5 Rule Modifications For Catan

J.L. Pattison
7 min readNov 6, 2018

I reluctantly began playing Catan four or five years ago (back when it was known as Settlers of Catan). I say reluctantly because when my wife brought it home for our family to play on Thanksgiving, I remember rolling my eyes thinking it would surely be a dumb game. After all, I was a strict Castle Risk guy and this ugly, hexagon-shaped game — comprised of little hexagons within — had “no-fun” written all over it.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Courtesy of Dograapps via Pixabay

I’ve played Catan approximately 200 times since that Thanksgiving. Some people may call me a Catan addict, but I prefer the term enthusiast.

In the past four years I’ve introduced numerous people to the game, I’ve made numerous Catan converts, I’ve researched new strategies, developed some strategies of my own, and I’ve even made a few modifications to the official game rules.

And, if I may be so presumptuous to say, I believe those modifications are an improvement to the original rules. I’m so confident in this, that I’m sharing my five modifications publicly in the hopes that others will derive as much fun employing them as I have.

So without further ado, here are the five rule modifications that have enhanced my family’s Catan gaming experience.

1). Highest Roller Faces a Choice

Rule: All players roll to see who goes first. Highest roller goes first.

Mod: The player with the highest roll gets the choice whether to go first or last. This is important because every new game presents different strategies (depending on resource layout). A player’s decision to go first or last will depend on the resource layout and the player’s strategy for that particular game.

If the highest roller decides to forfeit her turn to go first, then the player to her left goes first.

2). Red Rover, Red Rover, Send The Bandit On Over

Rule: When a player rolls a 7, all players holding eight or more cards have to discard half their hand, and the player who rolled the 7 gets to move the robber onto the resource tile of his choice. That player then gets to steal a card (blind) from the player’s hand whose resource the robber was placed on.

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J.L. Pattison

Called "A 21st Century Rod Serling," JL Pattison is the author of 4 books of contemporary speculative fiction for modern-day thought criminals. JLPattison.com