Settlers of Catan

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Game Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer board game invented by Klaus Teuber, first published in Germany by Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. (Kosmos) under the name Die Siedler von Catan.

Settlers is perhaps the first German-style board game to reach any degree of popularity outside of Europe. It has been translated into Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish from the original German. Teuber's original design for the game encompassed both the standard set and its first expansion, which combine to form New Shores. The standard game and its 4 expansions are available from Mayfair Games in the United States, from Capcom in Japan, and Kosmos in the European Union.



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Settlers of Catan

Main articles: Rules and Strategy

The players in the game represent the eponymous Settlers, establishing a colony on the previously uninhabited Island of Catan. The island itself is laid out randomly at the beginning of each game from terrain hexes depicting mountains, plains, woods, etc. The settlements founded by the players provide their owners with natural resources dependent on the adjacent terrain, and dependent on die rolls each turn. These natural resources are used for activities such as building roads, upgrading settlements to cities, and purchasing development cards which represent a variety of advances toward civilization. The winner is the first player to accumulate ten victory points via these activities.

Players are allowed to trade among each other the resources they have produced, and to trade "off the island" for a hefty price. It is difficult for any one player to produce all the resources necessary for progress, so astute trading is the strategic heart of the game. Player interaction is further complicated by the presence of a robber, which is used to steal from other players and hinder their production of resources. There is no combat. Apart from the robber and refusal to trade there is no way to harm other players.

Settlers of Catan has rapidly become popular in part because its mechanics are relatively simple, while its dynamics are quite complex. At a recreational level, the game is well-suited for family play. No one gets eliminated, and players who are behind can strive towards quantized goals that are within reach, such as building a city in a certain space. Home games seldom take as long as two hours to finish.

The game is also well-suited for tournament play. Luck plays a significant role, but players with a deeper understanding of the dynamics and strategies usually defeat weaker players in spite of the vagaries of chance. When played competitively, Settlers showcases the heights of adaptive analysis, which the human mind does best. Correct strategy is not absolute, but depends heavily on what the other players are doing. To play well, one must consider the nested ramifications of each decision one makes.

The Catan series

Main Articles: Seafarers expansion, Cities and Knights expansion and Variants

Settlers of Catan became a hit in both German and English language versions. Accordingly, the manufacturers have released a wide variety of followup products. Some of these require the base game to play, others are separate standalone games:

Expansions to the basic Settlers of Catan game include:

  • Seafarers of Catan, which replaces one large island with several separated by sea
  • Cities and Knights of Catan, in which players must defend Catan from barbarians and build a variety of city expansions using new commodities
  • Separate expansions to allow 5 or 6 players to play each of the basic game, Seafarers, and Cities and Knights
  • Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien I: Cheops & Alexander der Groe (or The Settlers of Catan: Historical Scenarios I: Cheops & Alexander the Great); two historical games that use pieces from the basic Catan game and some new rules to play two scenarios in the Middle East.
  • Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien II: Troja & Die Groe Mauer (or The Settlers of Catan: Historical Scenarios II: Troy & The Great Wall); two historical games like above in the regions of Turkey and China

Related games from the same publisher include:

  • The Communication in Catan, a promotional version of the original Settlers game produced for the French telecommunication company Alcatel
  • Settlers of Catan, The Card Game (1996), a two-player game using themes from Settlers but with very different gameplay
  • Five expansions to the Card Game, sold individually in German but in one pack in English
  • Die Siedler von Nürnberg (1999), a Catan game set at the foundation of the city of Nuremberg
  • Starfarers of Catan (2001), an adaptation of the Settlers concept to space travel and colonising planets
  • Starfarers of Catan, 5–6 player expansion
  • Starship Catan (2001), a two-player card game based on Starfarers of Catan
  • Settlers of the Stone Age (2002), set on a stylised map of Earth in the Stone Age
  • The Kids of Catan (2003), an exquisitely produced, very simple game for small children, with a clever turntable that allows all players to take a turn at once.
  • Candamir: The first Settlers (2004), set around a prehistoric settlement. Players take on the roles of individual settlers moving around the game board fighting animals and gathering herbs, with individual characterisitics determining the chance of success.

Similar games from different publishers include:

Settlers of Catan has even been made into a novel by Rebecca Gabl (, ISBN 3-431-03019-X




External links

Settlers of Catan jungle & volcano tiles

Publishers of Settlers of Catan:

Online implementations - a few online versions have been made available, under the condition that players already own physical copies of the game:

As well there is an officially licensed version of the game developed by MSN games for online play.

  • Catan Online ( - Home page of the Catan Online project.

Comments and reviews ( can be found at BoardGameGeekda:Settlers de:Die Siedler von Catan es:Los descubridores de Catn eo:Siedler von Catan fr:Les Colons de Catane ko:카탄 nl:Kolonisten van Catan ja:カタンの開拓者たち pt:Descobridores de Catan fi:Settlers of Catan zh:卡坦岛


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