The Settlers of Catan

Hello. Welcome to The Settlers of Catan. You didn't buy this game for reading material, so I'm going to try to make this quick. You don't have to read this whole rule book before you play. This little introductory section will give you enough info to get you started, and then you can come back and read all the picky little details once you've got the basic idea.

The first thing to do is set some things up. Normally, you'd make a different board for each time you play, but for your first few games, just flip this rule book to its backside. There you'll see a lovely diagram. Your goal is to recreate this diagram in the comfort and safety of your own home. Make sure to put the blue hexes with lines and numbers (these are port hexes) in the correct places AND facing the correct way. You will be graded.

After a few moments of respectfully admiring your beautiful Settlers board, everybody rolls the dice. Whoever rolls highest will get to go first and gets first pick of colors. Everybody should take one color of little wooden pieces and claim them as their own. When it's not your turn, you can arrange them into neat little geometric patterns and try to balance the houses on the roads.

What do we do with beautiful, pristine, undeveloped land? Build things on it, of course! There are two ways to start this, and one is easier than the other, but I'll tell you both ways anyway. The easy way is to just duplicate the arrangement of little wooden houses (AKA settlements) and little wooden roads that you see on the back of the rule book. Then pick one of the settlements of your color and take a resource card for each hex around it. If you're playing with 3 players, you'll have to remove one color. Pages 5-6 in the rules tells you which hexes produce which resources. Once you've done that, you can skip the next few paragraphs (up to the "OK" on the next page), and start playing. But that's the easy way out and it gets repetitive if you try it too many times (especially since red always wins), so I'd recommend the more detailed startup rules.

The first player takes one of his little wooden houses and one of his little wooden roads and places them on the board. Houses go on the intersection of three hexes; roads go on the edge between two hexes. See the back of the rule book if this isn't clear. Make sure your road is right next to your settlement (it's a rule). There's all sorts of complex strategy to consider here, but ignore that for now. Just toss them anywhere you want.

Go around clockwise and let each player place a settlement and a road. The only new rule to worry about is all settlements must be at least two intersections away from any other settlement. Other than that, just have fun.

Once all players have placed one settlement and one road, the player who went last gets to place another settlement and another road. Yep, that player gets two in a row. Then go back around counter-clockwise until all players have two settlements and two roads on the board. And as an added bonus, when you place your second settlement, you get free stuff. Free stuff means one resource card from each hex which that settlement touches.

OK, now you're ready to start playing. When it's your turn, roll the dice. Find all the hexes which have that number on them. Everybody gets one resource card for each settlement they have that touches that hex. After you roll the dice, you can trade resource cards with any other player. You can also trade in 4 of any one resource to the bank for 1 of the resource of your choice. And what do you do with all these lovely resource cards? Buy things. The exchange rates are shown on the handy Building Cost cards. Pull one out and look at it.

ROADS: You've already seen how to place them. Just give a wood card and a brick card to the bank and it's yours. Small rule: any new roads you build must connect to something you've already built.
SETTLEMENTS: You've seen these, too. Like roads, any new settlements you build must touch a road you already have.
CITIES: Settlements not good enough for you? Then get ready for the big time. When you build a city, remove a settlement you already have and replace it with one of the big wooden houses. From now on, whenever any of the hexes that it touches are rolled, you get 2 resource cards instead of 1.
CARDS: If you like randomness, development cards are for you. They do all sorts of stuff; the text on the card should give you the basic idea. More detail is available on pages 8-9 of the long rules.

If you roll a "7" at the start of your turn, nothing produces, anyone with more than 7 cards must discard half of their cards (round down), and the robber moves to a new hex. The robber halts production on that hex until he is moved again and allows the player who moved him to steal a random resource card from one player who has a settlement or city touching that hex.

If you build on a port hex (remember those? no? They're the water hexes with numbers and lines), you can make special trades. If it says "3:1," you can trade 3 of the same resource for 1 of any resource. If it says "2:1," you can trade 2 of the resource printed on the hex for 1 of any resource.

