Players try to dominate the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads: competitive. Catan’s not luvvy-land 😊

The game’s setup includes randomly placing tiles to create the island and its sea-ports: these tiles also show resources. Each tile has a different number placed onto on it. The five terrains that create resources, plus a desert, are thus randomly dispersed across the island: every game it’s different. Settlers begin with two settlements and roads, which they place as their starting point for future development. A (nasty) robber is placed on the desert tile.

On each player’s turn, the numbers thrown on two dice determine which numbered terrain-tiles will be productive, and which resources will be produced on that turn: wool, grain, lumber, ore, or bricks. Settlers can see what the odds of the two dice coming up with each number are – so players may try to be close to tiles showing the best-odds numbers.

Using the resources they gather, players may trade with others, and then get down to doing their building: if they’ve the resources to do so.

Points accumulate by building settlements and cities, by having the longest road and the largest army, and by gathering certain cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 victory points, they claim the game.

Though the game is turn-based, it’s hard to take your eyes off the deeds of others during their turn (and perhaps even harder to stop yourself from swearing). The occasional movement of the nasty robber introduces a little combativeness.

And – many think that Catan is infinitely better as a dice rolling game than Monopoly .. 😃

Expansions bring variety, new challenges, and more players.

  • takes a few turns to get used to what may happen,
    since there’s quite a bit of choice for actions & decisions
  • the guide makes it all pretty clear
  • setting up takes a few minutes, but can be done with fun
  • skill develops with play, and so does strategic thinking
  • luck is involved, but tactics matter a lot
  • mildly combative with efforts at area control
  • game-devoted website

I’d like to settle