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Today we will discuss the three strategies that will get you into winning your next Catan board game:
- Strategy 1: Aiming for Settlements and Longest Road
- Strategy 2: Utilizing Hybrid Expansion
- Strategy 3: Upgrading Settlements into Cities and Development Cards
First, you need to become familiar with victory points as well as how to acquire them. According to Settlers of Catan Rules:
When playing Settlers of Catan, you will find that there are several unknown variables that will either help you or obstruct you from winning.
Some of these variables are:
- Random Number Placement
- Random Resource Tile Placement
- Random Ports
- Other Players
However, in spite of these seemingly uncontrolled factors lies three main strategies that you can utilize to increase your winning odds.
Keeping these strategies in mind can drastically turn the tide in your favor.
Strategy 1: Settlement and Longest Road
This stratagem is pretty straightforward. Build settlements, get longest road and win.
But beware, each player only has 5 pieces of Settlements. This means that building all Settlements and having the longest road will only give a player 7 points. So you will have to build some cities.
Your resource priorities in this strategy should be Lumber and Bricks, Wheat, Sheep and Ore.
However if you find yourself without 5 points or more in Lumber and Brick hexes plus Wheat of 3 or more on your starting placements, it would be better to go with other strategies.
Strategy 2: Hybrid Expansion
This strategy requires both settlement expansion and upgrading your settlements into cities with assistance of development cards. Hence the need to build roads that face towards expansion areas and resources.
You won’t be aiming for the Longest road for this playthrough, unless it somehow became very easy to obtain.
Do note though, that this strategy is only good when you have a balanced amount of resources.
A good priority of resources to prioritize would be Ore and Wheat, followed by Lumber and Bricks, and then Wool. If you have locations giving you plenty of Ore and Wheat but not Lumber and Bricks, then it would be better to focus on the 3rd strategy instead of this one.
Once you have good starting resources then this is the most flexible strategy you can utilize as it opens up several other opportunities:
- You can also expand without relying on any resources (because hopefully you are producing all of them).
- You can also buy development cards for surprise benefits.
- You can even contest Longest Road or Largest Army if you find a good opportunity to do so.
Strategy 3: Upgrading Settlements into Cities and Stockpiling Development Cards
Compared to the first two, this strategy is very limited in terms of expansion.
The goal of this strategy is to gain as much development cards as possible and using the advantages given by these cards to get an edge over your opponents.
Acquire the essential resources needed for buying development Cards through your starting placements.
These resources are:
Purchasing development cards will be your next point of focus.
Use the Knight Card to steal resources from the player with the leading points and render a tile useless for them at the same time.
Utilize these stolen resources to gain more development cards or trade them to acquire what you need.
Instead of using Roads, Settlements, and Cities, you will be using Knight Cards to prevent your opponents from winning, get the Largest Army, get some Victory Points and build some Cities.
You will most likely have to build 1 or 2 Settlements so make sure that no one will cut your starting roads if you’re going with this strategy. You will probably lose if you give them an opportunity to do so. So make sure to point your starting roads to very safe placement locations where other players won’t bother to.
A good priority of resources to have would primarily be Ore, followed by Wheat, then Wool.
Having a few points of other resources are fine since even if you do not produce any extra resources you can always use those development cards to conjure up some Lumber or Brick, or steal from that guy with 10 points of Lumber production.
Here are some additional tips from one of our Devs, Esqarrouth:
- Keep track of your Settlement, Cities, and Road pieces. Don’t get too immersed in expansion only to realize that you have run out of pieces to place.
- Keep track of the amount of resources and development cards in the bank. Can't trade your 3 Wool with Ore if it does not exist in the bank.
- Keep track of other people's roads and Lumber/Brick resources. They might suddenly steal your longest road, or do a combo in a turn and rob you of your victory.
- Keep track of other people's Knights used and total development cards. Half of all development cards are Knights. 20% of all development cards are VP. But a player might have 4 development cards and 3 of them could be VP.
- After learning the theory, the best way to improve your VP farming skills would be playing a lot of games. Practice using Colonist for fast games. Faster games means more games played per time and you will see your skills improve twice as much as your opponents playing on other platforms.
Last but not the least, and my personal favorite:
“Have a plan for winning, or someone else with a plan will win”
There is no one-size-fits-all Settlers of Catan Strategy. As mentioned above, several random aspects greatly affects the outcome of each game.
All of these strategies require specific resource levels at the start of the game to function properly. To ensure that you have all the resources you would need, a good starting placement is essential.
Whether it be massive expansion or through the tactical use of development cards, having a plan of attack will surely give you the much needed advantage for your next Catan game.
Try out these strategies at Colonist - online Catan alternative game that you can play quickly as it requires no download or installation.