Settlers Of Catan Boardgame: The Full Review

generic Catan-like game board

Settlers of Catan is one of the most popular and widely acclaimed board games ever. The game’s unique combination of strategy, resources, and luck has captivated players since its release in 1995. Our article will provide a full review of the game, including an overview of the rules and mechanics and a discussion of how it can be used to teach strategy and resource management concepts.

The Settlers of Catan allows players to build their settlements on the fictional island of Catan. Players must collect resources such as wood, brick, sheep, wheat, and ore to construct roads and settlements across the island.

The goal is to gain the most victory points by building settlements, cities, and connecting roads. The game features an ever-changing landscape that requires players to adjust their strategies to be successful constantly. Elements such as trading with other players add a layer of complexity and strategy to the game.

Settlers of Catan Short Overview

★★★★☆GameplayEngaging strategic game.
★★★★☆ComponentsHigh-quality tokens and cards.
★★★☆☆Visual DesignPleasant but not outstanding.
★★★☆☆ComplexityModerate complexity, good for newcomers.
★★★☆☆InteractionOpportunity for trade and agreements.
★★★☆☆Game DurationAverage game length.
★★★☆☆ReplayabilitySome limitations in variations.
★★★★☆Overall RatingEarned a place among our favorite board games.

Settlers of Catan: Game Overview

Settlers of Catan is a board game for 3-4 players that involves players building settlements, roads, and cities on a giant game board. The game mechanics involve rolling dice, trading resources, and building and developing territories.

Playing strategies in the game involve:

  • Recognizing patterns in the distribution of resources.
  • Understanding the odds of rolling specific numbers.
  • Devising long-term strategies.

Expansion packs add new elements and variations, such as additional game boards, tiles, and cards. These expansions increase the game’s complexity and provide more variety for experienced players. Furthermore, expansion packs often introduce new rules, objectives, and strategies, which must be learned.

Finally, the game can be played with different numbers of players, allowing for more or less competition depending on the number of participants.

Game Mechanics

Settlers of Catan boardgame is a famous board game many have loved for over two decades. This game has a ruleset, different pieces, and two to four players. The game mechanics involve multiple strategies and random elements, making it an exciting and engaging experience.

The core concept of Settlers of Catan is based on resource acquisition and trading. Players use strategy cards to build roads, settlements, and cities on the board. To gain resources, the players roll dice and place pieces to collect resources like clay, wood, sheep, ore, or wheat at each settlement they own. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

Players can also trade resources with each other to get what they need to build items on their turn. This adds a layer of complexity as players must assess their own needs and those of their opponents to make trades that benefit both parties.

Additionally, development cards add another layer of strategy by allowing players to purchase particular advantages such as knight cards, which help them secure victory points more quickly, or monopoly cards, which will enable them to take all one type of resource from all other players.

Playing Strategies for the Settlers of Catan

Players must employ various strategies to gain the most victory points when playing the Settlers of Catan board game. The game mechanics involve multiple strategies and random elements, making it an exciting and engaging experience.

Players can use strategy cards to build roads, settlements, and cities on the board. Furthermore, resource acquisition and trading are essential for the Settlers of Catan board game. To gain resources, the players roll dice and place pieces to collect resources like clay, wood, sheep, ore, or wheat at each settlement they own. Players can also trade resources with each other to get what they need to build items on their turn.

This requires understanding both their own needs and those of their opponents to make trades that benefit both parties. In conclusion, the Settlers of Catan board game provides a challenging and entertaining experience with multiple layers of strategy that require careful consideration when playing to score the most victory points. Consider exploring our guides on How to Choose a Starting Position in Catan and How to Win in the Settlers of Catan to learn more about powerful Catan strategies.

The Settlers of Catan: Expansion Packs

In addition to the core Settlers of the Catan game, various expansion packs add more complexity to the game. These expansion packs provide:

  • Additional development cards.
  • New board pieces and tiles.
  • Other resources that can be used in the game.

For example, one of the expansion packs includes an extra set of victory point cards, which players can use to gain more points during play. Another expansion pack offers a variety of extraordinary scenarios that are designed to challenge those with advanced strategies. Additionally, each pack increases the maximum number of players allowed in a game from four to six or more.

One notable feature of these expansions is that they are all compatible with each other so that players can mix and match different elements for a unique gaming experience. This allows for even further customization so that each game can feel new and different despite varying on the same basic theme.

