Settlers of Catan strategy
by Guy Soffer
The key to a winning Settlers of Catan strategy is resources, resources, resources. Let's consider several different strategies first:
- You can build enough cities to get plenty of resources that will eventually allow you to win
- You can go for the longest road plus many settlements along the way - this isn't enough to win, but you can get a few development cards for a point, or build a city
- You can go for largest army, while controlling the robber
Each of these alternative strategies (there are others, and several mixed strategies as well) requires a different set of resources, at different times in the game.
The most important part of the game is your choice of first two settlements and connected roads. The thing that most affects this is the way the numbers are spread out on the board, and your turn order (first, second, third, etc.)
The closer the number is to a 7, the more it will show up statistically, thus, 6 and 8 are the best numbers, 4, 5, 9 and 10 are next in line and finally 2, 3, 11 and 12 are usually bad numbers to pick.
First, you must look at the board position and identify strong positions. A 10-8-5 intersection is a very strong point to place a settlement in, especially if it can be turned into a city later on.
It's also important to note what resources you will be getting, to plan your strategy already: but it's VERY important to think about where the second settlement will go.
You have to go for a wide variety of resources at first, or you will be hampered, especially at the beginning of the game.
Going for a trade port immediately is usually not recommended, unless one of two things has occurred: two of the resources are positioned in bad spots and will be lacking, or you have a good ore/wheat control (to build cities) and you want a 2-to-1 wheat conversion.