"My nephew insisted he didn't want to play The Settlers of Catan with us. Once we began playing, he didn't want to quit. Now, he just can't wait until we can play again."

~Rachael S.

The Settlers of Catan
Strategy Board Game

A Family Friendly Cooperative Game
Fun for the Entire Family!

The Settlers of Catan is quickly becoming a family favorite at our house. We now play two or three games several times each week.

Getting Started

With the handy instruction sheet in hand we began our first game. We laid out our maiden game as the instructions indicated — and it's a good thing we did. Our second game, we played free-style and organized the pieces randomly — we were not ready for that and we quickly became frustrated. So, do yourself a favor, keep it simple when learning the game — placement of the game board pieces is very important and will make the difference between a pleasant game of fun and one of frustration.

While this game is largely one of strategy, I think the biggest lesson we've learned from it is one of cooperation. Since we began playing together, my son (age 12) and I have seemingly been in a constant state of war, attacking each other, then seeking revenge, this is not fun. Once we learned that just because you can steal resources, from another player — doesn't mean you should. We are learning to play nice with each other — an important lesson for any family.

I would not recommend you turn a couple of children loose with this game, who are unable to get along — you would be inviting disaster. However, with the guidance of a parent or both, children who are constantly picking at each other could possibly learn to work together.

The Product

Our first game purchase was The Settlers of Catan original game, which we have enjoyed immensely. Just as in Monopoly, we've decided that we like to make up our own rules to the game, so we've modified the game slightly.

Since our family is a highly competitive one, we have elected to modify the role of the robber, and while a player may still choose to rob from another player, according to the modified rules, any player rolling a seven has the option of landing on any unoccupied territory and collecting it's resource from the bank. By making this one simple modification, we have cut down on hard feelings a great deal and made the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Additional Game Purchases

Since we enjoy the game so much, we decided to expand our set. Our second purchase was for the Catan Histories Struggle for Rome, which we only played once. The game has it's advantages and disadvantages. To the games credit, the board is much studier and doesn't come apart easily, like our original purchase.

One other thing I really liked is a spot on the board to mark your score, it allows you to keep a running tally. We've found in playing the original game that we often have trouble ending a game because we aren't paying attention to the score, so we end up playing much longer than is necessary to actually win, not necessarily a bad thing.

The one thing we didn't like about the game and the reason we gave it to a family member is they have greatly simplified the game (perfect for younger players) by joining several of the board tiles together. My neice has several younger children and we thought this game would be perfect for them because it limits placement, which can be a good thing.

Expansion Sets

Our next purchase was for the Catan: Seafarers Game Expansion, which we have really enjoyed. It adds another dimension to the game, with the addition of ships. This game introduces shipping lanes, allowing players to build across the water. Be sure to read the instructions, which provides additional layout guidelines, but be sure to read the instructions, most layouts have their own special rules to play by, which we often modify to suit our own desire.

When we found out we had family coming to visit, we knew we would all want to play, so we needed a couple expansion sets, so we picked up the Catan: Cities & Knights 5-6 Player Extension and The Settlers of Catan 5-6 Player Extension, which allows two more people to play. The nice thing is the items from all four boxes will all fit in one box — so long as you are careful. With the additional pieces the scope and dynamics of the game are greatly expanding, allowing for even more variations on the game.

I have to say this is one of the most versitile games I've ever had the pleasure of playing. A simple game can be played in as little as 30-minutes. A typical game of ours takes between 1.5 and 2-hours. Our family does love a challenge. It's not uncommon for us to forget to keep score though.

The is one game that is truly family friendly. Even a child as young as 5 or 6 can play, if they can sit still for about an hour. The game requires no reading skills at all — once you get past the instructions — it's strictly graphics based. I am the only one who's had a little trouble keeping things straight. I wish the pieces had words in addition to the images but the rest of the family has been nice enough to help me keep them all straight.

The game does have one major design flaw — the sea-frame playing board is made of cheap cardboard, the board pieces fit together so closely that at times we've had trouble getting it to lay flat, though we recently discovered if we turn the pieces a time or two, they tend to fit together better.

I searched for a sturdier made deluxe model but was unable to locate one that would fit our budget. I've added the 10th Anniversary Edition to my wish list. Wow! Amazon has it on "special" for $304.00. While the game is very nice even the Cashflow game that I've wanted forever, doesn't cost that much.

The Settlers of Catan

It's in the Box

The game tokens (settlements, cities and roads) are made of wood and will last a long time, the cards are standard quality and should last the life of the game if care is taken. I will continue to search for a better board for our game and will post the information if or when I find one.

This game is terrific family fun. I highly recommend it. One of the best features of this game is the modular layout. The Settlers of Catan game is created so that the board can be simple or extremely difficult to master, the choice is yours.

Learn More...

The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is an award-winning strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. Each round of The Settlers of Catan is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes.

On the Road to Settlement

The game rules and almanac booklet sets out four pages of guidelines for getting started. Don't worry, the rules are straightforward and the four pages include plenty of illustrations. There's a starting map that shows a well-balanced set-up for beginners to follow and directions that allow more advanced players to lay out the map of the island at random. You'll have to pop the die-cut components of the game out of their cardboard holders before you play your first game.

The almanac portion of the booklet is laid out alphabetically, so while playing you can find answers to specific questions quickly. Useful entries remind you exactly what role pieces like the robber play, how actions like maritime trade work, and how to set up the board or finish the game.

Exploring and Developing Catan

The board consists of 19 terrain hexes surrounded by the ocean. Each type of terrain produces a different type of resource: brick, wool, ore, grain or lumber. There's also a desert hex that produces no resources. As the game progresses, players use resources to build roads along the edges of these hexes and settlements or cities on the intersections where three hexes meet. Each player begins the game with two settlements and two roads.

Each player's roll of the dice causes certain hexes to produce resources, which you collect if you have a settlement on one of them. On your turn, you'll use various combinations of the resources you've acquired to build new roads and settlements, upgrade settlements to cities, or purchase development cards. The ability to trade resources with other players adds a new level of strategy and ensures that the game includes lots of interaction between players. You can also trade without worrying about other players using an unfavorable maritime trade rate. Elements including a robber piece that lets you steal from other players (or in our case the bank) and a variety of development cards add intrigue to the game.

The objective of The Settlers of Catan is to be the first one who collects 10 victory points (Or until everyone gets tired of playing). Each settlement is worth one victory point and each city is worth two victory points. You can also earn victory points by holding the "Longest Road" card (the one everyone fights over), the "Largest Army" card, or special victory point development cards.

Best-Selling Game of the Year

Due to the widespread popularity of the original game, several expansion sets (sold separately) are available that allow you to explore new aspects of the game or add more players. We've added several expansion sets here for you to check out...

(Refresh this page to view more selections)

More Catan Fun

Do you play The Settlers of Catan?

Our readers would love to know your opinion of the game. Drop us an e-mail with your comments and we'll post them right here.