How To Win At Catan Every Time: Tips and Strategies for Playing like a Pro

Board Games

It's time to learn how to trade. And no, no one wants your sheep.


Catan, also known as Settlers of Catan, is a classic board game that has been enjoyed by players of all ages for many years. While it may seem simple at first glance, there are many strategies and potential pitfalls that players must navigate to truly become a Catan pro. In this blog post, we will explore some tips and tricks for playing Catan like a pro. What qualifies me for teaching you how to play like a pro? That's none of your business. Let's continue.



Man holding his face with the Robber Piece

Mistakes to Avoid

Before we dive into strategies, let's first examine some common mistakes that players make when playing Catan:

  1. Not diversifying resources: In Catan, it's essential to have access to all the resources to build a well-rounded settlement. Focusing on one or two resources might seem like a good idea at first, but it can limit your progress in the long run. For example, if you only focus on wood and brick, you won't be able to upgrade your settlements to cities or purchase development cards that require other resources. So, make sure to have a balance of all resources to be able to progress effectively in the game.

  2. Overinvesting in development cards: Development cards can be powerful, but they are not a substitute for good resource management. In the early stages of the game, it's important to focus on acquiring resources to build settlements and roads. While development cards can be useful, investing too much in them can leave you with insufficient resources to build or improve your settlements. So, it's essential to balance the use of development cards with resource management to ensure long-term success.

  3. Ignoring the robber: The robber is a crucial element of the game, and it can be tempting to avoid it altogether. However, the robber can be a powerful tool for disrupting your opponents' plans and improving your own position. The robber allows you to steal resources from other players, which can give you an advantage in the game. It's vital that you pay attention to which players are drawing which sorts of resources, so you know who to steal from when it's your time to place the robber. Additionally, placing the robber on an opponent's hex can prevent them from gaining resources from that hex, which can significantly disrupt their plans. So, it's important to use the robber strategically to hinder your opponents and improve your own position.


Catan board.

Strategies to Improve Your Game

Now that we've covered some common mistakes, let's move on to some strategies for improving your Catan game:

  1. Build on resource hexes: When starting the game, it's essential to place your initial settlements on hexes that produce resources you need. Building on these hexes will ensure a steady supply of resources throughout the game, making it easier to build and upgrade settlements and roads. It's important to note that some hexes may be more valuable than others, depending on the game's setup. For example, if there are fewer hexes that produce wheat, it may be wise to prioritize settling on those hexes.

  2. Be flexible with your plans: While having a plan is crucial, it's equally important to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. If a particular strategy isn't working, don't be afraid to switch gears and try something new. Keeping an open mind and being prepared to adjust your plans will help you stay competitive and adapt to the ever-changing game board.

  3. Focus on long-term goals: While it can be tempting to go for short-term gains, it's important to keep your long-term goals in mind. For example, instead of going for a quick victory point, consider investing in development cards that will pay off in the long run. Similarly, if you have the opportunity to trade for a resource you need in exchange for a resource you have in abundance, take it. Sacrificing a little now can lead to a big payoff later.

  4. Trade strategically: Trading with other players is a crucial part of the game, and it's important to do it strategically. As mentioned above, look for opportunities to trade resources that you have in abundance for those that you need. Consider negotiating trades that give you an advantage in the long run, such as trading a brick for a wheat with a player who has a surplus of wheat but needs brick to build their road. It's also a good idea to trade a resource that you may need, but not at the moment, for one that you need to accomplish a more important task. Do this only if you have a reasonably good avenue for replenishing the resource you're trading (such as being adjacent to that resource with decent odds of rolling the number for it, or you are able to use a 2:1 Port option).

  5. Use the robber to your advantage: See our robber suggestion above. 


Catan Brick cards.

Other Tips

Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you play:

  1. Keep track of the cards: It's important to keep track of the cards that have been played, particularly the development cards. This will help you anticipate what your opponents may do next. It's also wise to keep track of who is drawing what resources, and who typically has an abundance of which resources (so you can steal them later).

  2. Watch your opponents' moves: Pay attention to what your opponents are doing, and adjust your strategy accordingly. If you see someone building towards a certain goal, try to disrupt their plans.

  3. Don't be afraid to make deals: Making deals with other players can be a great way to get ahead. Just make sure that any deal you make is in your best interests. 

  4. Think politically. If you know the personalities of the opponents you are facing, be reasonable in how you treat them. Don't target them with the robber just because, but only when it makes sense strategically. Consider cutting players a deal in trading to build good will, especially if the extra resource you throw in is one you really don't need. This may influence the opponent to be more useful to you later in the game.

In conclusion, Catan is a game of strategy and resource management, and there are many ways to improve your gameplay. By avoiding common mistakes, focusing on long-term goals, and using the robber strategically, you can become a Catan pro in no time. So gather your friends, set up the board, and start building your settlements today!


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  • Cartoon pic of the authorJay C. Shepherd
  • Content Creator
  • Jay is a graphic designer, board game enthusiast, and professional wrestling fan who loves all things 80's, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and of course, video games. He is one of the rare few that believes that one can be a Trekkie and Star Wars fan at the same time.