Professional Catan Strategy Guide

This technique guide does not inform you how to play the game. The guidelines are explained really plainly in the game itself and are easily readily available online. This guide is to assist those who understand how to play currently however wish to be more competitive, whether face to face, online, or perhaps versus those annoying bots.

It’s gotten into parts: preliminary setup of settlements and roadways, likelihoods, advancement cards, the burglar, 5 methods to attempt (Commander, Developer, Producer, Explorer, and Queen of Sheep), the mid and late game, troubleshooting, and a couple of last words. It’s greatly longer than I at first planned and includes a high level of unpopular over-analysis.

Preliminary setup is essential in Catan. There are various levels of elegance here, beginning with the apparent and transferring to the more subtle. Great gamers think about all the aspects listed below, and just how much weight must be provided to each in a specific game depends on the precise design of the tiles and numbers.

I– Placing Settlements

  1. Get among whatever: You’re going to require all of wood, brick, wheat, sheep, and ore, so why not make certain you have them all at the start? Put your very first settlement so you get 3 various resources, and get the last 2 with your last positioning.
  2. Optimize pips: Each number has pips on it showing its possibility (out of 36) of being rolled on a provided toss of the dice. Put your settlements seeking to optimize your likelihood of getting resource cards (if you’re putting numbers according to the suggested spiral convention, the very best you can do is 13 pips, e.g. 5/6/9). To take full advantage of pips, you ought to typically prevent the desert and the coast. See the 2nd image, above.
  3. Ports: Picking late in the round typically leaves you with bad options, and seaside alternatives might end up being enticing if they feature a port (though ensure it is one with 2 hexes surrounding, not one!). Particularly excellent are ports that match well with your finest resource-gathering tiles.
  4. Get a great circulation of numbers: The perfect is to get as various number positionings as possible. This appears a little counter-intuitive, however it is terrific for knowledgeable gamers as it keeps them in the game no matter how the dice shake down. The dream preliminary positioning is something like 4/6/9 and 5/8/10 … 2/3 of the time, you will be getting a resource card, and you’ll feel included throughout.
  5. Balance resources: Attempt to get approximately the very same variety of pips of wood and brick, and likewise for ore and wheat. Paired resources like 9 of wood and 9 of brick will provide you an immediate roadway each time a 9 is rolled, and this sort of synergy is effective.
  6. Where to next? You require to think about choices for growth, and this can be an excellent tie-breaker in your choice making if you feel 2 positionings are basically equivalent. See roadways, next action.
  7. Focus on ore and wheat: There are extremely competitive techniques that require extremely little brick and wood. However no techniques can do without ore and wheat, so if you do not begin with them, you ‘d much better have a strategy of how to get them …

Obviously, the order in which you get to go will impact your chances. There are no considerable benefits inherent in going 1st/2nd/3rd/ 4th, though gamers who highly choose a specific method tend to wish to go previously. I personally choose to go 2nd or 3rd – there are typically 3 great areas on the board to begin with, however the options worsen as the board fills and picking late can leave you with bad alternatives.

II– Placing Roads

You require to point these towards where you want to develop your next settlement. This will almost constantly be towards the beyond the board. Don’t bother pointing it at that empty 5/9/10 crossway – somebody will inhabit it for sure. That 4/9 port? Perfect. Roadway positioning is everything about second-guessing your challengers: you essentially wish to point your roadway at the (n+1)th finest position left on the board where n = the variety of settlement locations left. This is difficult on round 1 of locations for apparent factors, however gets simpler as more locations are made and if you go first/last it needs to be a huge part of your settlement positioning method, too – your 2nd positioning must remain in a good area that likewise enables you to point towards another good area AND ideally hassles another person.

If your method does not include the Longest Road, attempt to point your roadway towards 2 open crossways. You’ll then have the ability to fork it and develop 2 more settlements at an expense of 2 roadways instead of 3.

III– Resources

The resources are not produced similarly. There are 19 tiles:

3 Brick|3 Ore|4 Sheep|4 Wheat|4 Wood|1 Desert (0 production).

The last images reveal what you require to construct roadways, settlements, cities and advancement cards. Wheat is distinctively a part of 3 various builds, so is the one resource everybody must make certain they have. Ore constantly requires wheat in order to be played. Wood and brick are constantly utilized together in even quantities, so attempt to stabilize these.

If you wind up with a huge excess of a resource over something it couple with, your strategies had much better consist of a port. The truth that the very same quantity of brick and wood are required in every game, however that there is another wood tile than brick indicates that brick is more extremely valued due to shortage. There is a surplus of sheep in the standard game, so it is the most convenient to trade for. Ore is the most effective resource and it is difficult to win without a good supply of it; attempt to get at least as much wheat to choose it.

