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The Settlers of Catan – The Board Game

Further Reading:

This short introduction is meant for all those who are familiar with the rules of the board game “The Settlers of Catan” but would like to know how it works as an online game. However, if you don’t know the board game at all, you should have a look at the tutorial for the board game at

All Catan games are operated in a similar way and have a comparable screen layout. Therefore, first the general operation is described by means of the Base Game, while the specifics of the individual scenarios are considered later.

Please note: In the open area (not in the premium area) of the Catan Online World a turn timer is active in this game. A player has 2 minutes and 30 seconds to finish any turn. The fellow player may extend this time span if they want to. More information on this here.

General Operation

As soon as you have started the game, you see your character on the lower left. The characters of your game partners are displayed in the corners, together with the most important game information. The name of a game partner has the color of his/her game pieces.

The icons below stand for:

Victory Points Road Segments Belonging to a Player's Longest Road Knight Cards Cards in One’s Hand Number of Resources

If a player has the “Longest Road” or the “Largest Army,” the numbers are displayed in red color.

There is also a display for special victory points. Victory Point cards, Savior of Catan (Cities & Knights), and victory points for the discovery of islands (if included in the scenario) all fall in the category “special victory points.” You can find more detailed info about possible special victory points in the descriptions of the individual scenarios.

The area for your Resource Cards is located above the Status display. Each resource is displayed as a small card; resources of the same type re grouped together. If there is not enough space available to display all Resource Cards, a number appears on the cards to indicate the number of resources of the respective type. The numbers are displayed in red if you have more than 7 resources and thus are in danger to be attacked by the robber.

The Development Cards (Knight cards, for example) are displayed to the right of the Chat. You can use the two arrows to the right and left of the fields to skim through the cards, in case you have more than two. Should you want information about a card, just mouse over it. If you want to play a card, click on it with the left mouse key. You have to confirm the action afterwards. Now is your last chance to cancel the action. If you confirm the action, it cannot be revoked.

If one of your opponents plays an Action Card, it is displayed above his/her Status window. Information about this card is shown automatically when you mouse over it.

A yellow-and-red Flag symbol next to the player’s name indicates the starting player and then the player that is currently taking his/her turn. After the starting set-up, you always begin your turn by rolling the dice. This is done via the Dice button to the left of the Chat. Before the dice are rolled, only certain Action Cards can be played (Base Game: for example, you can play a knight, to drive away the robber).

When you have finished your turn, click on the Continue symbol so the next player can roll the dice.


During the games, the Chat output window is collapsed by default, and the Chat texts are displayed inside text balloons next to the player that was addressed. However, you can expand or collapse the Chat output window at any time via the white arrow next to the "Chat"-button. When the window is expanded, you also have the usual access to the channel system.

Trade with Game Partners

When you receive resources, they are shown at the bottom of the Status display, as described above. For trading with your fellow players, click on the Trade button. The Trade menu appears above your Resources window.

The Trade menu consists of three parts:

  1. Request (above – green arrow)
    By means of the Resource buttons, you can exhibit the respective resources in the Request field. You will receive them upon successfully completing the trade.
  2. Offer (below– red arrow)
    You can fill your Offer field with resources from your inventory. For this purpose, click on the desired Resource Card in your inventory, and it moves to the Offer field. To remove the card from the Offer field, click on the card again.
  3. Bank Trade (center)
    see below

You can also request or offer any resource by leaving the Offer field or Request field empty. In this case, a “?” will be displayed in the corresponding field of your game partners, which stands for “any resource.” It is not possible to give away resources for free (Exception: Team Game).

As soon as you have set up the desired trade offer, click on the button with the green checkmark for confirmation. Now the offer is displayed to your game partners.

If one of them accepts it, above or next to the corresponding game partners you will see a small Trade box containing your original offer and a hand with the thumb up. Now you can seal the trade by clicking the Accept button. However, the thumb is down should the player reject the offer.

Of course, it is also possible that your game partners send you an alternative offer. In this case, above or next to the respective player a Trade box with his/her offer appears. Now you can click on the Accept button in the other player's Trade box, to accept the offer. After the opponent has accepted the trade on his/her part, the resources are exchanged.

While trading, you can also specify requests in your Chat window and send them (just type them in and press the Enter key).

When it is one of your opponents' turn, another button bar will open up above your Chat if a trade offer (passive trade) is made. The bar contains all the common answers to a trade offer that can be used to quickly react to an offer without having to type:

“I want more.”
“Sorry, I don’t have that.”
“I need that myself.”
“I want something different.”

Via text balloons, these established answers will be assigned directly to the respective player without appearing in the actual Chat output. Except in the case that you activate the Accept button, all actions will result in a rejection of the offer, with the “thumb down.”

Bank Trade

If you own enough of a certain resource for a 4:1, 3:1 or 2:1 trade with the Bank, and you have moved one of these resource to the Offer field, the Bank button at the center (chest) becomes active. Depending on the Harbor, the Bank automatically makes the most favorable trading proposal. The Bank trade can be carried out by clicking on the Bank button.

Instant Bank Trade

If you have many resources of the same type, e.g. by means of a monopoly, you can trade several resources with the Bank in one single action.


A player has 6 grain and a grain harbor. He/she puts one grain into the Offer field and selects 3 resources of the same type or different types in the Request field. In the Bank area of the Trade menu, 6 grain are displayed, corresponding to the exchange rate for the resources in the Request field. By clicking on the Bank button, the resources are traded via one action.


When you are building a settlement, road, or city (in Seafarers, also a ship, etc.), or you want to buy a Development Card, click on the button showing a hammer.

The Build menu with the possible building objects appears above your Chat window. Under each building object, the respective resource costs are displayed. When you click on a building object and have the resources required for building, the mouse cursor changes into the desired building object. Now you have to drop the building object at an allowed spot on the map. Possible building sites are marked with white rectangles.

Please note: You can only have a maximum of 5 settlements at the same time.


Finally, a word about the robber: If a “7” comes up when rolling the dice, all players who own more than 7 resources must discard half of their resources. Only after all players have done this, the robber can be moved. Click on the robber, and the figure will “stick” to your mouse cursor. Now you only have to click on a terrain, and the robber has a new home. Afterwards, click on a player who owns a settlement/city adjacent to the robber’s new territory, and you receive a randomly determined resource from that player.

Development Cards


If you want to use a card, click on it. You may play only one Development Card per each turn; it cannot be a card you have bought during the same turn.

Invention (2x)
You may select two resources of your choice.
Monopoly (2x)
You are asked to select a resource type. You receive all resources of this type owned by your game partners.
Road Building (2x)
You may immediately build 2 roads for free.
Knight (14x)
You move the robber to another terrain hex and may steal a resource from a player owning a settlement or city adjacent to this hex. The first player to have used 3 knights in total receives the "Greatest Army" (see below).
Victory Point card (5x)
This card is not played. It secretly increases your victory points account. Your game partners don't know that you own this victory point. You are the only one who can see that your victory points account has increased by one victory point.

The number of unplayed Development Cards of a player is displayed in the Development Cards Indicator.

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