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The Settlers of Catan

Updated on October 9, 2014

The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan is currently one of the top table games on the market today. Get your copy of this popular board game to see why Catan players are raving about this game. It's a great game for groups of family or friends who enjoy a good strategy game.

I prefer a game that requires some strategy and skill as opposed to a game that is pure luck. Games of luck are frustrating to me because I'm very competitive. I prefer a game where I can learn to out-strategize the opponent and earn a victory.

The Settlers of Catan offers that opportunity. Don't expect to master the game the first time you play. It takes a few games before you can fully understand the nuances of the game and choose the best plan of action that gives you the best chance to win.

Keep in mind, though, that there is an element of luck involved. Any time you have a game that involves the roll of a dice, you don't have full control of the outcome. Sometimes the luck of the roll will go against you. Still, the game requires enough strategy to give the winner a feeling of accomplishment with a satisfactory outcome.

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The Settlers of Catan, I'd have to say, is one of my favorite all time table game.

Playing the Settlers of Catan Base Game

The Settlers of Catan is a table game developed in 1995 by Klaus Teuber in Germany. The players are settlers on an island, each trying to gain control by building settlements and cities, using the resources that are available to them. They earn resources by the roll of the dice and are able to trade for specific resources with other players or with the bank. As their settlements begin to grow, they earn "victory points", and when they have accumulated enough, they are pronounced the winner of the game.

Video Overview for The Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan Expansion Games

Cities and Knights, Seafarers, and Traders and Barbarians

Even though the Settlers of Catan base game is a great game on its own, it offers a variety of expansion games to enhance the base module of The Settlers of Catan. Each of these expansion games require that you also use the base set. By adding the expansions, various new challenges and opportunities are added to the game.

Cities and Knights - Development cards are traded in for three different categories of Progress cards, each offering a special and interesting effect to the holder. Barbarians have been added to the game and they are on the prowl to destroy your cities which you attempt to hold off with the addition of walls for fortification and knights for protection. You now have a third dice to roll, called the event dice. This dice either allows you to select a progress card or it moves the barbarians closer to attack.

The Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights is a more complicated and time consuming game and offers more challenge for the hard core gamers. I would not recommend it for those who have not thoroughly learned how to play the original Catan game, or for those who don't have the focus to play a game for 1-2 hours at a time.

Seafarers - This is a true expansion of the original game as it offers additional maps to play on. Now you are able to build boats, discover islands, expand outward over the water, and control the pirate (like the robber, but used on water hexes).

The Settlers of Catan Seafarers expansion adds new wrinkles to the original game without losing the integrity of the base Settlers of Catan set.

Traders and Barbarians - Four variations and five challenging new scenarios will enhance your experience with the Catan base game. Just like having the longest road or largest army in the base game, you now receive points for having the most harbors.

Traders and Barbarians is a good way to mix things up if the original version is getting stale for you. Your old strategies won't work for this game and you will need to adjust to the different scenarios and the challenges that they offer. You will need more skill and strategy for this game and will be able to rely much less on luck.

Buy the Settlers of Catan Expansion Games

The Settlers of Catan 5 or 6 Player Extensions

Many times there are more people in our group who want to play The Settlers of Catan. Since the base game only contains a configuration for 3 to 4 players, we have purchased the extensions that includes additional game parts that expand the game for 5 to 6 players.

The game play is very similar to the base game, but takes longer to play due to the additional players and larger game board structure. If you have a group of experienced players who can keep the game moving along, I highly recommend the extended Catan game. If you are an experienced player playing with new players, you will find the game to be long and tedious. I recommend implementing some house rules that keep the game moving.

One rule of etiquette that we implement to keep the game moving is that whenever the person whose turn it is has offered a trade, every other player should, as a courtesy, verbally decline the trade when they don't want to make that trade. By just remaining silent, it suggests to the trader that someone else may still be willing to make the trade and he will proceed to ask around the table to each other potential trade partner, using much more time than necessary.

Normally, we like to implement the rule that after each players turn, and before the next player rolls the dice, every player has an opportunity to buy. That gives every player a chance to make a play, even when it isn't their turn, and keeps them involved and active.

The Settlers of Catan 5 to 6 Player Extension Video - Video Overview of All Four 5-6 Player Extension Sets

This video describes what you get in The Settlers of Catan 5 to 6 player extension, in addition to the 5 to 6 player extensions for Seafarers, Cities and Knights, and Traders and Barbarians expansion sets.

Keep in mind that this video isn't an objective review of the game. It's an overview created by the manufacturer of The Settlers of Catan Board Games. Review that I have read about these games seem to compare with my own sentiments about them.

  1. The Settlers of Catan - I've described my feelings above. I like the extended version, but recommend rules to speed the game and keep all the players active.
  2. Cities and Knights - The 3-4 player version is long enough. Adding the 5-6 player extension makes the game painfully long. I don't like to play with more than 4 players.
  3. Seafarers - I've described my feelings above. I like the extended version, but recommend rules to speed the game and keep all the players active.
  4. Traders and Barbarians - I've described my feelings above. I like the extended version, but recommend rules to speed the game and keep all the players active.

The Settlers of Catan Rules Variation for Two Players

One of the few things that I don't like about The Settlers of Catan is that it requires 3 to 4 players. Much of the time, my wife and I are alone at home. It's so difficult to find a great game like like this that is good for two players.

I've found some alternate rules that make the game fun for just two players.

The Settlers of Catan Game for Two Players - The Official Two-Player Version

There is an official two-player version of the Settlers of Catan that is put out by the same game makers as the original game. The Rivals for Catan is designed specifically and only for 2 players. It's a satisfactory substitute for the original when there are only 2 players available, though I don't find it quite as exciting as the original game for 3-4 players.

The Rivals for Catan - Review and Instructions

This video provides a good overview of the rules for The Rivals for Catan. After viewing this video, you should have a good understanding of how the game works and be able to start playing the game with very little time scanning the rules book that the game provides.

Song about The Settlers of Catan

I found out that some people are so obsessed with the game, The Settlers of Catan, that they are even singing about it.

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Please share your experience with The Settlers of Catan Game - Have you become as hooked on it as my family is?

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    • donaldwilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Wilson 

      5 years ago from Yakima, WA

      @mirrie: Yes, Carcasonne is another excellent table game. We don't own it, but both of my daughters do, and they both live nearby. We play it frequently when we visit them. We also play a lot of Dominion, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, and Puerto Rico, which are more excellent family games.

    • mirrie profile image


      5 years ago from France

      We got this one and Carcasonne - both brilliant family games - couldn't recommend them enough

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is one game I would really like to try my hand at.

    • chas65 profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm not a big game player, but this one looks challenging and would be a lot of fun.

    • donaldwilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Wilson 

      5 years ago from Yakima, WA

      @Brians Secretary: Complicated? I'd say that it is, to some degree. One of the most complicated? No, not at all. When I first played it, I was not introduced or taught by an experienced game player. I simply purchased it, read the directions, watched a YouTube video and started playing. It takes awhile to learn strategies for winning, but that comes after a few times through the game. I highly recommend watching some of the YouTube descriptions of the game before diving in. They will especially help with understanding the directions as you read through them.

    • Brians Secretary profile image

      Brians Secretary 

      5 years ago

      I have heard it is one of the most complicated and addictive games ever, a great review by the way

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have not played it myself but noticed from the comments on Amazon how passionate players are about this game.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      6 years ago

      This looks like an interesting game.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks interesting.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      7 years ago

      I got this game and actually gave it away. Just not my thing. I like Risk though!

    • LNAngel profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Cool game--never heard of it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i don't know that game, but it looks interesting.


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