What are the basic rules and mechanics of Catan?

Catan RulesCatan, also known as The Settlers of Catan, is a popular board game known for its strategic gameplay, resource management, and negotiation elements. The game is designed for 3 to 4 players, but various expansions and adaptations allow for different player counts. In Catan, players take on the roles of settlers exploring and building on the fictional island of Catan. The objective is to accumulate Victory Points by constructing settlements, cities, roads, and acquiring development cards. The first player to reach a predetermined number of Victory Points, typically 10, wins the game. Below are the basic rules and mechanics of Catan:

  1. Game Setup:
    • The game board is assembled by arranging 19 hexagonal tiles representing different terrains randomly.
    • Each tile depicts a specific resource: wood, brick, wheat, ore, and sheep.
    • Number tokens are placed on each tile, indicating the roll required to produce resources from that tile during the game.
    • Players choose their starting locations on the board, where they will place their initial settlements and roads.
    • Each player begins with two settlements, roads connecting them, and resources based on the terrain's adjacent tiles.
  2. Turn Sequence:
    • The game follows a clockwise turn order.
    • On a player's turn, they perform actions in a specific sequence: Roll Dice, Collect Resources, Trade, Build, and Play Development Cards.
  3. Roll Dice and Collect Resources:
    • The active player rolls two six-sided dice at the start of their turn.
    • The sum of the dice roll determines which hexagons produce resources that turn.
    • Any player with a settlement adjacent to a hexagon producing the rolled resource receives one resource card of that type.
    • If the roll is a 7, the robber is activated, and the player who rolled the dice gets to move the robber to a new hexagon, blocking its resource production.
  4. Trade and Negotiation:
    • After collecting resources, the active player can trade with other players or trade with the bank.
    • Players can negotiate trades and form alliances to gain the resources they need or benefit from favorable deals.
    • Trades can involve resource cards, development cards, and even promises for future support.
  5. Build:
    • After trading, the active player can use their resources to build structures like roads, settlements, and cities.
    • Roads expand the player's network across the board, enabling access to new locations.
    • Settlements are placed at the intersections of hexagons and generate resources for the player.
    • Cities upgrade settlements, providing more resources.
  6. Development Cards:
    • Players can spend resources to purchase development cards from the deck.
    • Development cards include Knights for defense against the robber, resources, Victory Points, and special abilities.
    • Players can't use newly acquired development cards until their next turn.
  7. Largest Army and Longest Road:
    • Players with the most Knight cards receive a bonus of 2 Victory Points, earning the "Largest Army" card.
    • The player with the longest continuous road of connected road segments gains the "Longest Road" card, providing 2 Victory Points.
  8. Victory Points:
    • Players earn Victory Points from building settlements, cities, purchasing development cards, and achieving special objectives.
    • The first player to reach the designated number of Victory Points (usually 10) wins the game.


Catan's basic rules and mechanics create a dynamic and engaging gaming experience. Players must balance resource management, strategic planning, negotiation, and adaptation to ever-changing circumstances on the island of Catan. Through careful decision-making and skillful play, players vie to become the most successful settlers on the island and claim victory in this timeless and beloved board game.