That's basically how you play the game. The only important thing I haven't mentioned is how to win. To win, you must have 10 Victory Points (VPs)at the end of your turn. Settlements are each worth 1 VP, cities are each worth 2 VPs, some Development cards give you extra VPs, and having the longest contiguous road of at least 5 roads or the largest army of at least 3 Knights (which are one kind of Development card) is worth 2 VPs. That's all you need to know for now.

Once you're familiar with this stuff, I strongly recommend you read the long rules. They have all sorts of useful information: random setup rules for when you get bored of the board on the back of the rule book, advanced strategy so you can always win, and all those nit-picky rules that will help you avoid getting into fist fights over whether or not Art can play his Knight card before he rolls the dice (he can). Thanks for playing. Have fun.


In Settlers of Catan, each player represents a group of settlers who have landed on the remote island of Catan. The goal of the game is to become the dominant group on the island by acquiring Victory Points. Victory Points are earned by building settlements and cities, by having the longest road or the largest army, or by purchasing certain cards.

Building requires resources. Each settlement or city receives resources based on the nearby terrain. Forests produce wood, mountains produce ore, hills produce bricks, plains produce grain, and pastures produce sheep. Players can use these resources to build settlements, roads, and cities. Resources can also be exchanged for development cards that contain knights or other advantages.

The game is played in turns. Going clockwise, each player starts their turn by rolling two dice. The number rolled determines which terrain produces resources. All players who have settlements or cities adjacent to those areas gain the corresponding resources. After rolling, a player can trade resources with other players or with the bank, and can buy settlements, roads, cities or cards from the bank with these resources. The winner is the first player to have 10 Victory Points on their turn.


1. Lay hexes
2. Lay numbers
3. Distribute stuff
4. Roll for first
5. Place starting cities

Lay Hexes

The hexes are used to create the game board. First, separate the land hexes from the water hexes. Take the land hexes and shuffle them (face down). Once they have been thoroughly mixed up, arrange them into a hexagon. Any method that keeps the placement random will work, but the method shown in Figure 1 is recommended: start by laying five hexes in a straight line. Then add four hexes on the right of the five, four on the left, three on the right and finally three on the left.

Now take all the water hexes and separate them into port hexes (with lines, numbers and symbols on them) and plain water hexes. Shuffle the port hexes face down and place them around the edge of the island. Starting with the far edge of one of the corners of the board (preferrably the closest one), place a port hex in every other available spot (Fig. 2). Rotate the hexes so they face toward the center of the board (Fig. 3). The sets of ports that touch two land hexes (i.e., 2&3, 5&6, 8&9) should be parallel to each other, each facing a row of 4 land hexes. Once all the port hexes have been placed, fill in the remaining spots with plain water hexes, as in Figure 3.

Lay Numbers

The number counters have a letter on one side and a number on the other. The size of the number correlates to the probability of rolling that number on 2 6-sided dice (see Probabilities). This number is used to determine when the hex produces resources.

Flip all the counters over so only the letters are visible. Start by placing the "A" counter on a corner hex (preferrably the closest one). Place the rest in alphabetical order on all land hexes skipping over the desert hex (Fig. 4), progressing counter-clockwise around the entire outer circle. Once the outer circle is complete, continue counter-clockwise into the middle circle, starting with the hex just inside of the first hex (marked "A"). Finally, place the last letter on the middle hex (unless it is the desert). The completed arrangement is shown in Figure 4. Once all the letters have been placed, flip them all over so the numbers are visible.

Distribute stuff

Each player selects a color and takes the 5 settlements, 4 cities and 15 roads of that color. Each player also receives a Building Cost card, which shows the cost of all the items that can be built or purchased.

Sort the resource cards into five piles and set them aside, face up.

Shuffle the development cards and set them aside face down.

Roll for first

Each player rolls two dice. The player who rolls the highest number goes first. If two players tie for the highest number, they re-roll.

Place starting settlements

Each player starts the game with two settlements and two roads. Each player places one settlement and one road at a time, starting with the player who rolled highest.

