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Settlers of Catan - Learn to Play Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan is the primary gateway modern board game. If you are going to give this hobby a try, this is the game that everyone suggests you try first. It is actually a fairly simple game that allows every action to affect every player. Also, it is important to know that this game has no player elimination or direct conflict.
Winning Settlers of Catan
The goal of the game is to be the first player to achieve 10 victory points. You do this in one of several ways. Your success is based on your management of scarce resources to allow you to do these:
- Build enough settlements and cities on the island. Settlements are worth 1 point and cities are worth 2 points.
- Earn the Longest Road card - worth 2 points.
- Earn the Largest Army card - worth 2 points.
- Purchase event cards that offer different point values.
The base game is an island surrounded by water. The spaces of the board are hexagonal and each space represents a different resource. On each resource, you place a number token. These numbers represent the 12 possible numbers that can appear on a roll of two dice.
Each player receives two settlements and two roads. The rule book suggests a pre-set layout - but you can choose to set it up however you want. The settlements get placed on a corner of the hexagonal(hex) space. The road goes on an edge of the hex, but is adjacent to the settlement. The rule is that settlements go on corners and roads go on edges. Each settlement should touch either three other hexes or a port by the ocean.
Each player receives a card representing the resources that are touching his settlements. You are now ready to start playing.
Catan has several resources for you to work with and each becomes more important at different points in the game. The resources are:
At the beginning of the game, the important resources will be wood and brick. This combination will get you a road.
It Takes a Settlement
Your second goal should be to build a settlement. The more settlements you have built, the more resources you can possibly receive on any roll of the dice.
The rule for building a settlement is that it must be two road lengths away from any other city - either one of your settlements or an opponent's. Therefore, it is possible to block other players trying for an important resource.
To build a settlement, you need four resources - wood, brick, sheep, and wheat.
One important feature of the settlement is that if it is touching a port, you can use it to trade specific resources for a discount. We'll cover this a little later.
Wood for Sheep? Trading Your Resources
The main interaction in Settlers of Catan is that on every turn, players can trade resources with each other. This becomes a tool for you to get what you need at most any time...as long as someone else will trade with you. This is where the concept of scarce resources comes into play. Don't make all the other players mad, otherwise, they will put a trade embargo on you and you won't get any resources you need.
Another option is for you to hog a few key resources and control the flow of that resource to get what you need to grow your civilization.
You don't have to trade with other players to get what you need. However, trading with others is cheap - usually a one-for-one trade. You can also trade with the "bank". This is your most expensive option. You must trade any four of your cards to receive one resource of your choice.
Ports are another option for inexpensive resource trade. Most ports offer either a 2-for-1 or a 3-for-1 trade. The ports with a question mark are the most valuable, since you can trade for any resource, rather than a specific one.
I've Been Robbed!
The tool for you to inflict pain on your fellow opponents is the black pawn, the robber. Whenever a player rolls a seven on the dice, they get to use the robber. The robber does two things:
- You get to put the robber on a hex of your choice
- You get to steal a resource card from a player with a settlement or city touching that hex.
The other thing to be concerned with is that the robber is also a tool that forces you to trade. Let's say your strategy is to hold your cards, and massively build. Then, someone rolls a seven... You just became a stuck piggy! If you have more than seven cards in your hand, you must discard half of them. So, trade often.
The other effect of the robber is that while that robber is on a hex, nobody can harvest that hex if that number comes up on a turn. This can be pure evil to some people. Also, be careful how you use the robber. It has been known to completely destroy the economy of the island.
Taking Your Turn
Now that you understand the goals of the game and some of the mechanics behind how you use the tools in the game, let's break it down to what you do during any turn.
Your turn is simple, really. Roll, harvest resources, trade, and then build.
First, you will roll the dice. If it is any number other than seven, somebody might be happy. Find the numbered disc on the board and every settlement touching that hex gets that resource. So, for example, you have a settlement touching hexes with the discs labeled 3 (wood), 5(brick), and 9(stone). Someone rolls a five. Which resource do you get? Brick, because your settlement is touching the brick hex and it has the 5 on it.
Once all the harvesting for that roll has happened, you then trade, buy, or build.
Then, it is the next players turn.
Wash, rinse, repeat! That's really it. Roll, harvest, trade, build. The only thing that really changes this is if you roll a seven - then you get to rob someone.
Settlers of Catan Resources
- Buy Settlers Of Catan
This is the product page for purchasing the internationally recognized board game, Settlers of Catan. If you are a new gamer, you should consider playing this game. Settlers is considered a gateway game by many.
- The Settlers Of Catan - Interactive Tutorial
If you still aren't sure you want to get this game for your own game nights, give this online tutorial a shot. It will walk you through several turns of the game.