The Settlers of Catan is among the most popular new board games in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or a fan, a few choice sites and apps can make your next play more fun than you ever thought possible.
In case you haven’t played it yet, go buy the tabletop game online. Colloquially called Catan, you need three to six players for the tabletop game. While sites and apps aren’t essential to the experience, they can add more depth to the gameplay for seasoned gamers, or explain the basics to newcomers.
Catan Universe is the official version of the game to play on computers or mobiles. It can be played against AI, but it’s a lot more fun to play it online against real humans. And this is the best place to play it online, don’t fall for knock-offs.
The free version of the game includes only one map that you can play against three opponents. You can unlock the full version of the game for a small price, as well as the game’s expansions like Cities and Knights, and Seafarers.
Online play works quite well, with simple mechanisms for trading cards, purchasing cards, and so on. The game also protects you against sore losers by turning quitters into AI, so you can continue enjoying the game. Be warned though, there are still a few bugs.
If you’re a fan of the board game, you need to download this online version right now. Given the size of the board, it’s better played on a computer or a tablet, but the mobile version is a lot of fun on the go.
Download: Catan for Windows or Mac on Steam | Android | iOS (Free)
Play: Catan in Any Web Browser
Lost the dice or the rulebook? Want to spice up the game a bit more? The official Catan Game Assistant is the best thing to download if you own the board game.
Beginners can use the tutorial to get used to the game. It also includes the rulebook as well as a bonus dice app, which shouts out the roll count. Ever tried playing Catan in a tiny space where you can’t roll the dice, or in a moving train? Well, the app makes it much easier, and no one can accuse the software of not being good enough since it’s from the official app.
The Assistant app also adds a series of Event Cards from the Traders and Barbarians expansion. It’s great for those who are a bit bored of the orthodox way of playing it.
Download: Catan Game Assistant for Android [No Longer Available] | iOS (Free)
Once you’ve played the default map suggested in the official rule book, it’s time to change things up. For suggestions on how to make a good map, use one of these.
Catan Maps chronicles some of the best maps made for the game, including those used at competitive Catan tournaments. You can browse all maps alphabetically by name, by the board or frame size, by the number of players, or by which Catan game set or expansions you need. Follow the layout for any map, read the description, and start playing.
Better Settlers is a neat website and app to generate a Catan map based on your needs. With one click, you can generate a new map. And in fact, this is a perfect example of how technology improves traditional games. The app can ignore the map-making method outlined in the rulebook and create more balanced maps. Or if you want to have fun, completely random maps too.
4. Spice Things Up With Catan Game Aide
If you and your friends know each other’s strategies well and want to spice things up, the Catan Game Aide is meant for you. It adds a new layer to the board game that has to be played to see how awesome it is.
Here’s how it works. Every turn, before rolling the dice, you click either “Light” or “Heavy”. This displays an effect to impact the game, such as getting two lumber tiles instead of one, or everyone losing their last built road. All effects only count for one turn. Don’t refresh the site, it works best as a continuation.
It supports the base game, card game, Explorers and Pirates, and Struggle for Rome. The web version of Catan Game Aide and the mobile app are the same thing, you don’t get any extras by downloading it.
Download: Catan Game Aide for Android (Free)
5. Learn Strategy at the Settlers of Catan Fansite [No Longer Available]
Ultimately, Settlers of Catan is a strategy game. And just like any strategy game, it helps to learn some basic strategies from experts. This little fansite has everything you need to go beyond your initial understanding of the game and its intricacies.
There are three main resources here: the beginner’s level strategy, advanced strategy, and the settlement placement guide. The guide tells you how you can begin the game with an advantage. The other two pages have a list of different tips for strategy depending on whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player. Read through it, you’re bound to find something you never thought of before.
By the time you finish reading everything, you’ll have levelled up your Catan gameplay by several standards. It’s stuff like this that can give you a leg up on hard and unforgiving strategy games.
What’s Your Favorite Two-Player Catan?
In case you didn’t know, you can play Catan with just two people. Both of you play two colors each. And for any trade, you need the opponent’s approval even when trading with your own second color.
But this can get a little tricky and iffy. It’s not as straightforward as a simple two-player game. That’s why you’ll find several two-player Catan variants online.
What’s your favorite way to play Catan between two players?