The Settlers of Catan card game: Rules

Article originally published at The Game Cabinet

Published by Frankh-Kosmos
Designed by Klaus Teuber
Graphics by Franz Vohwinkel
Translated by Peter Card
Copyright 1996 Frankh-Kosmos
2 players

Distributed from The Rules Bank by Mike Siggins

A Short Overview of the Game

Settle Catan! You begin with a small Principality. Your two settlements are worth 2 victory points - with 12 points you will have won!

Throw both dice to begin your turn. The results effect both players. The event die causes a random event. The production die causes raw material production. Stored raw materials are recorded using the landscape cards. The symbols on the lower edge of each card show whether there are none, one, two or three units of the appropriate raw material stored there. When raw materials are produced or consumed, the land card is rotated. Subsequently, you can play cards from your hand.

You can play action cards against your opponent, or you can be magnanimous, and develop your own principality, first laying a road and then new settlements. New land cards are be laid next to these settlements, increasing your raw material production. Settlements can be upgraded to towns, worth 2 victory points. Additional upgrades bring more VPs. However, trade or knights are also promising alternatives. The "Knight" and "Mill" tokens are each worth 1 VP, and their owner is therefore hard to beat. Finally, you replace the cards you have played from, drawing from one of the piles. Then it is your opponent's turn.

Laying Out the Playing Area

1. Sort out the 18 cards showing a shield symbol on the back.

2. Each player takes the 9 cards showing his own coat of arms for his starting line up. (either red/white or red/black). Each player lays his 9 cards in front of him.

  1. The road is in the centre.
  2. One settlement is laid on each side of the road.
  3. The 6 landscape cards are laid diagonally adjacent to the settlements, in the positions marked 1-6 on the diagram. The order doesn't matter. Leave a little space between the cards, so that you can rotate them.

IMPORTANT: Place the landscape cards so that the single raw material symbol is on the lower edge. This shows that one unit of raw material is available on each land card.

3. Preparation of Resources

All the remaining cards are sorted by the symbols on their backs, and laid in 10 piles, facedown. The development cards [no symbol shown] are laid in 5 roughly equal piles, face down, completing the resources. All the piles of cards are available for use by both players, when they need new cards.[ ie piles of event cards, roads, towns, settlements, lands and 5 piles of development cards]

4. The two dice (Event and Production), together with the Knight and Mill tokens, are laid ready for use.

5. Each player draws 3 cards as follows:

The starting player is selected by rolling the numbered die. He picks out one of the 5 development card piles, looks through it, and selects 3 cards. His opponent chooses a different pile [ 1 of the other 4 development card piles], and likewise chooses 3 cards to hold in his concealed hand. The sequence of cards must not be altered while choosing the cards. The piles are then put back where they came from, without mixing them up.

Tip: For beginners, it is recommended that, if possible, upgrade cards (with green text fields) be selected.

ATTENTION: Action cards (with yellow text fields) cannot be played until each player has had a turn.

Course of the Game: Overview

The starting player begins, then the turn alternates between the players. Whoever has the turn throws both the event and production dice together, then performs the following actions, in order.

1. The event die roll must be obeyed, effecting both players

2. All land cards bearing the number on the production-die roll receive a new unit of raw material. See "Recording Raw Material Levels"!

3. The player can play one or more action cards

4. The player can trade raw materials and/or develop his own principality.

5. The player fills up his hand. (normally bringing it up to 3 cards)

Now the player's turn ends, and his opponent's turn begins.

Throughout game, both players must determine:

1. Who has the strongest force of knights: The symbol for knight's strength is the iron glove, the associated black number gives the strength points. If a player has more strength points than his opponent, he has the strongest force of knights at his disposal, and receives the Knight token, worth 1 VP. The token is placed on one of his settlements or towns.

2. Who is the biggest trader: The symbol for trade is the Mill in a circle. If a player has a town in his principality, and more trade points than his opponent, he is the biggest trader, and receives the Mill token, worth 1 VP. The token must be placed on one of his towns.

These tokens and the associated VPs switch between the players.

General Rule: If no player has more strength, neither can have the corresponding token. If a stalemate arises during the course of play, the token must be placed to one side.

 

Recording Raw Material Levels

When a landscape card receives a unit of raw materials, it must be rotated to show the next highest number on its lower edge. If the player uses a unit of raw materials, the corresponding land card must be rotated to show the next lowest number. No more than 3 units of raw materials can be stored on a landscape card.

Course of the Game in Detail

1. Obeying the Event Die Roll

a) The Tournament

When the tournament is rolled, both players add up the tournament points on the knight cards in front of them ( red numbers). The highest total wins and receives as a reward any one unit of raw material. That is, he turns one of his land cards to the next highest number. If both players have an equal number of tournament points, neither receives a reward.

b) Advantageous Trade

When the trade symbol is rolled, the player holding the Mill token takes a raw material unit from his opponent. Both must rotate an appropriate land card.

