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PlayCatan – Catan Board Game – Cities & Knights

“Cities & Knights” is an expansion of the board game “The Settlers of Catan.” Before playing this expansion, you should at least have played a few rounds of the Base Game.

At first glance, this expansion doesn’t seem very different from the Base Game.

In “Cities & Knights,” you also build settlements, roads, and cities. Adjacent terrains produce resources, and there’s the “Longest Road.” The players trade, and the first one to reach the required number of victory points wins the game – 13 victory points in the case of "Cities & Knights."

The first major difference appears in the set-up phase: instead of a second settlement, each player builds a city. Also new is a third die, the Event Die.


The robber now has an ally! Barbarians, represented by a barbarian ship, are threatening Catan!

The robber may be moved not until the first barbarian attack (if a '7' is rolled or the card 'Bishop' is played), but you have still to reduce your resources if you have more then allowed in your storage if a '7' is rolled. At the beginning of the game, the ship is 7 steps away from the island (upper indicator: distance). Each time the black barbarian ship comes up when rolling the event die, the barbarian ship advances one step further towards Catan. When it arrives, a battle ensues between the barbarians (center indicator: strength of barbarians) and the knights of Catan (lower indicator: strength of knights). But where are those brave warriors?


In contrast to the Base Game, the knights are not bought as Development Cards but are available as the building project “Knight” in the Build menu.

Building a knight costs 1 ore and 1 wool. If you have these resources and want to build a knight, click on the Knight symbol in the expanded Build menu.

Once you have built a knight, click on a free intersection that is connected to at least one of your roads. The knight is placed.

A knight is very useful. With him, you can interrupt alien roads, drive away the robber from a neighboring terrain, and – together with the knights of other players – defend Catan against the barbarians. However, all these actions are only possible with activated knights. There are knights of three different levels; level 3 knights can only be placed if city expansion in the political direction (blue) has reached level 3. (See below)

Leve 1 Leve 2 Level 3 Level 1 - activated

A knight action can be performed via the Knight menu.

Upgrade a Knight

Knights can be promoted by two levels, from “weak” to “strong” and “powerful." Each promotion costs one ore and one wool; it is carried out with a click on the Promote symbol.

The strength points of a knight are indicated on the knight’s shield. A weak knight has one strength point, a strong knight, two, and a powerful knight, three.

Activate a Knight

Activation of a knight costs one grain. If you have one grain and click on the Activation symbol, the knight raises his banner. Now he is activated and can perform other actions. Only activated knights count in the battle against the barbarians.

Drive Away the Robber

Any player who has an activated knight can drive the robber away from an adjacent terrain by clicking on the Robber symbol.

Move Knight

You can move knights to another intersection along your own continuous road. To do so, click on the Move symbol. You can drive away an opposing knight that interrupts your own road by dragging a stronger knight of your own to the spot he is occupying.

A knight that was moved or used to drive away a robber is automatically deactivated. A knight can be used for only one action per turn. After he has performed an action, however, you can reactivate him with grain during the same turn.

A click on the red “X” closes the Knight menu.

Attention: Each player can build 6 knights at most: two weak, two strong, and two powerful knights. For example, if you own 2 strong knights and one weak knight, you can't upgrade the weak knight. First, you would have to upgrade a strong knight to a powerful knight.

For each player, the sum of the strength points of his/her knights is indicated in his/her Status indicator.

Battle Against the Barbarians

When the barbarians arrive on Catan (distance 0), a battle ensues. The barbarians have as many strength points as there are cities (and metropolis) on Catan. At the beginning of the game, there are 3 or 4 cities, depending on the number of players; therefore, the strength of the barbarians is “3” or “4.” Catan’s strength results from the sum of the strength points of all knights.

Catan’s Knights Win

Catan wins if all knights of Catan together have as many strength points as the barbarians (or more). The player who contributed most of the strength points for victory, the Savior of Catan, is awarded a special victory point. If several players contributed an equal number of strength points for victory, each of those players is awarded with a Progress Card (see below).

The Barbarians Win

In this case, the barbarians loot the Catanian cities. The player who contributed the least number of strength points for defense loses a city. It is replaced with a settlement.

If several players contributed the least for defense, each of them will lose a city.


Unlike in the Base Game, in "Cities & Knights" there is no double production of resources for a city in the vicinity of a mountains, pasture, or forest hex. You only receive one of the resources of the respective terrain, and one additional commodity:

  • Forest:
    Lumber and paper

  • Mountains:
    Ore and coins

  • Pasture:
    Wool and cloth

City Expansion

If you have commodities, you can expand your cities in three areas:

For expansion in the blue area - politics - you need coins. For expansion in the yellow area - trade - you need cloth, and for the green area - science - you need paper.

If you want to build an expansion level and have the required commodities, click on one of the three City Expansion windows in the left lower corner. The commodities required for building are automatically withdrawn from your inventory.

Each area can be expanded in 5 levels. The first level costs 1 commodity; each of the following levels costs one additional commodity. For example, level 4 of the political area costs 4 coins. Click on one of the three City Expansion windows to learn about the costs for the next expansion level as well as its buildings.

Once the first level of a certain direction for expansion is built, 2 red dice appear. With each expansion, another die is added.

Progress Cards

On the event die, three city gates with the colors of the directions for city expansion – blue, yellow, and green - are depicted. If the City Gate symbol comes up when the event die is rolled, all players meeting the following condition receive a Progress Card:

The currently rolled red die must be displayed in the player’s Expansion window that shows the color of the city gate rolled.

Progress Cards appear in the Cards window. You can play a Progress Card by left-clicking on it. A right-click on the card reveals an explanatory text. If you have various cards, you can skim through them by clicking on the small arrows on the right and left.

