On average, Settlers of Catan will take around 90-120 minutes to play. This will vary depending on several factors.

For instance, determined players may not easily trade their cards, which makes it harder to gather resources used for building.

If there are new players in the game, they might have to understand the rules first which increases the game time.

Final Word

If you and your friends are planning to escape in the world of board games, then Settlers of Catan is a perfect choice. It is fun and will keep you engaged for hours!

The strategic depth and replayability set it aside from other board games, making it a masterpiece.

The euro-style game also provides a good amount of player interaction through trading, making it a board game that all the players will enjoy.

We hope you liked this article. Good luck, and enjoy the game!

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