Settlers of Catan is one of our favorite games to break out, and that shouldn’t be too surprising. An absolute classic among board game fans who loves strategy, Catan is synonymous with good times playing a strategy game that plays differently with each board setup. Sometimes predictably depending on how things are setup. At other times, in such an unlikely way that even Phil wonders if the dice are rigged.
Catan Opening Settlement Placement Strategies
How you analyze the opening board and place your settlements can have a HUGE effect on whether you win or lose. In our group almost everyone prefers the 4-spot on average because you can coordinate your settlement placements to setup your early game strategy. If you go first you get a premium spot but also need to know how to take your longshot with that last placement.
We go through all the considerations each of us go through when looking at placing your settlement like a boss.
Are you all about the early road building? Do you want to make sure you have at least some access to all the resources on the board? Are you all about the development card life? Harbors?
There are so many strategies and the truth is that the board will often dictate a lot of what you end up doing. But understanding these great and powerful strategies can help you up your winning percentage as you learn how to settle, rule, and dominate Catan!
See the full Unqualified Experts Video on Placing Catan Settlements.
Braden & Shane’s Favorite Catan Strategies
These guys are pretty good players who know how to adapt, which means both of them have used a variety of strategies. While the video goes much more in-depth into these strategies (playing them, blocking them, variants on them, and more), in general some of the main things they’re looking at are:
- Creating road building factories
- Harbor/square wrap-around (aka “The Braden”)
- Creating city creating factories
- Playing the development card game
- The hidden harbor game
- The powerful harbor game
- Playing spoiler/blocker
- Monopolizing likely rare resources
Fun fact: Shane’s first 12 months playing Settlers of Catan were so frustrating he actually put down “Win a game of Settlers of Catan” down in his bucket list notebook.
You Want to Watch Catan Playthroughs, You Say?
Well we can’t blame you on that one. One of the most interesting things to watch is how certain groups will end up having recurring themes. A weird one with our group is just how often we have roads made of sheep. Like not even 2:1 or 3:1 trade ins, but how often 4:1 trade ins go from an insane 16 sheep to two sections of road.
Wooly roads that baa when you step on them is a regular part of our group. Which is weird, since we have 5-town builders and development card players in our group. But hey, to each their own I guess?
Catan play throughs: we have those!
- Settlers of Catan: Remember Oregon!
- Settlers of Catan 2: Shane Accepts Bribes
- We Try Catan Online
- I Hate 8’s Catan Play
Enjoy plenty of great watching, enjoy the video, and make sure to practice these strategies and not only will you be placing your opening settlements in Catan like a pro, but you’ll also notice your winning percentage starts taking off, as well.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.