If you need to learn new Catan Strategies to up your Catan game and ensure you are more likely to win Catan, then here are 7 ways you can re-think your Catan game.
Catan, first published in 1995, was a new type of board game. It created something new in the market. Catan is a board game set up to encourage resource gathering and different board variations; where players interact with each other to trade resources, but with a focus on winning with Catan strategies rather than eliminating your opponents.
A major part of Catan’s success is due to the way it was designed by Klaus Teuber. While Catan is a game that is (fairly) easy to teach and learn, the different Catan strategies you can employ to try and win make the game challenging for serious players.
There are games when resources are freely available and points are racked up with eased, and then there are games when it seems like there is nothing available, and nothing to trade.
Whilst always remembering that Catan can be a game of luck to some extent, here are 6 Catan strategies that should help you find your ‘A’ game with Catan.
Play the Odds
Catan is a strategy game but it is also still a dice game. When choosing where to place your settlements at the beginning of the game and consequently how to begin your game of Catan, give careful consideration to the numbers that are likely to be rolled. Be smart, look at placing your first two setllements around numbers that are statistically the most likely to appear.
As you’ll be aware if you’ve played Catan, each hexagonal tile gets a round tab placed on top of them. Each tab shows the number that needs to be rolled for an adjacent settlement to be given a resource. Below each number are a series of dots. These dots indicate how likely that number is to appear on any roll of the two dice. The more dots, the more likely that number is to be rolled — meaning the more likely those resources will be handed out.
Two and twelve get a single dot because they each take a very specific roll (each dice showing a one; or each dice showing a six). After the number seven; six and eight are the numbers most likely to be rolled.
When deciding where to place your first two settlements, pay more attention to the numbers needed to achieve the resource than on the type of resource. The type of resource is less important as resources can be traded with the bank at 4:1 or at Ports for 3:1.
Longest Road with Additional Resources
One of the most obvious Catan strategies is to build more roads and place more Settlements as this often seems to be the easiest way to gain more resources. When you play the odds (like above) you can gain those cards either through dice rolls or through trading with other players. If you focus on obtaining wood and brick this will mean you can build more roads and subsequently more settlements. If you build five continuous road pieces then you can claim the Longest Road tile and the two Victory Points that come with it. Another player has to then have six to take it from you.
You can’t rest on your laurels when you get the longest road card as you need to keep an eye on other peoples road length as they can easily take it off you without you noticing.
A long road also allows you to build more Settlements.
As well as bringing with them more points, more settlements, also means you have the ability to get more resources from the tiles adjacent to your Settlements.
More settlements also has the added benefit of depriving a spot that other players can build their Settlements on, as any settlement has to be at least two roads away from yours.
When you decide where to build a settlement you can either choose to build this on your longest road; or you can try and build up a strong area of your own, and you can try and isolate your opponents to a small area of the board, when you can see that their chances of winning decrease considerably.
You’ll need to combine Port Strategy with Settlement Strategy above but if you know you are going to dominate the collection of wool for example then you really want to be able to build a further settlement on the wool port meaning you can trade wool 3:1 at the port, rather than 4:1 with the bank.
I’ve won many a game of Catan ensuring that the wool is traded at 3:1 rather than 4:1 and makes trading with other people less essential.
Focus on Development Cards
When I started playing Catan, I didn’t really understand Development Cards. I didn’t focus on them. It was my eleven year old daughter who introduced me to the strategy of collecting Development Cards and gaining victory points that way.
A sheep, a wheat, and a rock gets you the top card from the deck of Development Cards.
You take the development card, and put it down in front of you ready to use when you can.
Types of Development Cards in Catan
There are 25 Development Cards in Catan. 14 Knight Cards, 6 Progress cards and 5 Victory Point cards.
As there are 14 Knight cards you are more likely to get a Knight Development Card than anything else.
A Knight development card means that you can move the Robber off your tiles or just move it to a place where it will stop your opponents getting resources.
3 Knight development cards will also get you the Largest Army card worth 2 Victory points. If you can hold onto this card, and combine it with other strategies then you have a great chance of winning Catan.
If you don’t pick up a Knight, then you will either choose a Progress card or a Victory Point card.
Victory point cards are worth 1 Victory Point.
Progress cards give you instructions such as – Play this card and everyone needs to give you all their resources of a specific type. They can be very rewarding.
Monopolize the Board
One of the great Catan strategies is to monopolize the board. When the board has been set up and randomized, take care to check where the resources are. Can you place your settlements in such a way that no other players can obtain wool for example, or brick?
Can you find placing where two of the resources are next to each other. When you do this, don’t forget to play the odds (see above) there may be no point in following this Catan strategy if the liklehood of rolling those numbers is really low.
If you do follow this Catan strategy, then you’ll be the only one with that resource so don’t trade it away!
Also see Port Strategy above!
Trading Strategy in Catan
Trading is a huge part of Catan Strategy. Early on people trade freely, laughing, chatting, enjoying the game. However the closer to the end you come, the less people want to trade. The Catan trading strategy becomes not trading at all. Cards are kept close to peoples chest and there is a refusal to trade.
When people trade towards the end you know and they know its because they might just need the last victory point that will mean they can win the game.
When you trade in Catan, try and work out how much you/they need the resource. you can trade with the bank 4:1 or at a port 3:1.
Friendly trading is often 1:1 but if your strategy is not to trade at all, or only trade for larger odds, then you could require 2:1 or 3:1. Just rememember that you only get back what you give so be careful how you operate this strategy and who you say no trading to, you might want to trade with them later.
Using Multiple Catan Strategies together
The best players use multiple Catan strategies at the same time and are adaptable. They build cleverly located settlements and cities on the best locations, near useful ports and trade cleverly and effectively. They keep an eye on how to gain those extra development cards and usually end up with the longest road and the biggest army card too!
The most important thing to remember when playing Catan is to have fun. It is a game after all!
Catan Rules is an unofficial fan-site. This website is in no way affiliated with the Catan game.