IV– Probabilities

Tossing 2 six-sided dice produces among 36 various results, however since Catan utilizes the amount, the resulting overalls from 2-12 have various likelihoods of happening, as revealed above. There is only one method to roll a 2, however 5 various methods of rolling a 6. In the game, the numbers have one to 5 pips on them, and these represent the possibility in 36 of that specific resource being produced in a provided roll. Nevertheless, a normal game includes a limited variety of rolls, and the circulation is not going to match the above completely.

Often, there will be discrepancies from the averages that will outrage gamers. More 12s than sixes in a game? No fives in a whole game? You’ll see these and even worse. The 2nd picture shows 9 simulations of 72 rolls (a relatively typical number for a game), with the red dots revealing the forecasted circulation and the blue bars the observed worths (used Excel utilizing RANDBETWEEN and COUNTIF functions. This basic spreadsheet is added to the end of this action if you wish to experiment with it; simply struck “conserve” if you desire a brand-new circulation).

All sorts of discrepancies are seen; as examples, the “game” at leading left functions 2 being rolled as frequently as or more than 3, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The one at bottom right has 10 being rolled more than 6 and 8 assembled. The one in the middle has the burglar showing up just 6 times in the whole game.

In a little sample size discrepancies like these are common. Your task is to alleviate luck as much as possible, and you can do this by playing the chances (making the most of pips and getting an excellent circulation of numbers) as finest you can when you’re positioning your settlements.

V– Development Cards

The advancement card (25) circulation is as follows:

  • 14 Knights (56%).
  • 5 Victory Points (20%).
  • 2 Monopoly (8%).
  • 2 Road Building (8%).
  • 2 Year of Plenty (8%).

Despite what you draw, representing it as a knight while it’s being in front of you is an excellent concept. You do not desire the burglar resting on your tiles, and if you can ward it off with a success point card, all the much better.

  • Knight: Knights are effective – they secure your most important tiles, obstruct other gamer’s most important tiles, provide you a complimentary card (so you efficiently just invested 2 cards, and rejected a challenger one!), and get you in the race for Largest Army. If the burglar is on among your tiles, it’s almost constantly remedy to play a knight * prior to * rolling unless you have 7 cards (robbing somebody will offer you 8 cards, so if you then roll a 7, you’ll lose half your cards). Suggestions for positioning the burglar remain in the next action; they follow despite whether you move it on a roll of 7 or by playing a knight.
  • Victory points: Someone with great deals of unplayed advancement cards in front of them is a hazardous challenger – they’ve either got great deals of firepower up their sleeve or are much closer to success than they look.
  • Monopoly: here’s where keeping an eye on cards played ends up being a lot more crucial. Catan is a near best details game – it is possible to understand precisely what cards are out there, if not precisely who has actually got what – however in practice just genuine card-counting sharks can do this. However you ought to pay additional attention to dice rolls when you have a monopoly card. Additionally, peek at the stacks of resource cards – if one is getting low, struck that. A tricky technique is to trade away cards you prepare to monopolize later on in your turn. A lot of effective in the end game, monopoly cards are most likely more crucial to harm your challengers than they are to get you functional resources, so play them appropriately.
  • Road Building: attempt to play this when you have a settlement all set to address completion of it. A preferred hand of mine is 2W, 2B, 1Wh, One and a RB card – constructing 3 roadways then plopping a settlement on completion is an excellent surprise method to damage another gamer’s thoroughly laid prepare for growth.
  • Year of Plenty: This card is a little bit of a raw deal (you’ve invested 3 resource cards to get 2!), however in the early game it can be useful when specific resources are difficult to come by. Any hand can be constructed from when you can include 2 wildcards to it, and you can successfully hold a 9 card hand securely with it. Great for getting the very first city to get you in the production lead. Less beneficial later on, however you can constantly utilize it to assist purchase another advancement card.

VI– The Burglar

Utilizing the burglar well is important – usually, the burglar will show up as soon as in every 6 rolls and it likewise gets moved when playing a knight.

