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The Settlers of Catan for 2 players ages 4 and up.


Our family recently got pretty involved playing The Settlers of Catan. It has been a great gateway
game for us and I’ve spent more time on the weekend playing with my in-laws than any of us ever
thought possible. My four year old son would watch me set up the board and futz with all the bits
before he went to bed and after which we would play with his Grandparents. He kept asking when he
could play Catan, and the answer was always, “when you are a little older.” He already can play some
simple games: Go Fish, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders. Games of those types seem to be more
about learning how to play a game (players take turns, you follow the rules the game provides, etc.) so
I thought I could trim down the basic Catan rules to something similar and which lasts no more than 10
minutes. The end result is a game which is more player controlled than those above in that the players
have decisions to make. The players decide where to place their first city, what to build first, which
resources to trade and which resources to steal. But in the end, given equally skilled players, the
winner is random. Since my goal was to have my son learning how to play a game with player directed
decisions, I think this variant works out pretty well.

All required components are from the game The Settlers of Catan.

Dice: Pieces:
• 1 – 6 Sided die • 2 – Building Cost Cards
• 2 – Red City
Tiles: • 2 – Red Settlement
• 1 – Hills/Brick • 2 – Red Road
• 1 – Woods/Lumber • 2 – Blue City
• 2 – Pasture/Wool • 2 – Blue Settlement
• 2 – Field/Grain • 2 – Blue Road
• 2 – Mountains/Ore
• 1 – Desert Development Cards:
• 1 – Sea (back of any 4th edition tile) • 1 – Palace
• 1 – University
Number Tokens:
• 1 – #2 Resource Cards:
• 1 – #3 • 8 – Wool
• 2 – #4 • 8 – Grain
• 2 – #5 • 8 – Brick
• 2 – #6 • 8 – Lumber
• 8 – Ore

1. Build the board as in Figure 1.
2. Choose a starting color: Red or Blue.
3. Place 1 City and 1 Settlement on your chosen color dot.
4. Collect 3 Resource Cards matching the locations of your City.
5. Youngest player takes the first turn.
Figure 1: Board Layout and Starting Positions

Turn overview

1. Roll the die:

• 2 - 6: Draw a resource card matching each intersection location where you have a city or
settlement. If you have 2 settlements or cities on a hex, you produce 2 of that resource.
Note: Unlike the full version of Settlers of Catan, you do not collect cards on your
opponent's turn. Also, cities do not double production.
• 1: Robber Attacks! Ask your opponent for any resource card. If they have it they must give
it to you.
o Variant for young children who burst into tears at having their brick stolen: Place
the robber token on any hex. Take one of the matching resources. Note: Unlike the
full version of Settlers of Catan, the Robber does not stop resource production of
the hex.
2. Trade:
• If you have 2 Resource cards that match, you may trade them to the bank for any other
card that you need.
• Trading between players is permitted, but don’t rob your child blind.
3. Build:
• If you have all the Resource Cards listed on the Building Costs for a Road, City or
Settlement, place it on the board connected to one of your other pieces and give the
Resource Cards back to the bank. Note: Unlike the full version of Settlers of Catan, Cites
do not replace settlement but are instead built directly for 3 Ore and 2 Grain.
• If you are building a Development Card (The Palace or The University), place it face up in
front of you. You may only build one of these.
• Newly built Cities and Settlements must be attached to a road. You must build a road
before building a City or Settlement. Note: Unlike the full version of Settlers of Catan, there
is no distance rule.
• If an opponent's city or settlement is blocking your road you may move your road to the
other side of your city or settlement.

• If you have built 2 roads, 2 cities, 2 settlements and a Development Card, you win!

• With the aforementioned crying child variant, also have the Robber block production on a hex. The
Robber moves again when a 1 is rolled.
• Keep your resources visible to your opponent. It’s not like it matters much anyway.
• Use the knight tokens from Traders and Barbarians or Cities and Knights instead of Development
cards. The cost to build one is still Ore, Grain and Wool, but they can be placed on any hex during
your turn to prevent the Robber from stealing that type of resource.
• Enforce a hand limit of 6 Resources. Discard any over 6 to the bank.
• Use Resource Chips instead of Resource Cards. This makes a direct connection between the
number that is rolled and the resource the hex produces. Print out resource chips from Figure 2 on
cardstock. Cut out every other row, fold in half and paste together. Then cut each resource apart to
create a double sided version. Place the chips directly on the hexes. We’ve been using this variant
pretty successfully (mostly because I don’t like jam-hands).

Figure 2: Resource Tokens