Furthermore, purchasing multiple expansions makes it possible to create larger versions of Settlers of Catan without buying multiple copies of the base game.

There are four main Settlers of Catan expansions:

  • Seafarers
  • Traders and Barbarians
  • Explorers and Pirates
  • Cities and Knights

To learn everything about these amazing expansions to the Settlers of Catan, consider reading our Complete Catan Expansions Ranked review.

Overall, these expansion packs add a layer of complexity to the Settlers of Catan board game while allowing for more outstanding customization options when playing. This makes it possible for experienced players to continue challenging themselves while having fun with friends and family who may not have as much experience with the game.

Mechanics And Features of the Settlers of Catan

Dice rolls are:

  • A key mechanic in Settlers of Catan.
  • Determining which resource cards players will receive.
  • Dictating the number of resources that can be earned in a turn.

Trading resources is an essential feature of the game, with players able to barter with each other for certain goods to further their objectives. Building settlements is a primary objective of the game, with players attempting to construct a series of settlements, roads, and structures that will grant them points and a victory.

Different terrain offers different resources, and players must assess the best placement for their settlements and roads. Players may also invest in development cards, granting them points or resources. Finally, the game can be played with up to four players.

Rolling Dice

The mechanics of the Settlers of Catan board game involve rolling dice to generate resources. Players take turns rolling two dice, each number from 2-12 producing a different resource type.

For example, a roll of 7 produces brick, and a roll of 11 produces sheep. The total number of each resource created is determined by the numbers on the dice and how many adjacent settlements and cities are owned by each player.

Furthermore, when a player rolls a 7, other players must discard excess cards if they possess more than seven. This mechanic adds tension to the game as players must decide when to stockpile resources versus when it is prudent to discard them.

The resource generation mechanic provides an element of unpredictability, which keeps the game dynamic and exciting. Players must adjust their strategies based on randomness, leading to strategic depth and diversity.

Additionally, this mechanic is a balancing mechanism as all players have an equal chance to acquire resources regardless of their placement on the board or position in turn order. As such, it ensures that no one player has an advantage over another due to luck or chance.

This mechanic also enables players to interact with each other during their turns despite not playing at the same time. When one player rolls a 7, it forces other players to make decisions about which cards they should keep and which ones they should discard for them to stay competitive in the game.

This creates an interactive environment where different strategies can be employed depending on what your opponents are doing at any given moment.

close-up of cost tiles and ship on the classic Settlers of Catan board

Trading Resources

Resource trading is another mechanic implemented in Settlers of Catan. Players may trade resources at a rate determined by the players involved. Players can acquire the resources they need to build settlements and cities more quickly through this.

It also allows for different strategies, as players can try to acquire specific resources from their opponents’ holdings. Trading resources also incentivizes cooperation between players, encouraging them to work together to achieve their goals. Additionally, it makes the game more interactive as players must negotiate and strategize when trading with one another to gain an advantage.

This increases the game’s complexity and further adds to its strategic depth and diversity. Thus, resource trading contributes significantly to the overall experience of playing Settlers of Catan.

Building Settlements

The next mechanic to be discussed is building settlements. In Settlers of Catan, players can build settlements on the board. These settlements can provide players with access to resources and points for victory. Building a settlement requires specific resources, such as wood and bricks, which must be acquired from other players or development cards. This encourages players to trade with each other to acquire the resources they need.

Additionally, it adds an element of strategy as players must decide where to place their settlements to gain the most benefit. Putting a settlement in a resource-rich area can help ensure that a player has access to the necessary resources for future developments. Moreover, it allows for various strategies as players must consider offensive and defensive placements when deciding where to build their settlements. This further increases the game’s replayability, as no two games will play out the same way due to these strategic choices. Thus, building settlements is integral to Settlers of Catan and adds another layer of complexity and strategy to the game.

Expansion Sets for The Settlers of Catan

Seafarers is an expansion set for the Settlers of Catan board game, featuring additional land tiles, harbor settlements, and game pieces. 

Cities and Knights is an expansion set that adds city walls, knights, and metropolises to the game. Cities and Knights adds additional commodities, production cards, and an updated victory point system.

Explorers and Pirates is an expansion set that adds new terrain tiles, pirate lairs, and ships to the game. Explorers and Pirates adds several variations to the game, such as exploring and discovering new islands or attacking and pillaging other players’ settlements.

Seafarers introduces a new gameplay mechanic, the ability to build ships to move between islands.

