Settlers of Catan Optional Rules

Warning: Most variants are recommended for experienced players. Play at your own risk.

Pirate Rules (any number of players)

In addition to the normal rules for the robber, the robber can also be placed on any port hex. While the robber is there, no trades may be conducted using that port. The player who moved the robber can still steal a card from a neighboring player as normal.

Expansion Rules (5-6 players)

The published expansion to Die Siedler von Catan adds rules for 5 or 6 players. The expansion consists of new hexes, cards and counters to allow more players in the game. The additional cards were included in Mayfair's Settlers of Catan, so people playing with the English version need not worry about these.
The expansion set adds 2 of each normal land hex, one desert hex, 2 plain water hexes, one sheep port hex, and one generic port hex. These are arranged to create a larger, lopsided island, by starting with row of six land hexes instead of the normal five.
Ten new number counters were added to cover the new land hexes, and the original number counters were altered to fit the new board. The number counters included in the expansion are: A2, B5, C4, D6, E3, F9, G8, H11, I11, J10, K6, L3, M8, N4, O8, P10, Q11, R12, S10, T5, U4, V9, W5, X9, Y12, Za3, Zb2, Zc6.
There is only one rule change for the 5 and 6 player game. Players can build (roads, settlements, cities, or buy cards) at the end of any player's turn. After a player finishes his turn, each player gets a chance to build, starting with the player to his left and continuing clockwise.

Big Island (7-8 Players)

Take two complete sets of land hexes, minus one desert. Lay them out in one large hexagon, starting with a line of seven and filling in both sides as in the normal layout. Take one set of ports and add three generic ports (or two generics and one sheep port), and lay them out starting at the hex closest to you and filling in every other space, as normal. Align the ports toward the longest row of land hexes.
The game is played normally, but the robber only forces a player to discard half their cards if the player has more than ten cards.

4. Islands of Catan (3-4 Players)

Instead of laying out the board normally, shuffle all the hexes, land, water and ports, together. Lay them out randomly into the normal hexagonal pattern, starting with a row of seven instead of five. This will create a map with a variety of lakes, islands, and peninsulas.
Take all the number counters and mix them together. Starting with the closest corner hex and continuing counter-clockwise, place one counter on each land hex except the desert. When each counter is placed, check the adjacent hexes. If a counter is placed next to a counter with the same number, or a 6 and an 8 are placed together, immediately take the counter being placed and return it to the pool of unused counters. Then draw another counter and place it on that hex. If the very last counter conflicts with a neighboring counter, trade it for the very first counter. If this trade would create a conflict, continue trying the next number counter-clockwise until you find a number that works.
Examine all the port hexes. Each of the two ports on a single hex should touch the same land hex. If they do not, rotate the hex clockwise until both ports touch the same land hex. If the port hex does not touch any land hexes, do not rotate it. If two ports from separate hexes end up touching the same intersection, that's fine. A player who builds on that intersection can trade at either rate.
The game is then played normally. There are two rule changes to accommodate the odd positioning of water hexes. Bridges can be built over edges of two water or port hexes. Bridges cost one wood, one brick, and one sheep and are treated exactly like roads, even for purposes of the Longest Road. A Road Building card can be used to build bridges or a road and a bridge. The second rule is: settlements separated by nothing but water can be placed on adjacent intersections.
You may choose to play with a standard set of resource cards to limit the total of resources available, or combine resource cards from two sets to create a larger resource pool. One set of development cards should be enough, but your group may wish to enlarge the number of those cards as well.

Page Updated: Nov. 11, 1996

©1996 Mayfair Games