Catan strategy, rules, resources, tips, and tricks

Jason Breton

Are you looking for a taste of the best board game challenge? Catan offers the finest Euro-game style board experience. Previously referred to as the Settlers of Catan, the game is a beautiful strategy masterpiece.

The objectives of this game are tough to achieve outrightly. This is because each player will have their unique route to meeting the targets. Here are some tips, tricks, and strategies to apply in the Catan universe.

Catan set up and rules

The first step in this game is to set up the board. Keep in mind the main aim is to expand your territory until it becomes the largest on the board. Six different terrain settlements produce different resources.

Resources are cards received after each dice roll. These will help you earn income or can be traded for other items. The five types of resources are grains, bricks, ore, lumber, and wool.

The basic rule is that each player starts the game with 2 settlements and 2 roads. The first player to reach ten settlements on their turn wins the game.

Another Important rule of Catan is that dice rolls determine which terrain will produce what resources. All the detailed base rules on how to play Catan are available here.

Catan strategies

Catan strategies will differ depending on the player’s experience. The best Catan strategy for beginners is in the initial board setup.

Start with the basic board piecing by arranging the dye-cut parts according to the basic game setup guide. For experienced players, assess the set-up area to easily spot prime locations to earn resources and get a game plan. Here are a few helpful playing styles and strategies:

1. The developer strategy

The focus of this style is primarily on development cards. Collect and utilize the development cards and only build other things when the resources call for it.

A developer often ends up with the largest army cards as well as the majority of the victory point cards. You will also need to build a couple of settlements as you become a soft target for robbers.

2. The producer

A producer’s goal is to collect more resources than any other player. The weight of their production volume is then used to overwhelm the competitors. As a producer aims to get a good port, be rest assured you will need it.

catan board game
Image: Unsplash/Galen Crout

Tips and tricks

The main tip of Catan online is to always prioritize resources that are important in most competitive strategies.

When building area, consider placing roads towards the outward side of your board. This will help in linking up the next settlement area to be developed. Below are other important tips and tricks.

1. Acquire each resource

The best way to be prepared for any move is to have one of all the five resources available. Within your first turn aim to collect three of the five resources.

Your last placement should feature the remaining two. This means any dice role would have equal results on the resource selected.

2. Always Assess each move

You will always have an upper hand when your turn comes first. This presents you with options on your role.

However, one advanced Catan strategy is to quickly utilize poor options left. For instance, when left with unpopular locations like coastlines quickly lookout for a port. Your resource gathering tiles should complement the port.

3. Visualize your expansion

The bottom line of Catan is to have the largest territory. It is therefore key that you always act with the expansion plan in mind.

Expansion plans can help you make up your mind on what paths to pursue. You will be able to give up resources that don’t add up to your bigger goal.

Finally, it is important to understand how to utilize all your available cards. For instance, robbers only target players in the strongest position to level the ground. The above strategies can be used by any player despite their experience.

When applying any of the above tips and tricks, always be reactionary to what your opponent does. Good players will always try to predict your moves and work to counter them.

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