Each expansion set has its own set of rules and playing pieces and can be combined with the original Settlers of Catan board game.


The ‘Seafarers’ expansion set for Settlers of Catan is a popular addition to the original game. This set offers more complexity and replayability to the game by introducing additional pieces and rules that allow up to four players to navigate the seas, build ships, and explore islands.

The board consists of nineteen tiles that represent sea hexes with harbors for trade and six frame pieces used to create different maps each time you play. Seafarers also include detailed instructions on building ships, which are vital to navigating around the map. Additionally, five scenarios are included with this expansion set that provide unique goals and strategies for players to try out.

The gameplay of ‘Seafarers’ differs from the original Settlers of Catan in several ways. One example is that resources are collected by building settlements along the shoreline or discovering islands when navigating with ships. Additionally, players can win victory points by achieving specific goals related to exploration and building harbors on certain islands.

Furthermore, this expansion adds a pirate ship piece that can be moved around the map by rolling a die, stealing resources from other players if it lands on their settlements or cities.

In conclusion, ‘Seafarers’ brings an extra layer of complexity and excitement to Settlers of Catan while providing interesting new strategies and goals for players to pursue during each game session. As such, it is no wonder why this expansion set has remained one of the most popular additions since its release in 1997.

Cities and Knights

The ‘Cities and Knights’ expansion set for Settlers of Catan is another popular addition to the game. This set introduces a variety of new pieces, rules, and strategies that up to four players can use.

The board consists of nineteen tiles representing cities, roads, and fields with knights used to defend against barbarian invasions. The game also includes detailed instructions on building cities and knights and five scenarios that provide unique goals for players to pursue.

The gameplay in ‘Cities and Knights’ differs from the original Settlers of Catan in several ways. Resources are collected by building cities along the shoreline or by conquering islands when navigating with knights. Additionally, players can win victory points by achieving specific goals related to city development and defending against barbarian invasions.

This expansion adds more depth and strategy to the game, encouraging players to think more carefully about their moves to achieve victory points over opponents. In addition, this expansion introduces several new mechanics, such as commodities cards, which offer bonus resources when traded at harbors, and progress cards, which grant special abilities depending on what type is drawn.

Through these features, ‘Cities and Knights’ provides a unique challenge that offers an immersive experience for all involved.

Explorers and Pirates

The ‘Explorers and Pirates’ expansion set for Settlers of Catan is the third in the series. This set introduces a variety of new pieces, rules, and strategies that up to four players can use. It also includes detailed instructions on how to build ships, explore the seas, and defend against pirates.

The gameboard consists of eighteen tiles representing islands, oceans, and harbors with ships used for navigation and trading with other players. The gameplay in ‘Explorers and Pirates’ differs from the original Settlers of Catan in several ways. Resources are collected by sailing around the seaboard or constructing ports on islands.

Additionally, players can win victory points by making discoveries as they explore uncharted waters or engage in naval battles with pirate ships. Navigation cards provide a unique way to control ships, while special exploration tokens offer a reward when discovered during journeys. This expansion adds more complexity to the game, requiring players to think strategically about their moves while considering navigation, exploration, and combat scenarios.

With these features, ‘Explorers and Pirates’ provides an exciting challenge that offers an immersive experience for all involved.

Settlers of Catan: Pros And Cons

1. Settlers of Catan is a popular board game that has gained a significant following due to its entertaining nature.

2. One of the primary advantages of the game is its replayability, allowing players to experience a new game each time.

3. However, the game’s complexity can be a disadvantage, as it can be challenging to understand at first.

4. Additionally, the game relies heavily on randomness, making it challenging to plan strategies.


The Settlers of Catan boardgame is widely considered a classic game and is often praised for its entertainment value. It has been around since 1995 and continues to be popular among gamers of all ages. The game offers an enjoyable experience that allows players to develop strategies and use them to win. As such, it has become a staple in many households and game nights.

One of the significant benefits of the Settlers of Catan board game is its fun factor. Playing the game requires players to think strategically to build an empire while managing resources and trading with other players. This makes the game highly entertaining as it encourages players’ collaboration while providing a competitive atmosphere.

Additionally, the possible scenarios within each game make it even more exciting since no two games are alike. Players can also enjoy customizing their boards by using expansions or designing their own game rules. This allows for greater flexibility and creativity when playing and different levels of difficulty depending on what type of board is used.