Attention: You are not allowed to have more than 4 Progress Cards. If it is not your turn and you receive a fifth card, you will be asked to discard one card. Images and descriptions of the individual Progress Cards can be found in the document “Cities & Knights – The Progress Cards.”

The city expansion has further advantages. When you reach the third level of an area of city expansion, you obtain an additional, permanent advantage:

  • Political Direction (blue):
    Strong knights can be upgraded to powerful knights.

  • Trade Direction (yellow):
    You can trade 2 commodities of the same type for a resource or another commodity.

  • Scientific Direction (green):
    When rolling a number for which no resource is obtained, you can choose any one resource (exception: a “7” is rolled).

The Green (Science) Progress Cards
Alchemist (2x)
This card allows you to determine the die roll result for the red and the white die. A menu appears where you can select the red and the white die.
Building Crane (2x)
On your turn, a city expansion costs you one commodity less. Let's assume you have expanded a blue City Expansion Window (Politics) up to the second level. You need 3 coins for the next level, but you only have 2. The Building Crane substitutes the missing third coin. If you want to use the Building Crane, click on the Building Crane card first and then on the respective City Expansion Window.
Foundry (2x)
Play this card to receive 2 Recource Cards "Ore" for each mountains hex adjacent to which you own at least one settlement or city.
Irrigation (2x)
Play this card to receive 2 Recource Cards "Grain" for each fields hex adjacent to which you own at least one settlement or city.
Printing Press (1x)
This card immediately increases your victory points account by one victory point. Unlike in the Base Game, Victory Point cards are not secret in Cities & Knights.
Inventor (2x)
You may switch two numbers, but never the "2," "12," "6," and "8." You are asked to click on 2 terrain hexes whose numbers you want to switch.
Master Builder (1x)
You may immediately build a city wall around one of your cities.
Doctor (2x)
You pay 1 grain and 1 ore less for upgrading a settlement to a city.
Smithy (2x)
You may promote two of your knights by one level, free of charge (promotion to level three is only possible if you already reached level three of the blue city expansion). Mighty knights (level three) cannot be promoted further. If you play this card, click on the two knights (or the one knight) you want to promote.
Road Building (2x)
You may immediately build 2 roads (in combination with Seafarers, also 2 ships) free of charge.
The Yellow (Trade) Progress Cards
Merchant (6x)
Play this card and click on a terrain hex where you have a settlement or city. From now on, you may trade the resource produced by this terrain at a 2:1 rate. Owning the merchant game piece is worth 1 victory point. You lose these advantages as soon as a game partner plays a Merchant card and moves the merchant game piece.
Large Harbor (2x)
Offer one of your Resource Cards to each of your game partners. They must give you a commodity for the resource if they have one.
Trade Fleet (2x)
Until you end your turn, you may trade a resource type or a commodity of your choice at a 2:1 rate as often as you like.
Trade Master (2x)
Click on the avatar of a game partner who owns more victory points than you. His resources and commodities are displayed. You may steal 2 resources or commodities from him. Click on the symbols to take the resources or commodities.
Commodity Monopoly (2x)
You are asked to determine a commodity. Each of your game partners must give you a card of this commodity type if he has one.
Resource Monopoly (4x)
You are asked to determine a resource. Each of your game partners must give you 2 cards of this resource type if he has them.
The Blue (Politics) Progress Cards
Bishop (2x)
Move the robber to a different terrain hex. Draw one Resource Card or one Commodity Card from each player who owns a settlement or city adjacent to this hex.
Diplomat (2x)
Click on any open road of your choice; it is removed. If you click on one of your own roads, you may place it again as provided for in the rules.
Commander (2x)
Play this card to immediately activate all your knights.
Wedding (2x)
Each of your game partners having more victory points than you must give you 2 cards of his choice (resources and/or commodities).
Intrigue (2x)
You may displace any one foreign knight of your choice from an intersection if you reach this intersection with one of your own roads or ships.
Saboteur (2x)
Each of your game partners having more victory points than you immediately loses half of his resources and commodities.
Spy (3x)
If you play this card, click on a game partner's avatar. His Progress Cards are displayed. You may select one of these cards.
Deserter (2x)
Click on a game partner's avatar. He must remove one of his knights. You may place this knight on one of your free intersections (one of your roads or ships must lead to this intersection).
Constitution (1x)
This card immediately increases your victory point account by one victory point. Unlike in the Basic Game, Victory Point cards are not secret in Cities & Knights.


The player who first reaches the fourth level of an area of city expansion may click on a city of his/her choice and thus convert it into a metropolis. A metropolis is worth 4 victory points. A crown appears on top of the corresponding City Expansion window, to indicate that a player has created a metropolis within a certain area of expansion. Metropolises are not affected by the barbarian attack. If a player only owns metropolises and settlements but no city he can not be harmed by the barbarians.

City Wall

A city wall costs 2 brick. If you want to build a city wall, open the Build menu and click on the City Wall symbol. Next, click on one of your cities: now a city wall surrounds the city. With each city wall, the number of resources and commodities you can own when rolling a “7” rises by a factor of 2.


The Merchant comes into play only when the Progress Card “Merchant” is played. Put the Merchant figure on a terrain next to one of your settlements or cities. Now you can trade the resource type of this terrain hex at a 2:1 rate, for as long as the merchant is standing on the hex. You can move the merchant only if you play a Merchant card. Owning a merchant is worth one victory point. The color of the merchant indicates which player currently owns the merchant.

Just go ahead and play!

“Cities & Knights” is not complicated. Even if you don’t have an overall picture of the game yet, just dare to play your first game! During the game, you will get enough hints on what to do in specific situations. Your game partners will also be happy to help you – after all, everyone was a beginner at some point.