IMPORTANT: If neither player holds the Mill token, this event has no effect. As long as a player has no town, his trade points do not count. Trade points only count when the player has a town.

c) Robbery

When the robber is rolled, each player counts the raw materials on his land cards. A player with more than 7 units loses all his Ore and Wool.

IMPORTANT: Land cards protected by an adjacent fortified warehouse are excluded from the raw material total.

d) Successful Year

When the sun is rolled, each player receives one raw material of his choice.

e) Event Card

When the "?" is rolled, the player who threw it takes the top card from [from the event pile] and reads it out. The instructions on the card must be carried out, then the card is replaced at the bottom of the pile.

If a player holds more than allowed hand limit due to an event card, he must immediately discard the surplus, replacing them under one of the 5 development piles. He can choose which cards to discard.

2. Recording Raw Material Production

The production die roll effects both players. All landscape cards bearing a number matching the die roll receive 1 unit of raw material. That is, each of these cards is rotated to the next highest number. No landscape card can hold more than 3 units of raw materials.

Example: A player has two mountain cards, numbered "5" and "2". The 5-er already has 3 units, the 2-er only has 1. The player throws a "5"; He receives no Ore, as the mountain numbered "5" already has the maximum. An overflow to the 2-er is not possible.

3. Action Cards

You will find some cards in the development pile with yellow text background. These cards cost nothing to play. A player can play one or more Action cards in his turn, laying them face up on the table and immediately following the instructions. If it is not specified when the card can be played, it can be used at any time, until the build phase. Once played, action cards cannot be used again during the course of the game.

IMPORTANT: Two of the Action Cards (Bishop and Herbalist), allow the player to react immediately to action cards played by his opponent and counter them with his own cards. [ i.e. they are counter cards]

If a player exceeds his hand maximum due to the use of Action cards he must immediately discard the excess cards and replace them under one of 5 development card piles. He can choose which cards to discard.

4. Exchanging Raw Materials and/or Developing your Principality

a) Trade

A player can exchange raw materials with his opponent at any time. There are no constraints on trade.

A player can exchange the raw materials found in his own principality. He spends three similar raw materials, reducing the value of the corresponding lands, and receives any 1 raw material of his choice, increasing the value of the corresponding card.

This 3:1 exchange rate lasts until the advent of the trade fleet improves it to 2:1.

Example: A player with a timber fleet can always trade, within his principality, 2 units of timber for one unit of any other raw material.

b) Development of the Principality

Basic rule: All cards that have raw material symbols in the top left corner, can only be played when the player pays these raw materials. The player plays the card from his hand onto the table in his principality, and pays the required raw materials.

Example: Whoever plays the knight Gotz Ironfist must pay 2 wheat, two wool and 2 ore; That means that he must rotate the corresponding land cards and reduce each by two units.

The player can build any number of things [lit. carry out any number of building plans], the necessary raw materials must be available

When building a road, settlement or town, take the corresponding card from the resource piles. The building cost is shown on the back of the card. The player lays these cards in his principality. Roads and settlements can only be placed in the middle row.

Roads: You must always start by building a road next to a settlement. This makes it possible to build a new settlement. Two roads cannot be built next to each other.

[the diagram shows examples of illegal roads, one built next to another road, and one built in the upper row]

Settlements: When a settlement is built, two face down cards must immediately be drawn draw from the landscape card pile. The land cards are laid in the upper and lower rows, diagonally next to the settlement. The player chooses which card goes above, and which below. New land cards always enter play with zero raw materials. Each settlement is worth 1 VP.

Towns: When a town is played, it is laid on top of the settlement that is being upgraded. The settlement card remains underneath. Each town is worth 2 VPs.

Hint: In contrast to the boardgame "Settlers of Catan", a town does not double the raw materials produced.

Settlements and towns can be upgraded. These upgrade cards, with green or red text fields, are placed directly above or below the Settlement/Town.

Settlements: Each settlement can only take 2 upgrades, and only upgrades with green text fields. One upgrade will be placed above the settlement, the 2nd below.

Towns: Each town can take 4 upgrades, 2 above the town and 2 below. The town upgrades, with red text fields, are not allowed for settlements.

Green Upgrades: These upgrades for settlements and towns comprise either Units (Knights or Fleets) or Buildings, (Warehouse, Sawmill, Castle etc) Territorial upgrades must be placed next to the corresponding landscape card, in order to function. (So for example, the mill must be placed next to a wheatfield, so that the yield from this land will be doubled. if the mill was placed between two wheatfields, the yield from both would be doubled.)

Red Upgrades: They can only be placed on towns. These cards either provide additional VPs or Trade points. All red upgrades count as buildings

5. Replenishing Your Hand

At the end of his turn, and only then, a player can replenish his hand up to 3 cards. If he has the necessary cards face up in his principality, (eg. Cloister), he can replenish to more than 3 cards.

