Settlers of Catan Review

Award-winning settlers of Catan board game keeps going strong

Settlers of Catan

Yair Aronshtam/Flickr CC 2.0

If you like board games, you should play Settlers of Catan, which was rebranded as Catan in 2015. It's a unique and tremendously fun gaming experience, suitable for beginners as an introduction to strategy board games, yet with enough variation and expandability for the seasoned gamer.

The goal of the game is to build settlements on the island of Catan. It is a non-violent game focused on using resources wisely, trading with the other players, negotiation, and interaction. It's suitable for all ages from 12 and up.

Because it's made for three to four people to play, it works well for families. It also can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, so you can play it after dinner in the evening or to while away a rainy afternoon.

Illustration of the pros and cons of Settlers of Catan
Illustration: The Spruce / Bailey Mariner 

Features of Settlers of Catan

  • The game is designed for three or four players, ages 12 and up.
  • Designed by Klaus Teuber, published by Mayfair Games.
  • The duration is about 60 to 90 minutes per game.
  • Catan is the best-selling designer/German game of all time.

  • The modular board provides amazing replay value.

  • Expansion sets add to the basic game.

  • Some say it depends too much on luck.

Expert Review - Catan (Settlers of Catan)

When Settlers of Catan won the Spiel des Jahres (Germany's Game of the Year) award in 1995, few Americans knew how much fun was in store for them. Today, the game continues to be amazingly popular. The random board, constant player interaction, delicate mix of skill and luck, and quick play time (about 90 minutes) make Settlers of Catan a wonderful family game.

Players compete to build roads, settlements, and cities on the island of Catan. The island is made up of a series of hexagons, which can be placed differently every game.

The basic goal is to earn victory points, which you do by expanding your settlement on the island. You need to gather resources (by producing them yourself, or by trading with your opponents) in order to expand. Trading with other players is a major focus of the game, creating constant interaction. If you've never tried Settlers of Catan, you're missing a stellar gaming experience. The basic board game can be enhanced with expansions, and a card game also is available.

Playing Settlers of Catan

  • How to Win at Settlers of Catan: Learn how to manage your resources to increase your chances of winning. Learn about how to give priority to building new settlements, the importance of expanding to a port early in the game, upgrading your settlements to cities, buying development cards, trading, and how to play the Robber.
  • Initial Placement Strategies for Settlers of Catan: Your first task in Catan is to select two locations for your starting settlements. Learn how to make those choices wisely, based on dots, numbers, expansion, ports, resource diversity, and resource synergy.
  • Best Settlers of Catan Games and Expansions: If you want to play variations of Catan, here are some of the best choices.