How to place settlements:

Settlements are placed on the intersection of three hexes (see capital letters in the diagram on the next page). Settlements can be placed on any intersection that includes a land hex, including intersections that touch water hexes. All settlements must be placed at least two intersections away from any other settlement.

Each settlement touches three different hexes. These hexes determine the resources that the settlement can produce. The number on each hex is the number that must be rolled for that hex to produce its resource.

How to place roads:

Roads are placed on the edge between two hexes (see lower case letters in diagram on the next page). One of these hexes must be a land hex. Each road connects two corners. When a player places a road during setup, it must connect to the settlement that he places with it.


This example shows the first round of setup building in a three player game. Arne places settlement A and road a. Since settlement A touches a pasture, a hill, and a mountain, it can produce sheep, bricks, or ore depending on which number is rolled. Amy places settlement B and road b. Since settlement B touches a port hex, she will be able to make special trades, as explained below. Since her settlement only touches two land hexes, this settlement can only produce two different resources. Chuck tries to place settlement X. Since this is only one corner away from settlement A, this is an illegal play. He reconsiders and places Settlement C and road c.

Continue clockwise until the last player places a first settlement and road. That player then places a second settlement and road, and placing continues counter-clockwise from that player.

When a player places his second settlement, he receives one resource from each hex touching that settlement. These (up to three) resources are that player's starting resource hand. Once all players have placed two settlements and two roads, regular turns begin. The player who rolled the highest goes first, and play continues clockwise.

Example (continued):

Since Chuck placed the last settlement in the first round of building, he places the first settlement in the second round. He places settlement D and road d. Since settlement D touches a forest, plain and pasture, he collects a wood, a grain, and a sheep as his starting resources. Amy places settlement E and collects two grain and one brick. She tries to place a road on edge X, but realizes that this does not touch the settlement she is playing, so she plays road e instead. Arne places settlement F and road f and collects his resources. He will now take his first turn, and play will continue with Amy.


There are eight types of hex: plain, pasture, hill, mountain, forest, desert, port, and water. Five of the six land hexes produce specific resources:


During a player's turn, he rolls the dice to determine which hexes produce resources, then he can trade resources with other players and build settlements, roads. or cities. A player can trade and buy in any order, even going back and forth from one to the other and can trade and buy as many times as he wants during one turn. If a player has 10 Victory Points at any time during his turn, he wins.


A player begins his turn by rolling two dice and adding them together. The number he rolls indicates which hexes produce resources. All hexes whose number equals the roll produce their resource. All players (even if it's not their turn) gain one resource card for each settlement touching any of those hexes and two resources for each city that touches the hex. If there aren't enough cards of one resource to give every player all that they deserve, no players receive any of that resource this turn. If a player rolls a "7," no hexes produce resources and the robber moves, as explained below.

After rolling, a player can trade resources with other players. All trades must involve the player whose turn it is; other players may not trade amongst themselves. Players need not offer an equal number of resource cards. Players are allowed to discuss what they have in their hand with other players to facilitate trading. Once a trade is agreed upon, both players exchange the stated resource card(s); they cannot cheat the other player by giving anything other than what was offered. Each trade must contain at least one resource card from each player. Trades can never include Development cards.

In addition to trading with other players, a player can trade resources with the bank. On his turn, a player can trade four of any one resource to the bank in exchange for one of any resource. This is the only type of trade that can be made with the bank unless a player has a settlement or city touching a port hex, as explained below.

In addition to trading, a player can use his resource cards to build settlements, roads, or cities, or to buy cards. The exchange rates are shown on the building cost cards. To build something, a player must discard the appropriate resource cards and take his purchase. When a settlement, road, or city is built, it is immediately placed on the board, as explained below. Each player can only build as many settlements, roads, or cities as he has tokens of that type. Each player has five settlements, four cities and fifteen roads.


Settlements cost one brick, one wood, one grain and one sheep to build. They are placed at an intersection where three hexes meet. Settlements can be placed on any intersection of any land hex, including intersections that touch water hexes. All settlements must be placed at least two intersections away from any other settlement or city.