  • utilize it on the individual in the greatest position (not always the open points leader). Count unplayed advancement cards in somebody’s hand as points. Somebody who gets Longest Road early is seldom a risk in the long term.
  • utilize the burglar specifically on your greatest challenger. Prevent inspiring more than among your challengers to look for vengeance!
  • obstruct what that challenger requires, instead of their greatest producing tile. Their city on the 8 of ore simply got struck two times – appealing target, right? Incorrect. Block their 4 of wheat rather.
  • if your challengers are all likewise placed, striking the individual to your right (on a tile that they solely gain from) will guarantee the burglar sits there for as long as possible without retaliation. If they attempt to get you back you might have the ability to react instantly.
  • if you are doing not have a resource, do not put the burglar on it. You desire there to be great deals of it in the game so individuals will trade it to you. Rather, position it on a resource that you have a great deal of so you can increase your likelihood of trading for what you require.

VII– Commander

This technique intends initially to develop 2 cities prior to trying to develop roadways or settlements. Gamers who like this technique try to find abundant positionings on ore and wheat and do not stress much about brick and wood. They gather great deals of advancement cards and a normal winning mix will include 3 cities, 2 success point cards and biggest army. Roadway structure is frequently finished with the suitable advancement card. It’s rather possible to win by doing this without producing a single brick or wood in the whole game (by utilizing trading and/or Road Building/Year of Plenty cards to get the wood+ brick for your extra settlement( s)).

Excellent when a minimum of among the following holds true:

– board is ore-rich.
– you monopolize ore (i.e. the ore is clustered together and/or you own the most significant supply).
– you have a terrific supply of ore, wheat and sheep.
– everybody else is choosing another technique.


– whatever you can to get your very first city. Freely trade away sheep/brick/wood to do so.
– motivate other gamers to complete for longest roadway.
– ensure you leave a minimum of one area open for constructing a settlement. It is possible to win with 2 cities, biggest army and 4 triumph point cards, however you ‘d need to play well and get really fortunate.
– not get sidetracked by all that roadway- and settlement-building. Get those cities out.
– hog the ore. Your technique counts on you having the cities, and the very best method to do that is decrease the supply of ore to other gamers to a drip.
– safe and secure roughly two times as much wheat and ore as sheep, and two times as numerous sheep as wood or brick.
– remain in the race to Largest Army.


VIII– Developer

This technique concentrates on advancement cards, constructing other things just as an aside when advancement and resource cards determine it. They’ll normally wind up with the Largest Army card and the lion’s share of the triumph point cards, and typically make a fantastic annoyance of themselves. This is a terrific technique if you have excellent ore/wheat/sheep balance, however is constantly enjoyable to play, specifically due to the fact that you’ll be dropping the burglar all over the place however your board position will appear adequately weak that you’re not constantly the most apparent target yourself. It’s not uncommon for the Developer to get 3 or 4 triumph point cards and Largest Army, so they frequently just require to construct a number of settlements/cities to head out. This is remarkably easy to do with Road Building, Monopoly and/or Year of Plenty cards to assist.

Excellent when the following hold true:

– your beginning position offers you an even supply of wheat, ore and sheep.
– you take pleasure in playing in a design that truly tinkers your challengers.
– everybody else is choosing another technique.


– keep your alternatives open. This method and the Commander are just discreetly various, and if you have 3 ore, 2 wheat and 2 sheep early, you may simply wish to develop that city instead of purchasing 2 advancement cards.
– safe about very same quantity of ore as wheat, and 2/3 of this quantity of sheep. You truly do not require any brick or wood to mention when playing this method – you’ll get all you require from advancement cards and robbing other gamers.

IX– Producer

This technique intends to gather more resources than anybody else, and utilize the large weight of production volume to overwhelm your rivals.

It makes no unique effort at either Longest Road or Largest Army up until an effective engine based upon 6-8 points of cities and settlements remains in location, at which point resources are rolling in at a furious speed and you coast to success.

Nevertheless, it is most likely the more concentrated techniques will shut you out of both of the bonus offer cards unless you are truly squashing them with production, and it will be difficult for your challengers to disregard your wealth and you’ll get hit with the burglar a lot. Another issue with this method is frequently balance – in the end game you might be getting lots of cards, however if they’re not integrating well with each other you’ll be left trading with the bank extremely inefficiently. It’s difficult to win as Producer without getting a least one great port.

Excellent when the following hold true:

– your beginning position provides you a great series of resources with high likelihood.
– you have alternatives for developing excellent settlements.
– you have a beneficial port offered to you.
– everybody else is choosing another technique.