Furthermore, due to its popularity, many tournaments are held where participants can compete against one another and truly test their strategic abilities.

board for classic Catan game


The Settlers of Catan board game is also noted for its replayability. This means players can have multiple sessions with the same board and still enjoy it.

The game’s design allows for various strategies to be employed while playing, so players may find themselves trying different methods to gain an advantage. Additionally, new expansions or custom boards can be used, allowing players to experience something new each time they play.

As such, the Settlers of Catan provides long-term entertainment that keeps people returning for more. Moreover, the replay value of this game increases as more players join a game session. With more people at the table, more interactions are possible, and the strategies used by each player become more complex as they try to outwit one another. This makes it even more exciting and engaging than playing with just two or three participants.

Overall, the Settlers of Catan has been praised for its replayability, allowing gamers to enjoy multiple rounds without boredom. It encourages creativity and collaboration among players, making it an ideal choice for those who want a genuinely entertaining gaming experience. Consider exploring our article about Games like Catan and Best Accessories for Catan to find out more about fascinating strategy games.

The Bottom Line

The Settlers of Catan board game is a classic, having been around for nearly 25 years. Although the game has experienced some changes over the years, it remains prevalent and highly rated.

One potential critique of the game is that it can be overly complicated; however, this complexity allows for a degree of customization that helps keep the game enjoyable even after many playthroughs.

The mechanics are relatively simple to learn and pick up quickly, though mastering these mechanics can take significantly more time and practice. The primary challenge comes from outmaneuvering other players to gain an advantage in resources and victory points. This competition makes for an engaging experience as players must think on their feet and modify their strategies accordingly.

Overall, the Settlers of Catan board game provides an interactive experience with a high replay value. It is easy to learn but challenging to master; the level of competitiveness between players adds an extra dimension to the gameplay while remaining accessible enough for people of all ages.

The following list outlines some key features that make this game stand out:

  • Simple mechanics but complex strategy
  • Reusable playing pieces
  • High replayability
  • Engaging multiplayer experience

This combination of features makes it easy to see why Settlers of Catan remains one of the most popular board games today. It appeals to newcomers and veterans alike, ensuring everyone can find something they enjoy about it no matter how often they play. To learn more about the fantastic board games universe, consider reading our articles Dominion Complete Review and Outburst Game Review!

Settlers of Catan Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Play A Game Of Settlers Of Catan?

Settlers of Catan is a popular board game, and the time it takes to play a game varies. Generally, most games take about 60 minutes for four players and 90 minutes for five or more players. However, experienced players often require less time to complete a game. With professional players, the game can be completed in as little as 45 minutes if all players are familiar with the rules and strategies of the game.

What Is The Minimum Number Of Players Needed To Play Settlers Of Catan?

Irony is often used to convey a deeper meaning in written works, but ironically, the minimum number of players required to play Settlers of Catan is three. This is an interesting quirk of the game as it requires more than two people to start the game yet enforces a limit on how many can join. While this may seem like a limitation at first glance, it does allow for a more balanced and interactive experience for all participants.

Are There Different Versions Of Settlers Of Catan Available?

Settlers of Catan is a board game that allows players to build settlements, roads, and cities on the island of Catan. It is a popular game among many groups and has spawned multiple versions. The original version was released in 1995, with subsequent releases including the Seafarers expansion in 1997, Cities & Knights in 1998, Traders & Barbarians in 2007, and Explorers & Pirates in 2013. Each version has its unique set of rules and pieces, allowing for various play styles. Additionally, various editions are available that feature different art styles or themes, such as Star Trek or The Hobbit. You may even consider playing Catan on Steam to spend some quality time with your friends online.

Is Settlers Of Catan Suitable For Children?

It may come as a surprise to some, but Settlers of Catan is not only suitable for adults but also children. Despite its reputation as a game primarily enjoyed by adults, its mechanics are relatively straightforward. While it does require strategic thinking and resource management, these aspects are often taught in educational settings and can easily be understood by children. As such, it can be seen as an excellent tool for teaching kids about strategy, planning, and problem-solving.

Where Is The Best Place To Buy Settlers Of Catan?

Settlers of Catan is a famous board game that can be purchased from various retailers. Online stores such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart offer the game at competitive prices. Many local hobby and game stores often stock the game and may have special editions unavailable online. Another option is to purchase the game directly from the publisher. This ensures access to any new expansions or updates released for the game. Ultimately, it is up to the buyer to decide which retailer offers the best deal for their needs.

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