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Catan

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Catan (1995) is a strategy game set on an uninhabited island where you accumulate, spend and trade resources to build the biggest kingdom. Players must compete for space, resources and ultimately for ten victory points to be crowned the winner. What starts as a quietly strategic game, soon becomes an all-out battle for victory.

You start by creating the island from hexagonal tiles that represent different resources. Players then place two initial settlements on the boundaries of these tiles and take turns to roll dice that determine which tiles produce resources. You get these resources if you have settlements on the right card, even if it's not your go.

As you accumulate these resources you can play them in different combinations to build further settlements, cities and roads to increase future production as well as score points. If you don't have the resources you need you can try and trade with other players, although taking care not to inadvertently help them too much.

As play progresses space becomes more limited, but resources become more plentiful. The aim of the game is to be the player best placed to take advantage of this bounty, establishing yourself as the most powerful kingdom and taking victory. It is a really social game that forces players to fight for the limited resources available, whilst forming uneasy alliances to make needed trades. It creates a fascinating interplay between chance and the competing strategies of each player on the island.

There are a number of expansion packs that give players more options and create more ways to score points. They are:
  1. -6 Player Expansion Pack adds pieces and tiles to play with more players.

*Seafarers of Catan adds ships, gold and further islands to explore.
  • Cities and Knights adds knights to defend settlements and some extra resources to compete for.
  • Traders and Barbarians adds extra cards, pieces and game mechanics that allow players more complex trade options.
  • Explorers and Pirates adds ships to explore the sea, new resources to find and pirates who steal those resources.

Our examiner, Rob Prior, first checked Catan 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 11 weeks ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to Catan. Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Sequencing and Strategy game with Collecting, Communication and World Building elements. You can play with 3 to 4 players in the same room. Play can be extended to six players with an expansion pack purchased separately from the main game.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

DurationDuration

Learn to Play: This takes 2 hours to learn. This is a complex game with many different rules to learn. The more you play, the more you fully master its complexities and develop your own favourite strategies.

When playing for the first time, you should:
  • Set up the board in the "Starting Map" formation.
  • Ensure that you understand the probability of each number being rolled during the game.
  • Consider leaving out the development cards for the first few games.
  • Take time to discuss initial placements and possible strategies before starting.
  • Play the "Friendly Robber" rule, so that the game gets going quicker.

Play Time: This game will take between 1 hour and 2 hours to complete. Game time is very dependent on the number of players playing and the speed of each player.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. This is a fairly complex game, which requires a fair amount of patience to learn. Youngers players may be able to access this game, but may need support with strategy and understanding some of the more involved rules within the game.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 7+ years-olds. This game contains a "robber" character that enables players to steal cards from other players. You can also build armies, but neither of these aspects of the game are presented in a violent way.

CostsCosts

There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/1995, updated in 2013

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 3-4

Genres: Sequencing, Strategy (Collecting, Communication and World Building)

Accessibility: 37 features

Components: Bag, Cards, Dice, Figures, Placeables, Score Board and Tokens

Developer: Asmodee USA (@Asmodee_USA)


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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