Best Expansions for Settlers of Catan

Rivals of Catan Plus Seafarers, Traders, Explorers, and Cities Expansions

The Settlers of Catan, a board game designed by Klaus Teuber, is a worldwide phenomenon. This board game has sold more than 22 million copies in 30 languages worldwide. 

In general gameplay, players become settlers. Each settler is attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players gain points as their settlements grow.

The world of Catan has generated more than a dozen expansions, variants, spin-offs (like Star Trek Catan), card games, a dice game, travel...MORE editions, and a game for younger players. You may love the original, but what comes next for you? Take a look at what's out there and figure out what's your next best pick.

  • 01 of 07
    Settlers of Catan
    Flaimbow/Flickr

    Nothing tops the original. More than any other single game, Settlers of Catan was responsible for the growth of designer games in the U.S. On the island of Catan, players work to obtain the resources they need to build roads, towns, and cities. A variable game board, a good mix of luck and skill, and strong player interaction all combine to make it a classic for three to four players.

  • 02 of 07

    This expansion simply allows one or two additional players to take part in the fun of the original game. If your gaming group regularly includes five or six people, this should be your first acquisition after the original.

  • 03 of 07

    This card game version is a complete stand-alone game for two players. The basic theme is the same—use resources to build roads, cities and civic improvements—but the gameplay is rather different. Some gamers have mixed reactions to this game, but many find it a great way to play in the Catan universe with just two players.

  • 04 of 07

    This first expansion to the original game adds more islands, plus pirates, gold, ships, and more. Build ships, set sail, and conquer the magnificent island world of Catan. This expansion includes nine voyages of discovery. It basically takes the original Catan and makes it bigger. A five to six player expansion is also available for Seafarers.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    The fourth expansion set, which was released in 2013, Explorers and Pirates sends you on a mission by the Council of Catan to build new outposts and encounter dangerous pirate lairs, rich fishing grounds, and helpful indigenous villages. This expansion has new scenarios and some new rules for putting a new twist on the game.

  • 06 of 07

    Cities and Knights

    The second expansion for Catan, this expansion set builds upon the base Catan game by introducing three new commodities: coin, paper, and cloth. You use commodities to upgrade your cities through different levels. Your aim is to earn progress cards for your cities, which can't be bought but rather must be earned by developing your cities. Knights and barbarians are thrown into the mix, as city defense is key to survival and progress.

    Compared to the original, this game is more complex and...MORE strategic. With more strategy comes a lengthier game and slower gameplay. For those looking for more of a challenge, this expansion may just be the thing you prefer.

  • 07 of 07

    Traders and Barbarians

    Traders and Barbarians is the third expansion to the Settlers of Catan games. It contains a series of new scenarios and small variations. Some prefer this game as an expansion because it allows you to take the original game and boost it with more diverse storyline potential.