Top Catan Strategy & Tips

The Best Settlers Of Catan Strategy Guide

Settlers of Catan is a classic German-style board game that has been entertaining players since its release in 1995. There are many Catan strategy and tips that a player can leverage, let's dive in!

Unlike any other game on the market, this board-game involves strategic thinking and calculating odds. Moreover, it's all about building settlements, roads, cities, and armies on the mythical island of Catan.

As a settlor in medieval times, you can be victorious by being the first to build their empire to 10 points. Correspondingly, this desired result can be achieved by building settlements, cities and purchasing development cards.

Simultaneously, the above actions can be done by earning resources on the board, leveraging development cards and trading resources with other players.

With a bit of luck and the right strategies, you can become the master of Catan in your circle of family and friends. Here are some of the top Catan strategies and gameplay tips to help you get started.

Written and shared by a former Canadian National Championship Finalist.

Catan Strategy: Top 7 Tips For Beginners

Beginning Of The Game Catan Tips

1. Dont Forget the Basics: Before you dive into more advanced strategies, its important to learn the basics of Catan. Make sure you understand the rules of the game and the objective of Catan. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the different pieces and how they work together.

2. Plan Ahead: Successful Catan players plan ahead. Think several moves ahead and consider how your current move will affect future moves. This will help you anticipate your opponents and make better decisions.

3. Know Your Opponents: Its important to pay attention to your opponents moves. Try to figure out their strategies and anticipate their moves. Evidently, If you know what they are likely to do, you can adjust your own strategy accordingly.

During Catan Gameplay Tactics

4. Build Roads First: Building roads is an important part of Catan and can give you an edge over your opponents. Try to build roads as early as possible to expand your territories and to make it harder for your opponents to get to your settlements.

5. Trade Resources: Trading resources is a key part of the game. Try to swap resources when it is beneficial to both you and your opponent. However, if your opponents refuse a trade, try to find another way to get what you need.

6. Use the Robber Wisely: The robber is a powerful tool in Catan. Move the robber to block your opponents resources or to steal resources from them. Be careful not to use the robber too often, as it can backfire and hurt your own resources.

7. Leverage Development Cards: Development cards can give you an advantage in the game. Use them to build roads, settlements, and cities, as well as to gain victory points. However, be careful not to use them too early, as they can be easily stolen by your opponents.

These are just a few of the top Catan strategies and gameplay tips. Surely, with a bit of practice and the right strategies, you can become the master of Catan.

In-Depth Catan Strategies: Psychological & Math Calculations

Initial Placement Tips

- Firstly, start by analyzing your future resource production. Secondly, focus on establishing trade routes and possible ports to settle on. Keep in mind where the other players might settle on. Basically, it's always good practice to visualize where your opponents are most likely to place their initial settlements.

- Generally, when placing your initial settlements and even during the game, look for opportunities to block other players from expanding their settlements.

- Early in the game, wood and brick are more important and decreasingly become less important as the game goes on. Keep this mind when strategizing your placements, roads and settlements. Watch Katan King's gameplay playlist of wood and brick strategies below.

Wood & Brick Catan Strategy Playlist

Resource Production Tips

- Utilize the robber to disrupt your opponents’ resource production. Essentially, you want to block a hex with a high number of pips (a.k.a. good odds of being rolled) and ideally with more than one opponent settled on that specific number. Also, try and steal from the leader in points or the player with the better chance of winning the game.

- Meanwhile, continue building settlements on different hexes to gain access to more resources.

- Furthermore, the sooner you build cities, the more of an advantage you will have over other players by collecting double the resources when your hex number is rolled.

Development Card Tips

- Do not disregard development cards as an important tool for players to boost their points. In a perfect world, at the beginning of the game you buy development cards that will help you protect your assets (Knight cards), or help you build faster (2 resource production cards, monopoly cards, 2 road building cards).

- At the end of the game, ideally you buy development cards that are victory points. However, you never know which development card you will receive when purchased with your resource production cards. They are shuffled prior to the start of the game and picked randomly when purchased by any player.

- Utilize a combination of offensive and defensive strategies to gain an edge. Occasionally, it's better to be aggressive in your Catan strategy and other times, it's best to lay-low and surprise your opponents with a come from behind victory.

- Lastly, it's always a good idea to have a knight card or two in your back pocket to protect your assets if and when your opponents put the robber on a hex that you've settled on. Watch Katan King's gameplay playlist of development card strategies below.

Development Card Catan Strategy Playlist

Psychological Catan Strategies & Tips

- Look for chances to outmaneuver opponents and capture resources. Because of the many variables that come into play when strategizing for Catan, there will be an infinite amount of ways you can outsmart the other players.

Don't underestimate the power of trading and negotiation.

- Take calculated risks to gain the upper hand in trades and resources. Calculating the scarcity and odds of your resources being rolled and your opponents' resource production will give you a significant advantage when negotiating trades.

Don't be afraid to ask for 2 cards in return for 1 when a player is trading.

- Strategize to build settlements in advantageous locations. Take into consideration the scarcity of the resources on the board, as well as the numbers on the hexes. Evaluating the location of ports is also important for your placement strategy.

Afterwards, keep in mind where your opponents might want to build as well. Avoid wasting any roads or settlements that do no align with the most optimal Catan strategy.

End Of Game Catan Tips

- Aim to score the longest road and largest army bonuses, but be careful not to earn them to early in the game since it will make you a target for your opponents to block/rob you.

- There's a constant target on the leader at any point in the game. Therefore, you need to determine when is the best time to take the lead and when is the best time to let others lead.

- Finally, a veteran player would end the game with 10 victory points by claiming either the longest road or largest army or both at the same time on their last turn.

This means a player would have 8 points and finish the game by claiming the longest road or largest army on his next turn. Subsequently, the result would give them 10 points for the victory.

However, it's not necessary to end the game this way. You can claim the longest road and/or largest army at any point during the game.

Largest Army Strategies

Firstly, a common strategy is to focus on building a strong army early-on in the game. Leverage your knight cards to take over other players settlements and steal their hard-earned resources. 

Evidently, a player might choose a Largest Army strategy to be victorious in Catan because it allows you to protect your settlements from the robber.

Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to impede any player's speedy quest to victory. While also giving you the opportunity to steal a resource card from any opponent.

How To Earn The Largest Army

The Largest Army strategy involves purchasing and playing 3 knight development cards to gain two victory points. Therefore, once a player has played 3 knight cards on the table, they claim the largest army. Although, for another player to claim the largest army, it will need to play 4 knight cards, so on and so forth.

Essentially, the player can use the Largest Army card to gain two victory points every time they have more knights than any other player. This strategy is particularly effective in a game with a high number of wheat, ore and sheep resources and a limited number of wood and brick.

Similarly, this strategy also works great if you are the player collecting most of the wheat, ore and sheep resources if they are scarce on the board. Meaning, if they have bad numbers on the hexes.

Largest Army Catan Strategy Playlist

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