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The Fastest Victories in Catan (Part 1/2) - The Preparation

Updated: Feb 6

Providing the most ideal scenario where the board, the dice, the dev. cards and other players' decisions all occur according to your wish, have you ever wondered how short a game of Catan can be? Not many people have thought about that, and even the ones who do have don't usually dedicate enough time to find out the answer. After hours of brainstorming, we have come up with the best speedrunner's ways to get 10 VPs. Let us guide you through it step by step!

At first glance, we thought the cheapest way to win in Catan might also be the quickest way since the smallest amount of resources needed takes the shortest period of time to gather. It didn't take us long to realise we were dead wrong. That method only requires you to pay a total of 23 effective resources for the Longest Road, the Largest Army, and 05 dev. cards (01 Road Building and 04 VP cards). However, in a standard three-player game, you have to wait until the 5th round, taking a minimum of 13 dice rolls to finish it. Waiting for one round to activate Road Building might sound reasonable depending on the situation, but prolonging the for three more rounds to recruit all three Knights is just too much.

As we scratch out the Largest Army, we turned our concern toward the Road Building card which splits into two situations: either winning within the very first round or in the second.

  • Winning within the first round costs you (at least) 25 resources including 04 Brick + 04 Wood + 06 Sheep + 06 Wheat + 05 Ore.

  • Winning in the second round means you have a chance to use Road Building. Therefore, you need 01 less resource to achieve victory, making it (at least) 24 resources in total including 02 Brick + 02 Wood + 07 Sheep + 07 Wheat + 06 Ore.

To decide which situation is more likely to happen, we had to put the productivity of three-player and four-player Catan into consideration.

  • Three-player mode often starts with 09 resources in players' hands. Without adding more settlements or cities, a maximum of 06 resources can be produced each turn.

  • Four-player mode usually starts with 12 resources in players' hands. Without adding more settlements or cities, a maximum of 06 resources can be produced each turn.

Keep in mind, the number of resources required for the whole game will be that many you need +1 for each opponent. So it is +2 when playing with three players and +3 when with four. The reason is that after trading, players cannot be left empty-handed. When your starting settlements are only 02 roads away from each other, here are our answers after accurate calculations:

  • The fastest three-player game ends in the second round. The first player wins by using a total of 24 resources. The game lasts for 04 dice rolls.

  • The fastest four-player game finishes in the first round. The third player wins by using a total of 25 resources. The game lasts for 03 dice rolls.

Now, the only thing yet to be done is uncovering how the fastest games would be played. We will come to that in Part 2 of the series. With the analysis we provided, you can try figuring it out by yourself as well. Anyway, thank you for reading and see you at the next one.

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