After setup, a player can only place settlements on intersections that connect to his roads. If none of that player's roads touch the intersection he wishes to build on, he must first build roads to that intersection. A player can build at any point along his roads, not just at the ends. Other player's roads do not influence where a player can build settlements.


A road costs one wood and one brick. Roads are placed on the edge between two hexes, connecting two intersections. At least one of these hexes must be a land hex. Once a player has built on that edge, no other player can build there; there can only be one road on each edge.

Every road that a player builds must connect to one of his existing roads, settlements, or cities. If a player builds a settlement or city at the end of one of another player's roads, the second player cannot build from that intersection. If a player builds a settlement or city in the middle of a chain of another player's roads, the second player can still build roads connecting to the roads on either side of that settlement or city.


Cities cost three grain and two ore. They replace settlements. When a player purchases a city, he removes one of his settlements from the board and places a city on that intersection. A city produces two resources instead of one from all adjacent hexes. Note that a player can build a settlement on an intersection and immediately upgrade it to a ciy if that player has sufficient resources.


Amy has been saving up her resources for a while. She decides to splurge and build one of everything. She gives three grain and two ore to the bank and buys a city. To place it, she removes the settlement she had at spot A and replaces it with a city. Then she considers building a city at spot B. Unfortunately, she does not have roads connecting her to this spot, so she cannot build a settlement there. Instead, she pays one wood and one brick to the bank and builds a road on spot c. She then pays one wood, one brick, one grain and one sheep to build a settlement at spot B.


If any player rolls a "7" at the beginning of his turn, strange things happen. No hexes produce resources that turn, players with too many cards must discard the excess, and the robber moves.

All players with more than seven resource cards must discard half of their resource cards (rounded down). The player who is discarding chooses which of their resource cards to discard. For example, a player with nine resource cards when a "7" is rolled must choose four of them to discard.

Moving the robber does two things: he blocks production in the new hex, and he steals a resource card on the behalf of the player who moved him.

The player who caused the robber to move takes the robber token and places it on any land hex on the board. The robber must be moved; it cannot stay on the same hex. The robber can be moved to a hex that no players touch. While the robber remains there, that hex cannot produce any resource, even when its number is rolled. The only way to revitalize the hex is to move the robber token again.

The player who placed the robber token can steal one resource from one player who has a settlement or city touching the hex (i.e., adjacent to) where the robber was placed. This resource card is taken at random from the player's hand.

The robber can also be moved by playing a Knight card. See "Development Cards" below for details.


Ports are indicated by semi-circles on the corners of some water hexes. If a player has a settlement or city built on an intersection that contains a port, that player can make special trades with the bank. These trades may be made immediately upon building the port, even during the same turn. Note that not all corners of port hexes have ports; only those with semi-circles are actually ports. There are two types of ports: generic ports and specific ports.

Generic ports have a question mark in the center of the hex. They allow a player to trade three of any one resource for one of any resource, instead of the normal four for one rate.

Specific ports have a resource pictured in the center of the hex. They allow a player to trade two of that specific resource for one of any resource. The resource that can be traded at that port is indicated by the icon shown on the port hex. No other resources can be traded at specific ports, but the player can still make normal four for one trades involving other resources.


By paying one sheep, one grain, and one ore, a player can draw a card from the top of the development deck. There are three types of cards in the development deck: Progress cards, Knights, and Victory Point cards. All players should keep their development cards hidden from other players until they choose to play them. Development cards can be used at any time during a player's turn, but not on the turn that they are drawn (except VP cards). Since a player's turn officially begins before he rolls the dice, a player can play a card before rolling the dice. For example, you could play a Knight card before rolling to move the robber from one of your hexes. A player can play only one development card (except for Victory Point cards) each turn.

Progress Cards
These cards are played once and then discarded.

Road Building:
When a player plays this card, he can immediately place two road segments onto the board, as if he had just built them.

When a player plays this card, he can immediately take any two resource cards from the bank and add them to his hand. These can be two different resources or two of the same resource. They may immediately be used to build.

