One of the best board games to play with family and friends is Settlers of Catan.

If you are looking to have an enjoyable board game night with family and friends, there is one game we highly recommend which is Settlers of Catan.

Catan is easy to learn and play, suits a variety of skill levels and places emphasis on social interaction and friendly gameplay.

Introduction to Settlers of Catan

Klaus Teuber created settlers of Catan and published it in 1995, winning the prestigious Spiel des Jahres German Game of the Year. Catan has been translated into 35 languages and sold 25 million copies worldwide. It is currently in its 5th edition, and a variety of expansions are available to enhance the game. 

The base game of Catan is for three to four players and takes around 60-90 minutes to play (just like Monopoly), time varies depending on the number of players and experience levels. 

Settlers of Catan is a strategy game which is easy for beginners to play while also being challenging enough for experienced players.

Catan competitions are held around the world each year, with Catan World Championships held every two years. In 2018 players from 46 different countries competed, world championships will be played again in 2020. Visit to learn more.

Settlers of Catan has also made an appearance in the popular series Big Bang Theory played by Raj, Sheldon and Howard.

What is the objective when playing Catan

Settlers of Catan is a strategy board game involving smart resource management. 

Your goal in Settlers of Catan is to reach ten victory points.

You earn victory points from building settlements, cities, and development cards; having the longest road and the largest army.

To build items, you need combinations of resources, and the resources are brick, grain, lumber, ore and wool. All players have a 'Building Cost' card for reference.

You gain resources from the hexes your settlements occupy or from trade with other players and the resource bank.

Dice rolls determine which resources players earn from the hexes surrounding their settlements. You can trade resources with other players.

Seven reasons we recommend Settlers of Catan

1. Catan is easy to set up and learn

The Catan rulebook includes a game overview (back page) and a starting set-up for beginners.

The starting set-up makes it easy for new players to learn Catan, set up the board and start playing sooner.

There are only four pages of game rules, and the A-Z Almanac provides a quick reference which explain rules in more detail.

Each player receives a 'Building Cost' reference card, so you always know what resources are required to build.

2. Player turns involve easy steps

Step 1. Roll the dice – this will produce resources.

If you roll a seven (7), the robber is activated. The result of the dice roll can affect all players.

Step 2. Perform an action

- You may trade resources with other players and/or the bank

- You may build roads, settlements, cities and buy a development card with your resources

- You may play one development card any time during your turn, except on the same turn it is purchased.*

* Except when it is a victory point card which can be played on the same turn as you go out with 10 VP's.

A player completes their turn when they finish their actions and pass the dice to the next player.

When learning Catan, it is easier to perform the trade and build actions in order, i.e. trade first, finish trading, then build. When you become more experienced playing Catan the trading and building actions can be combined – you can trade, build, trade again and build etc.

3. Catan suits a variety of ages and skill levels

Catan is suitable for 10-year-olds and over, it may also suit younger players experienced playing board games, or with adult assistance.

Catan features a starting set-up for beginners, and a variable set-up for experienced players, so games can be tailored to suit player skill levels.

When you have a variety of ages and skill levels keen to play Catan is a great choice, it is one of the best board games for player interaction.

4. Catan has the right balance of strategy, luck and decision making

Luck of the dice helps guide a game of Catan, but it is not the only factor in how the game plays out.

There are many different ways to play and win Catan. You may decide to explore and go for the longest road, or focus on development cards and get elusive victory points. The way you trade with other players is also an important factor. You will learn more about different strategies as you become more familiar with Catan. 

Games of Catan tend to be fair and balanced. I have played many games of Catan when two or more players are only one or two victory points away from winning the game. 

5. Catan is a friendly, social board game

Catan is designed to keep players interacting. All players are involved in dice rolls and trade, even when it's not their turn. Negotiating a trade of resources is an integral and enjoyable part of playing Catan.

Even though the luck of the dice may be frustrating for some players, the fluctuating fortunes and good-natured competition keep everyone engaged and talking.

6. Catan is highly replayable with variable set-up and expansions

Settlers of Catan offers a beginner set-up, which makes it easy to learn and start playing.

As players become more experienced, you can use a variable board set-up. The variable set-up involves randomly placing the resource hexes, so the game board changes every game, offering interest and high replay value. 

A range of Settlers of Catan expansions and related 5-6 player extensions are available providing more depth and variation. Catan continues to challenge and engage as your game improves. 

Settlers of Catan Expansions:

  1. Seafarers

  2. Cities and knights

  3. Traders and Barbarians

  4. Explorers and Pirates

Settlers of Catan variants and scenarios:

  • Legend of the Sea Robbers
    (requires Seafarers Expansion to play)

  • Crop Trust

  • Catan Junior

Settlers of Catan 5-6 player extensions:

If you want to add more players, 5-6 player extensions are available for the base game and expansions.

7. Not too heavy, not too light, Catan is just right

Catan is often called a gateway game. What does that mean? Well, board games come in varying levels of complexity. The board game Codenames is simple, short and fun; where Terra Mystica is complex with a steep learning curve (still a great board game). Settlers of Catan falls somewhere in between.


We hope this article has roused your curiosity about this excellent board game. We highly recommend Settlers of Catan and believe it deserves a place in everyone's board game collection.


The Settlers of Catan range of board game extensions, expansions, variants and scenarios.