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The Settlers of Catan Strategies: International Trade

Updated on May 8, 2012


Settlers of Catan is a board game created by Mayfair Games. In this strategy game there is only one basic way to win, which is to earn ten victory points. This sounds easy, but becomes much harder when you have competitive land and limited resources. Also, the game is based on luck, and if you find yourself not getting the right rolls, or the resources you need for your normal strategy, it is always good to have a backup plan.

If not yet done so, please read the Settlers Tactics page before progressing into this strategy.

Selecting Settlements

When you start playing with this strategy, you should aim for these resources:

Essential: The most abundant resource (a resource with many good numbers), a port that allows you to trade two of that resource for one of anything else

Important: A secondary resource that will allow you to use the abundant resource (if it is brick have your secondary resource be wood; if it is ore (rock) have your secondary resource be wheat; etc.)

Unnecessary: Resources that do not go along with your main resource (For example: Having your main resource be ore (rock) and then getting a lot of brick will not be very useful

Starting Off

This is probably the toughest strategy to start with. Basically, the goal of this strategy is to collect an abundance of your main resource and then use it along with your secondary or trade it in to expand. Another idea is to use your ports to trade with other players. They may want to trade four of your port resource into the bank for something else, but you could give them that something for three, allowing both of you to benefit by gaining one of that resource. DO NOT OVERUSE THIS! If you allow your opponents to benefit too much from this trade, then they will be able to obtain the resources they need almost as easily as you can, giving them too much of an advantage. Make sure every trade you make can benefit you equally or more than it will benefit the other player. Once you obtain the resources you need, begin to build roads toward more of your main resource and slowly use your monopoly to decimate the market!

How to Win

Winning with this strategy is all based upon what you select as your main resource. There is a variety of ways you can win with this strategy. Although some tips are listed below based on your choice of primary and secondary resources:

Tip 1: Try to avoid building cities along a port. This will only allow for double of two resources while another location will allow double for three.

Tip 2: Development cards can assist you with resource control. Monopoly is probably the most useful card with this strategy, because it will allow you to collect all of your primary resource and use that to obtain whatever you may need.

Tip 3: Use the +2 victory point cards to assist your victory. If one of them is not taken, try to snatch it up as soon as possible. This will allow you to gather a quick two point and bring you one step closer to winning the game. Also, if two people are fighting over one of them, do not get involved. Let them build 14 piece long roads (don't laugh, I have seen it done) with no settlements. This will cause them to waste many resources to earn only two victory points.

You could win this in a variety of ways. Just make sure to follow the basics!

If you do not like this strategy, or want to try a different one, see the list of strategies.


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