Top 3 Tips on Catan – When you are first placing settlements.

Catan previously called "Settlers of Catan" is a classic in boardgame design. It is probably one of the most successful of the games of its type and has generated numerous expansions.

The first thing you must decide when playing the Catan Board Game is where to place your initial settlements.

It is vital because it affects your in-game resources and influences your strategy from the start. 

Settlements are placed at the corners of hexagons and can touch between 1 and 3 hexagons on the board. Roads are then placed along the side of hexagons and are used to connect player settlements.

The placements of Settlements in Catan cannot be next to each other. They must have at least two road segments between them. At the start, each player in-turn puts one settlement and one road attached on the board.

Player one goes first, then player 2, then 3, and finally player 4, but then in reverse order 4-3-2-1. So, all players place two settlement-road combos. 


1.Three is better than two.


There are 19 tiles that represent different land types. The lands producing resources which you will need throughout the game.

4x Pastures producing (Wool)

4x Forest producing (Lumber)

4x Fields producing (Grain)

3x Hills producing (Bricks)

3x Mountains producing (Ore)

Place your first settlement on the corners of 3 different land types. Then place your second settlement on the remaining 2 land types you did not get. 

Avoid the 1x Desert Tile, it produces no resources throughout the game. 


2.Count the dots


When the Catan board is first set up, you place a numbered counter on each land tile apart from the Desert tile. The counters have numbers ranging from 2 to 12 but without a number 7.

Except for 2 and 12, all counters in the series appear twice. So, there are two counters for the number 3 up to 11.

At the beginning of each player’s turn, the player rolls two dice.

The sum of both dice shows which land tiles will produce a resource during that turn. Each player with a settlement touching that tile will receive a resource card. 2 cards if the settlement is a city.

Each counter has several dots on it. This shows the times that number would be the result of rolling 2 dice every 36 dice rolls.

For example, a land title with the number 5 on it, is likely to pay out 4 times every 36 dice rolls (on average). The numbers 2 and 12 are the most unlikely numbers to come up. Therefore, they only have 1 dot on their counters.

The higher the dots count the more resources you are likely to receive during the game.

A total dot count of 11-13 will generally result in strong resource production.


3.Select different numbers


Placing your settlements on different numbered land tiles, not the same number twice.

Then no matter what numbers you roll, you will receive regular resource cards. Meaning you can build steady and consistently throughout the game.

Sudden huge pay-outs can lead to issues with the robber.

If you have with lots of resource cards in your hands, you are likely to be robbed. Either by other players or being forced to discard due to 7 being rolled.

As well, players target settlements on land tiles with the numbers 6 and 8. Because it has more impact in preventing regular pay-outs. 


I hope you will find these 3 Top Tips helpful and Catan will give you as much enjoyment playing as it has given me.


Check out our other Neverboard blogs on Catan


If you like Catan you may also like to add to your collection and play the expansions games:

Catan Traders & Barbarians Expansion

Catan Cities & Knights Expansion

Or add more players with Catan 5 & 6 Player Expansion


Or alternatively why not try out different themes based upon the Catan game like.

Catan Starfarers Edition

Catan A-Game of Thrones Edition: Brotherhood of the Watch

Or you would like to play on the move with Catan Traveller Edition

Board gamesCatanStrategy board games