Button Mash
1.5k voters

16 Tricks to Help You Defeat the More Experienced Catan Players in Your Life

Updated June 14, 2019 6.5k votes 1.5k voters 126.5k views16 items

List RulesVote up the most effective strategies and tricks for dominating in Settlers of Catan.

When you're sitting on a meager five victory points, holding 10 sheep that you just can't unload, and watching your friend hit longest road for the Settlers of Catan win, you may wonder where you went wrong in life. While you can't go back and change all of your poor life decisions - like that time you drank the expired milk and spent the next two days in the bathroom - you can learn a few tricks to win your next game of Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is an award-winning board game created by German game designer Klaus Teuber which involves using resources to build settlements and cities on an island. Naturally, you want your society to be way better than the other ones, and therein lies the competition. You acquire victory points by building roads, armies, towns, and cities, and generally doing things that make a society look cool to its neighbors. All the while, you'll trade resources with said neighbors for mutual benefit.

This list includes some Settlers of Catan strategies that will take your gameplay to the next level. The game has a few specific mechanics that you can take advantage of to gain an edge on the competition. Keep reading below and learn how to win at Settlers of Catan every time. And remember to lord victories over your friends and family like the good sport that you are.

  • 5

    Use the Robber as a Weapon

    Photo: Christopher Myers

    Nothing shuts down an economy like a well placed robber. Listen to your friends curse your name in lamentation as you foil their best laid plans with one swift stroke. The primary targets of the robber should be the player with the most victory points, the highest yielding (enemy) resource, and/or an enemy resource that you are bountiful in. While sometimes it can pay to target a player because you think they are holding a resource card you need, this technique is risky and should be used very sparingly.

    The ultimate goal is to make yourself the only business in town. If you are collecting a lot of bricks, for example, it can behoove you to shut down a rival's source of bricks. That makes it so everyone has to trade with you if they want to get their brick fix. Keep in mind, though, that low-yielding resource spaces are less valuable to rob (but sometimes still worth it), and that cities are better to rob than settlements.

    Is this a good tip?
  • 6

    Box People Out

    Photo: Christopher Myers

    Cutting off your friends from expanding to a new settlement and then watching them cry in despair is one of the most important aspects of Settlers of Catan. There are several techniques to achieve this end. First, you can use roads to wall in your opponents. Second, you can maximize the effectiveness of the "two spaces away" settlement placement rule.

    Instead of simply placing your own settlements two spaces from each other, you can take up more space by putting them three away while still preventing your opponent from placing a settlement in between your two. Be mindful when you do this, however, so it doesn't backfire and prevent you from building a settlement in a desired location.

    Is this a good tip?
  • 7

    Last to Place? Get a Port

    Photo: Christopher Myers

    The last person to place their first settlement is in a great position to grab a 2:1 port, because they will know exactly where their second settlement will go. Remember to place the port first (so you can pick up three resources for your settlement), followed by a settlement that takes advantage of the 2:1 ratio. When taking this strategy, it's okay to break apart your settlements to different parts of the board, but make sure that you leave yourself room to expand. Also, keep in mind that you will be forgoing longest road if you take this route.

    Is this a good tip?
  • 8

    Don't Hoard

    Photo: Christopher Myers

    Try to never have more than six cards in your hand at the end of your turn, because chances are you will get over seven by the time it gets back around to you. Losing half your cards on a seven roll is never a fun time, and it's better to invest those resources in hard assets while you still can. If you have a lot of one type of resource that you don't currently need, it can be worth it to trade with the bank just to get the number of cards in your hand down. Chances are you have a ready supply of said resource anyway.

    Is this a good tip?