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Settlers of Catan (a.k.a. Die Siedler von Catan) is a board game by Klaus Teuber. The goal of the game is to reach a certain number of victory points before the other players, via building roads, settlements and cities and by having other accomplishments, such as having the longest road or the largest army.

Because of its very unusual non-zero sum game mechanic, many economics professors use this game to teach concepts of comparative advantage and other economics concepts.


The Settlers of Catan and its expanded universe demonstrate examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jean the pirate.
  • Break the Haughty: Being in the lead can be bad; players will stop trading with you, rob you, and generally direct all of their development/progress cards towards keeping you down. In fact, leading the whole game and winning is somewhat of a feat.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Roads, settlements, cities, etc. do not appear by themselves.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Siegfried, even though he is supposed to be some sort of medieval knight. (Not that the two are necessarily incompatible.)
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mary-Ann has the lowest stats (individual and as a whole) of the computer opponents in the official video games. However, she is one of the toughest opponents thanks to a development-card heavy strategy that often gets her largest army and a host of victory card points.
  • Dark Horse Victory: The game has a tendency to end in this. Especially if a game has been going on for a long time, you had better watch who's in the running for the longest road or the largest army, or if anyone has been hanging on to some unplayed development cards for a long time. If one player approaches 10 points while the others are lagging behind, usually the players start helping each other to get points away from the player in the lead. In fact, it's probably best to say that one of the worst things you can do in the game is get an early, solid lead and become the focus of everyone's wrath for the mid-game.
  • Euro Game: A classic of the genre.
  • Expanded Universe: At the time of this edit, there are: a novel, a computer game with a story, characters with personalities and a lot of minor characters who appear in the card game and adventure games. Even the robber was made into three characters with their own comics.
  • Fan Nickname: Players will often re-name resources and other items to their liking. Ore will be rocks, grain will be wheat, clay becomes bricks, and wool is usually sheep. The Barbarians are also commonly shortened to Barbs.
  • Follow the Leader: Settlers of Zarahemla is a Book of Mormon-themed clone of Settlers of Catan. Though being scripture-themed, it is not actually a Moral Substitute -- it was instead tailored to a Mormon culture market, in the same vein as Mormon Cinema.
  • Fourth Wall Observer: Magistrate William, author of the famous treatise "The World as a Buildup Strategy Game", which proposes that reality is nothing more than a bunch of hexes, cards and dice.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Pretty much any trade request or statement involving the wood resource. Like, "I have so much wood in my hands right now", or "I have wood for sheep".
  • Kingmaker Scenario: The end game is often a duel between two players, so the other two players are basically deciding which one wins.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Louis.
  • Patchwork Map: Built randomly from interchangeable hexes.
  • The Quisling: Sometimes encouraged in Cities & Knights when the Barbarians come calling, if it lets you push weaker players under the bus.
  • Sinister Minister: Abbess Hildegard.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Many decision-making scenarios in-game result in this, especially surrounding card usage.
    • In Cities & Knights, players have the option of trying to tie or win the war with the Barbarians. Intentionally losing the war becomes a viable option however when trying to prevent other players from gaining victory points or progress cards, or causing the player(s) with the least amount of knights to lose a city.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The main part of the game.
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