  • begin roadway, settlement, roadway, settlement. Among the settlements need to be a port, preferably 3:1. These 4 settlements will be your engine of production. Now seek to update to cities (unless hand management and/or other chances determine otherwise). Update to cities prior to constructing settlements IF your settlement areas are safe and secure.
  • It’s frequently much easier for the Producer to take the Longest Road from the Explorer than it is to take the Largest Army from the Commander or Developer.
  • win those races to juicy crossways if you wish to win the production fight.
  • protect a well balanced lineup of resources, with relatively comparable requirements for wood, brick, wheat and ore (and a minimum of some sheep).

X– Explorer

This method concentrates on stretching across the board, constructing a long roadway and settlements along it. Gamers who like this method try to find great deals of wood and brick in their preliminary positionings. A common winning mix will include 2 cities, 4 settlements and longest roadway. This method looks more powerful than it is, since it usually lets you race to 7 points (5 settlements + longest roadway) however stalls catastrophically in the end game when you frantically require ore and everybody is pounding you with the burglar and declining to trade with you since you’re in the points lead.

Great when the following hold true:

  • you can protect a strong supply of brick and wood.
  • you can see a method to get the ore you require for your cities late in the game.
  • you can get to a port to get late-game ore/wheat when wood/brick is less important.
  • everybody else is choosing another technique.


construct settlements along your roadway. Absolutely nothing even worse than having the longest roadway as the lynch pin of your method, just to have somebody develop a settlement in the middle of it!
safe and secure around two times as much wood and brick as wheat, and around two times as much wheat as sheep and ore.

XI- Queen of Sheep

This is the weakest and most set-up reliant technique however can result in wonderful success on the best board. Generally, you toss all ideas of balance out the window and gamble on a single resource for which you likewise have the matching port. Whenever I’ve seen a pure port method of this type win has actually been for sheep, since the other resources are valued more extremely and you will not have the ability to sweep them all up in the same way. Likewise, who’s going to rob you when they understand they’ll simply get a sheep? Among individuals I game with, this technique is referred to as “The Queen of Sheep”, the title self-awarded to the individual who initially pulled this off.

Great ONLY when ALL the following hold true:

  • the board is sheep abundant.
  • the sheep are clustered together and can be monopolized.
  • you have the sheep port.
  • everybody else is choosing another technique.
  • the board is ore-poor and/or severely imbalanced in between ore/ wheat and wood/brick (this will decrease everybody else enough to offer you time to win).


  • haplessly attempt to trade sheep all the time “Someone should have wood for my sheep!”. Your challengers may really succumb to it periodically (particularly if you’ve done a great task of monopolizing sheep), and when they do not, whine loudly about how unreasonable they are and trade away silently at 2:1 with your port. Undoubtedly, you will never ever need to trade unfavorably, due to the fact that you can constantly utilize your port.
  • opt for Commander as your secondary method. You desire more sheep so cities are an excellent concept.
  • protect the lion’s share of the sheep plus a minimum of a few of the 4 staying resources. If you need to trade for more than a couple of resources you’re most likely going to lose.

XII- Which Is Best?

It quite depends upon the board and on how your challengers are playing. The figure above amounts the cards required in the copying scenarios:

Leader: purchases 6 advancement cards to get Largest Army and a success point, develops 2 roadways, 2 settlements and 3 cities.
Designer: purchases 12 advancement cards to get Largest Army and 2 triumph points, develops 1 settlement and 3 cities.
Manufacturer: constructs 6 roadways, 4 settlements and 4 cities.
Explorer: constructs 10 roadways to get Longest Road, 4 settlements, and 2 cities.
Queen of Sheep: changes all ore requires with sheep, plays Commander, purchases 6 advancement cards to get Largest Army and a success point, develops 2 roadways, 2 settlements and 3 cities.

I’ve presumed that 6 advancement cards will get you 3 knights, a triumph point, and 6 cards from the knights + Year of Plenty/Road Building/Monopoly cards, and deducted these from the necessary production. YMMV.

Leader is absolutely strong, however what if the board is ore-poor? Or another person is playing Developer and secures Largest Army? Or the ore-rich areas are taken prior to you get to position your settlement( s)? Or the Producer gets the Longest Road? Or the Explorer grabs all the profitable areas? Or the greatest possibility tiles are sheep? Much better have a back-up prepare for when your chances do not match your preferred method …

Note that Producer requires a great deal of resources however they likewise gather the most, so it’s more competitive than it looks. It’s reasonable to state that Queen of Sheep is uncompetitive other than when nobody else has much ore.

If you bet the Catan AI (I just have experience with the iOS app, however I presume it is comparable on other platforms) on the hardest level, video games frequently finish with the advancement cards sold out. If this never ever occurs in your video games, you’re most likely playing a reasonably friendly design of game and nobody is playing Developer.

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