The Settlers of Catan - A Game of Discovery, Setlement and Trade

The Settlers of Catan

A Game of Discovery, Settlement and Trade

German Edition - Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co
US Edition - Mayfair Games - 1997
3 - 4 Players; Ages 12 - Adult


In The Settlers of Catan the players represent the leader of a group which is attempting to settle the island of Catan. The island is constructed randomly each game. Nineteen tiles are placed on the table, each representing a different type of terrain. Harbors are placed around the island which is finally surrounded with water. Numbered tokens are placed on each of the land tiles. Each player then places two settlements on the board and two road sections attached to the settlements. Settlements are placed on the intersections of tiles and the roads are placed along the border between tiles.

For each turn, the player first rolls two dice. Each tile containing a token with the same number as the total on the dice "produces" resources. Each settlement adjacent to that tile gets one resource of the appropriate type. There are six different types of terrain; forest (which produces lumber), pasture (wool), fields (grain), hills (bricks), mountains (ore) and desert (which produces nothing). Players collect "Resource Cards" for the resources that are produced.

Resources are used for production. For example, a new settlement can be built with brick, lumber, wool and grain resources. The players can also buy "Development Cards" for ore, wood and grain. Development cards may allow the player to raise armies, gain a monopoly in some resource type or build special structures like markets or universities.

To get the resources they need players may trade resources with each other. For example, they may trade a lumber and an ore for a brick. Players may come up with any trade as long as it is agreeable to both players.

Finally, there is a "Robber" which wanders the board. The robber starts in the Desert but moves from tile to tile under certain conditions. Any tile occupied by the robber produces no resources and the robber can steal resources from adjacent settlements.

The object of the game is to gain "Victory Points". Settlements are worth one victory point, Cities are worth two. Players also get victory points for building special buildings, for having the longest road or having the largest army. The first player to gain 10 victory points is the winner.


The Settlers of Catan is a true classic. The randomized setup and random production of resources insure that every game is different. The victory condition is fixed but there are various methods of getting there; build lots of cities or try for the special buildings and large army. There is a good deal of player interaction with the trade rules but the players never really "attack" each other (except through the actions of the robber). The game is more concerned with cooperation and development instead of attacking and defeating other players. The rules are quite simple and easy to learn but the game is complex enough to remain challenging.

The components of the game are of uniformly high quality. The tiles are heavy stock, the cards are high quality and the settlement, city and road markers are wood.

Settlers /I> was named German Game of the Year for 1995 and US Board Game of the Year for 1996. It deserves both awards. This is a recent game, one that is still available and one that should be in every gamer's library. An excellent game.

3 comments on The Settlers of Catan:

Pat T. at September 17, 2013 23:00 said:
What edition is this the white box in the first photograph?
And what edition are the tiles, etc., in the other pics?
Tucker at February 9, 2009 15:24 said:
Hey Denise,
The letters on top of each number chip can be used to arrange the board alphabetically. Many beginners do this form of the board instead of the random version because it gives the game a more simplistic and familiar pattern. Try it out! It's fun for awhile but after that the random way is always the best.
Denise at January 28, 2009 09:11 said:
This game is great.We play it as often as we can.
Can anyone tell me what the letters on the number chips are used for?
Can't seem to find the answer.

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