There are two ways to replenish

1. The player draws the top card from one of the development piles, and takes it into his hand.

2. The player spends any two raw materials (similar or different), and takes one of the development piles. He inspects all the cards and picks one to take into his hand, then he replaces the pile, face down. Important: While looking through the pile, the order of the cards must not be altered. The pile can never be shuffled.

If the player takes more cards, he must choose one of these possibilities for each card.

Example: A player must draw three cards to replenish. First, he spends 2 raw materials and searches pile A for a card. Then he spends two more to search pile B. Last, he draws the top card from pile A, without paying. [he already looked at this card the first time]

Changing a Card

If a player does not need to replenish his hand, he can change at most one of his cards. He slips the card face down under any one of the development piles, then he can take a new card, using one the two methods described above.

Important: Newly acquired cards cannot be played in the same turn.

The player's turn ends when he replenishes his hand. His opponent begins his turn.

End of the Game

The game ends immediately when a player has reached 12 VPs

Tip: To shorten your first practice game, play for fewer VPs

Refer to this section when questions arise during the game

List of Action cards (yellow text field)

Black Knight

(Text: Roll the die. On a 1-5, your opponent must take back into his hand the knight of your choice. On a 6 you take back a knight of his choice)

Firedevil

(Text: Roll the die. On a 1-5, your opponent must take back into his hand the building of your choice. On a 6, you take back the building of his choice)

Spy

(Text: Pick a card from your opponents hand, that you can play immediately )

Herbalist [Lit. Plantwitch]

(Text: Play this card against the Black Knight, so that your opponent will also lose on a 4,5,6. Play the card before the die is rolled)

Robbery

(Text: Throw the die. On a 1-5 you can steal any 2 raw materials from your opponent. On a 6 he steals two raw materials of his choice from you.)

Scout

(Text: Play this card when a settlement is built, and select any two landscape cards from the pile. Shuffle the deck afterwards)

Bishop

(Text; Play this card against "Robbery" or "Firedevil", so that your opponent also loses on a die roll of 3,4,5)

Alchemist

(Text: Play this card before your die roll, and you yourself define the result of the production roll)

Trader

(Text: Take 2 raw materials from your opponent and give him any 1 of your raw materials in exchange)

Caravan

(Text: Export your stored raw materials. Give up any 2 raw materials , and take any other 2)

List of Event cards (blue text field)

Plague

(Text: Each land adjacent to a town loses one raw material. Protected by: Bath House or Waterworks)

Master Builder

(Text: Each player can choose any card from one of the development piles, and then gives one back, slipping it underneath any development pile)

Civil War

(Text: each player must take back into his hand a knight or fleet card. The opponent chooses which one)

Bumper Harvest

(Text: Each land adjacent to a warehouse receives a raw material from it)

Conflict

(Text: Whoever holds the knight token chooses two cards from his opponent's hand and puts them back under any pile)

Progress

(Text: Each player gets any raw material for each Cloister, each library, and each university)

Additional action card not listed in rulebook

New Year

(Text: Shuffle the event pile)

List of Territorial Upgrade cards (green text fields)

Production Upgrades

Mill (Text:The Production of neighbouring wheatfields is doubled)
Sawmill (Text:The Production of neighbouring forests is doubled)
Brickworks (Text:The Production of neighbouring clay fields is doubled)
Wool Factory (Text:The Production of neighbouring sheep fields is doubled)
Iron Foundry (Text:The Production of neighbouring mountains is doubled)

 

Example: A mill lies next to 2 wheatfields. If the number of one of these wheatfields is rolled, the land receives 2 wheat instead of 1. If the land already has 2 wheat, it only gets one more.

Trading Fleet

(Text for Timber Fleet: You can trade 2 timber for 1 of any other raw material)

Fortified Warehouse

(Text: The stored raw materials in the 2 adjacent landscape cards are not counted for the Robber event)

Smithy

(Text: Each knight gets an extra strength point)

Example: A player has 2 knights in his principality, with strength 2 and 3 (Total strength 5) If he builds a smithy, his knights are each increased in strength by 1 for a total of 7 points

Cloister

(Text: You can have 1 extra card in your hand)

Knight

(Text: Name and motto)

List of Town Upgrades (red text fields)

Bath House

(Text: Protects all 4 lands adjacent to this town from Plague)

Waterworks

(Text: Protects all landscape cards in your principality from the Plague)

Library

(Text: You can hold 1 extra card in your hand)

Harbour

(Text: is worth an extra trade point)

Market, Trading Account, Trading Guild

(Text: fresh food on the table from the countryside of Catan)

Town Hall

(Text: It costs one less raw material to search for a card in a pile)

Church

(Text: Protects all knights and fleets in this town from Civil War)

Mint

(Text: You can exchange 1 gold for 1 of any other raw material)

The Colossus of Catan

(Text: Glory and Honour to the Builder)


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