Best Sites to Play Catan Online

Today we will be listing down the best free to play Catan games on different platforms. We will also be taking a look at what makes these games good, as well as the reasons why Catan players don’t frequent them that much.

Best Sites to Play Catan Online
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There are many places online where you can play Settlers of Catan, one of the most popular board games ever created. Some have pay-to-play models, but most are free.

Today we will be listing the best free-to-play Catan games on different platforms.

We will also be taking a look at the various pros and cons of each option.

Colonist Logo
Colonist Logo

Colonist is considered to be the purest Catan implementation on the web. The base game is free and can be played online in a browser with up to 8 players. It also provides the option to be played versus AI, as well as a ranked mode for more competitive gameplay.

Colonist game board


  • Easy to get into. Requires no downloads or sign-ups.
  • If you want to play expansions, only the host needs to have the expansion purchased and their friends can join in and play.
  • Colonist has a ranked mode and leaderboard system for competitive players.
  • A direct line of communication in Discord is available between the devs and its players, and suggestions can be posted and voted on.
  • Updates are done multiple times per month, so reported bugs are quickly removed.
  • Can be played on mobile devices, tablets and also iPads via their web browser.


  • Since it is a free game, Colonist relies on advertisements to fund its operations.
  • It doesn’t have an actual mobile application yet. Can only be accessed on mobile using the browser.
Board Game Arena
BGA Logo
BGA Logo

Board Game Arena is a popular online destination for a large variety of online board games, including Catan.

BGA Game Board
Board Game Arena 


  • Animations are entertaining (dice rolling, resource distribution.)


  • Catan is a "premium game" so you have to wait for a paying user to start a game to play.
  • Newly released, still has many UX issues / bugs.
  • All actions require a second button for confirmation, leading to very slow gameplay.
Xplorers - Asobrain Games

Aso Brain Games logo
Aso Brain Games Logo

This game is filled with hardcore Catan players who will hand your backside at you on a regular basis.

Launched in 2004, Xplorers is the longest-living Catan video game platform.

Xplorers game board


  • Includes basic game as well as expansions like Seafarers, Cities and Knights, and 2 vs 2 teams.
  • Community is healthy, and player count is high.
  • Completely free to play.


  • To create a high-end community, Xplorers is positioned as an exclusive platform. Players can only sign up with institutional emails, so public email providers like Gmail are not allowed.
  • New players need to wait for 3 months to get approved and be able to play the game.
  • Requires installation of plugins and 3rd party software via Java applet.
  • Graphics and UI are not great.
jSettlers logo
jSettlers Logo

jSettlers was initially created as an AI research project and was last updated in 2018.

jSettlers game board


  • Completely free, no need to sign up to be able to play.
  • Open source in Github where you can check out the codebase or contribute.


  • You need to download the source code, build it and run your own server.
  • It is not hosted anywhere, so not a viable option unless you are very tech-savvy.
  • Originally meant to support web but cannot be played in native web, requires installation of plugins and 3d party software via Java applet.
  • Graphics and UI are not great.

Catan Universe [Demo Mode Only]
CU Logo
CU Logo

Catan Universe is the official Settlers of Catan online adaptation. Base Catan costs $5 to unlock on Catan Universe, so we will only be covering the free-to-play “Demo Mode” for this article.

CU Game Board


  • It is the official video game version for the Settlers of Catan board game.
  • It has 3D graphics which are pleasing to the eyes.
  • Has a native mobile application that works much better than the PC version.


  • The demo game only lets you play on random maps with 3 or 4 players, and you cannot play with friends.
  • It is very buggy. Players have long reported the issues with bugs, game crashes, and glitches, but the devs have not addressed them.
  • Mac users cannot play Catan Universe for more than a few minutes since Macs have integrated GPUs which are not enough to render high-end Unity animations and shading. This causes Macs to warm up which results to slow performance making the game or any other apps unusable.

And there you have it. Good, free sites to scratch that Catan itch online anytime, anywhere.

Which ones are you playing on right now? What other sites can you recommend? Let us know in this Reddit thread.