When a player plays this card, he must announce one type of resource. All other players must give the player who played this card all of their resource cards of that type.

Knight Cards
When a player plays a Knight card, he must move the robber. The hex where the robber rests does not produce resources until the robber moves off that hex. See Robber for more details. Also, the player who played the Knight card can steal one random resource card from any player with a settlement or city touching that hex. Unlike rolling a "7," no one has to discard cards after a Knight.

Once a player finishes resolving the robber, he adds the Knight to his army by placing it face-up in front of him. The card no longer has any effect, but the number of face-up Knight cards a player has is used to determine who gets the Largest Army bonus.

Victory Point Cards
VP cards provide an extra Victory Point towards winning. They are played differently from other developement cards. VP cards are kept hidden from the other players until their owner has 10 Victory Points, including the cards. The owner then plays all his VP cards at once to achieve victory. A player can play as many VP cards as he wants (even if he has already played another Developement card), and can even play them on the turn that they are drawn.

Special Bonuses
There are two other ways to gain victory points. Players who build impressive armed forces or monumental roads can gain extra points for their achievements. The player with the longest road of at least five road segments and the player with the largest army of at least three knights each gain two extra points. When a player achieves one of these goals, he receives the appropriate card, which represents the two bonus VPs.

As these rewards are only for the largest and longest on the board, there can only be one player with each award at any point. If a player already has the card and another player exceeds (not just equals) that player's total, then the new player takes the card (and the points) away from the old player.

Notes on the longest road:
If a road forks into separate branches, only the longest branch counts. If a player has a city or settlement on another player's road, it disrupts the second player's road when counting for the longest; a player can only count the road segments on one side or the other of any other player's settlement. A player's settlements or cities do not interrupt his own roads.


If a player wants a change of pace, try some of these alternate rules:
1. Victory Point cards are played like all other Development cards. Only one can be played each turn, and they cannot be played immediately upon drawing.
2. All players must play with their hand of Resource cards face up (useful for beginners).
3. Instead of playing Development cards at any time, a player cannot play them until after he rolls the dice on his turn.
4. In the first two complete turns, any roll of "7" is ignored and rolled again.
5. Any time a player rolls a "7", he can choose to ignore it and not move the robber. That player forfeits his right to steal a resource card.
6. Once a player starts building, he cannot make any more trades.
7. At the end of a player's turn, he must have at least one settlement on the board.
8. Knight cards may be used to interrupt immediately after any player moves the robber. The player who plays the Knight card places the robber where he desires and gets to steal a card from another player. The player who used to be moving the robber gets nothing. A Knight card can be played to interrupt another player's Knight card, leading to a chain of Knights.


When rolling two dice, the probability of rolling certain numbers is greater than others. Since there are 6 ways to roll a "7" (1+6, 6+1, 2+5, 5+2, 4+3, 3+4) and only 1 way to roll a "12" (6+6) or a "2" (1+1), 7 comes up much more often than 12 or 2. The size of the number on the counters in the game represents this probability; the larger numbers are more likely to be rolled. The probabilities are listed here:

        "2" & "12"       3%
        "3" & "11"       6%
        "4" & "10"       8%
        "5" &  "9"      11%
        "6" &  "8"      14%
        "7"                 17%

© 1996 Mayfair Games
Produced under license from Klaus Teuber
Designed by Klaus Teuber
English rules written by Tom Smith
Art Direction by Chris Vande Voort
Graphic Design by Seth Schwartz and Chris Vande Voort
Product Photography by Ramon Mascareñas

English playtesting: Jay Tummelson, Tom Smith,
Lou Rexing, Will Neibling, Trella Wilhite,
Bill Wordelmann, Elaine Wordelmann, Lee Calamaio,
Joe Roznai, Faith Price, Seth Schwartz, and other
Wednesday-nighters I'm sure I'm forgetting.

The Settlers of Catan is a trademark of Mayfair Games. All Rights Reserved.
©1996 Mayfair Games