Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Number 7 is notoriously known as the most troublesome number in Catan. Having a 17% chance, it is likely to get rolled once every two rounds. When it does, people with more than 07 cards in their hands will be punished, and the robber will be moved to another hex tile. Those steps, despite sounding very simple, have caused a lot of misplays over thousands of physical Catan games we have witnessed.
The turn-player sometimes gets overexcited and moves the robber before people count the numbers of cards in their hands. The discarders, more often than not, reveal their thrown-away cards too early. Those are to name but a few mistakes people usually make. Therefore, we propose to you our "procedure when a 7 gets rolled"; make sure you conduct all your actions above the table, where your hands and cards are shown to the others.
The first phase after the dices roll 7 is checking the numbers of cards in everybody's hands (development cards are not included). If nobody has an oversized hand, skip steps 2&3 below. Players with more than 07 hand cards have to discard half of them rounded down, which means players with 09 cards discard 04.
During the discarding phase, people are allowed to discuss and negotiate with each other. The topics must be about which cards should be kept or thrown away, in order to build up future trades or to stop the leading player from winning.
Players have to keep the cards they are throwing away secret until everyone else has also finished picking. All the selected cards should be revealed and sent to the bank at the same time. This way, people's tactics will be safely protected until the very last moment of the discarding phase.
Steps 4&5 of this procedure can be applied for Knight-card situations as well. Before somebody gets robbed, a reasoning phase occurs during which people will be arguing over why they should not be robbed or where the turn-player should place the robber token. If the turn-player wishes, they can request others to roll the dices so as to make a random decision based on the dice results.
To avoid people sneak peeking your cards when you are being robbed, you should keep them face-down in a pile covered by your palms; then you announce your number of cards so that the robbing player can pick a number in between. Once they choose one, you uncover your pile of cards and count to that number from the top down. Finally, you can have a quick look at the chosen card and hand it over.
Now that you have read the whole procedure we proposed, try applying it to your Catan games and see how it turns out. We are always willing to hear from you, either in the comment section below or via direct messaging. Also, please drop a like if you find this blog post helpful. Cheers!