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How To Thoroughly Introduce Catan To New Players

Updated: Feb 20

This thread does not teach you how to play Catan. It focuses on helping you guide fresh players through the game's basic learning stage more effectively. If you love Catan and consider yourself decently experienced, it is likely that you will be an ambassador when new people wish to join. Therefore, properly preparing for that situation is recommended.

First things first, you should slowly guide them through the elementary concepts of Catan. Put the rulebook aside for now as it might make them terrified. Instead, aim for answering the beginners' frequently asked questions about the game.

  1. WHY am I introducing this hobby to you? Because it is fun, interactive, and intellectual developing tabletop game.

  2. WHAT is the game about? - Settlers of Catan, or Catan in short, is a resource collecting empire building board game with dice rolling mechanic.

  3. WHO are the players? - Factions are the colonists of a newly discovered fictional island. They aim to build multiple roads, structures, as well as different cultural institutions and a small army.

  4. WHERE does the game take place? - Everyone competes on a randomised 19-hex board. Tiles yield resources at different levels of productivity. The island of Catan also has a desert with a robber; meanwhile, its surrounding coast offers 09 harbours.

  5. WHEN does the game start & end? - The game starts by the time everyone gets their first 02 VPs and ends as soon as someone reaches the 10-VP mark in their turn. A 03-player base game takes around 40 minutes.

Only after your students feel motivated with the 5W should you then proceed to the 1H. HOW part is not simply tutoring them using the game's rulebook. There are certain factors you need to emphasise while bringing them up in an appropriate order. Remember the number 05 as it will come up quite a few times from this moment.

  • As gaining VPs is the most crucial activity, show them the means to actually do it - by gathering 05 types of resources. Let them know they can get resources either by collecting (dice, number, robber) or trading (domestic or maritime with harbours).

  • Next, bring up the purposes of getting resources and what they can be used for. It is now time to reveal individual game pieces (rules for placing roads, settlements, cities), along with public ones like the Road & Army special cards. Use the Building Cost card to demonstrate 05 ways to gain VPs in total.

  • There are, once again, 05 kinds of dev. cards to be acknowledged. You do not have to make them remember their functions or rarities right away because those can be learnt gradually during games. Just ensure the "one turn wait" & "once per turn" parts are perfectly clear to them.

  • Finally, the specific ABCCBA turn order during the picking starting settlements phase is the only thing left to get them ready for a real game. Also, don't forget to mention that the second settlement yields resources immediately when placed.

Thank you for reading! Please like and share if you find the article helpful. See you next time.

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