For those of you who have never heard of the board game Settlers of Catan published by Mairfair (in the US), get out from under your rock.  Settlers of Catan is quickly becoming one of the most popular games at gaming conventions and family game nights

alike!  In Settlers the main objective is to be the first one to reach ten victory points.  There are many ways to do this though,and that’s where having a good strategy is extremely important in order to have a good chance at winning!  Here are the most commonly used strategies and how to use them effectively.

The Ore/Grain Strategy: The most popular strategy, a player using the ore/grain strategy will place his or her two starting settlements on intersections touching many ore and grain hexes with commonly rolled numbers.  When using this strategy, your first purchase should be a city.  If you waste your time buying mystery cards at the beginning of the game, you will likely fall behind quickly.  Once you have successfully turned both your original settlements into cities, you should work on buying lots of mystery cards.  These mystery cards will help you expand by letting you place roads, and steal other players’ lumber and brick to build roads and settlements.  Once you have two roads and a settlement built, concentrate on building another city.  Then, go back to getting mystery cards, building roads and settlements, and then turning them into cities.  This strategy will lead itself to you getting the largest army.

The Lumber/Brick Strategy: The opposite of the ore/grain strategy, players using the lumber/brick strategy will want to concentrate on building their original settlements on highly rolled lumber and brick hexes.  They will then start building roads and settlements in one straight path in order to not only diversify what resources they receive, but also to achieve longest road, and possibly cut off the slowly expanding ore/grain strategy players. 

The Balance Strategy: In this strategy, the player will want to place their original settlements so that they are touching at least four of the five resources, making sure to only place settlements next to hexes that are rolled often.  They will then begin buying cities, roads, and settlements based upon how the board looks, and what resources they need at the moment.  This is a basic strategy that many beginners use, but it is still used all the way up to the world championship level.  It is used when other strategies don’t provide a huge advantage, or if a player doesn’t want to take a lot of risk, as it is the safest strategy.

The Common Resource Strategy: In almost all games of Settlers, there is one resource which will be much more abundant than the others.  Players using this strategy will place both their settlements on at least one highly rolled number of that resource.  The most important thing to remember when using this strategy is that you absolutely need to be on the most common resource to have a shot with this strategy. 

Now that you know the most commonly used strategies in Settlers of Catan, you will be able to play a better game and have a greater chance of winning.  Don’t limit yourself to these strategies though.  There are plenty of other lesser known strategies that can only be learned by experience.  Play as often as you can, and remember to have fun playing Settlers of Catan, one of the best board games out there!

Settlers of Catan