Catan has an aura of competition. It’s a game that will change the most passive player into a bandit. Fortunately, there are some tactics we can use to give us an edge in this classic strategy game. This guide will go over the Catan strategies that win games.
If you’re looking for rules instead of a strategy guide go here.
Generally, you will want to go with a strategy that no one else is playing to leverage your position later in the game. Fighting with someone over resources and locations will quickly stunt progress.
Pick one of the following 5 tactics and stick with it. Early game it is easier to switch tactics up but you don’t want to completely change your approach late game unless you see and obvious advantage to it.
Strategy #1: Build Cities Quickly
This is arguably one of the strongest approaches. The tactic plays off of growth expansion once you get cities going by building 2 cities before building roads or additional settlements.
This tactic works best when you have lots of ore and wheat or a monopoly on ore.
- Gather most (or all) of the ore.
- Get your first city built as quickly as possible. Trade unneeded resources.
- Collect as many development cards as possible.
- Build an additional settlement.
- Attempt to get largest army.
Strategy #2: Collect Resources
This tactic focuses on building an engine of resource production. The largest downside of this is the obvious advantage you will have over your opponents which they will use to stunt your growth.
Additionally, you will want to make sure your resources combine well to avoid trading with the bank. Having at least one port will help when using this tactic.
- Alternate roads and settlements until you have 4 of each. Try to get one port.
- Have a good balance of resources.
- Upgrade to cities (possible earlier if you have no pressure on settlements locations).
- Target longest road over largest army based on the situation.
Strategy #3: Focus on Development Cards
As the title suggests, here we will focus on buying a big pile of development cards. Buildings and roads are usually built from the cards that are picked up.
Having a good source of sheep, wheat, and ore is best.
Generally, you won’t appear to be a strong player in the game since you won’t take up as much of the board which makes this a great stealth strategy. You should be able to pick up 3 to 4 victory point cards and have the largest army.
- Secure sources of sheep, wheat, and ore.
- Gather development cards.
- Build a city.
- Rob other players of brick/wood when needed.
- Win largest army.
Strategy #4: Expand Across the Board
Building the longest road with settlements along the way is a viable strategy in Catan. However, this isn’t the easiest strategy to win with for a few reasons:
- You will be targeted due to the strong board positions and points lead.
- The tactic stalls later in the game when you need ore.
If you do go for this tactic: You will need plenty of wood and brick.
- Gather wood and brick.
- Build the longest road possible.
- Place settlements occasionally to keep other players from destroying your work.
Strategy #5: Go All In on One Resource
This is going to be the least likely strategy to win the game. It requires a near monopoly on a single resource and a matching port. Ultimately, this strategy will require no one to actively try to gather or steal the resource you pick. Which leads me to the biggest point on this strategy:
Sheep can win the game.
Pretty much every resource is valued more highly. You can fly under the radar and end up with the winning position.
- Get a monopoly on a resource.
- Have a matching port to trade with.
- Build cities.
- Gather some of the other resources to minimize trading with players.