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Catan DS :: Basic Tips and Tricks

Aug 06, 2009

The computer AI in Catan DS is not perfect, but is still ruthless and strong enough to make winning difficult in the single player campaign. Without having a good strategy before the start of a game, you will definitely lose and will be stuck on the same map for a long time.

Here are some tips and tricks that will pull you out of that hole. These strategies are so good that, if you use them wisely, you will be able to win tournaments!

The First Cut is the Deepest

Placing your initial settlements on the map is very important. You can win or lose just by placing your first and second houses and roads on particular spots. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Go for good numbers first. Do not worry about what resources you are getting because there is no point in having that land if it will not be rolled. Instead, focus on getting lots of resources, any resources, and you can trade for whatever you do not have. 8s and 6s come up the most (after 7s). To be precise, there is a 5 in 36 chance that one of them will be rolled. Consider 8s and 6s to be worth five points, 9s and 5s to be four points, 10s and 4s to be three, 11s and 3s is two points, and 12s and 2s are one. For every intersection where you can place your house, add up the points and pick the one with the most points.
For example, a 8/3/10 intersection is worth 10 points while a 9/5/4 spot is worth 11 points and is a better choice.

Aim for a good mix of numbers. If two spots are tied in points, you will have to look at another thing. Aside from getting good rolls, you also want to have as many different numbers as possible. This way, no matter what the dice roll is, you will still get a resource. For that reason, you may want to take a 5/4/11 instead of a 9/9/2.

Grab rare resources. You should also keep an eye out for rare resources. If a resource, like wheat for example, has bad rolls on all the tiles except for one, then you should be aiming to take it. That way, when the resource becomes scarce later on in the game, you will have a lot of trading power.

Keep an eye on the ports. Spots on a port should be given an extra point when calculating for the best spot. Although you only get one or two resources, you will start off with a better trading rate. If your first settlement will get you a lot of one particular resource frequently, you should consider aiming for its 2:1 port.

Stay on the edge. In general you should pick spots that are closer to the edge of the map. The middle of the board will get very crowded quickly and if you ever want to make the Longest Road, you should keep your first two settlements out of the action. Also, you will be closer to the ports this way.

Team up your resources. Some people choose their first placements based on what resource they get. This is actually the least important factor as mentioned before. However, if you cannot decide where to put your house, then look at what you will get. Wood and Brick work very well together for roads and Wood and Sheep does the same for ships. Ore and Wheat are usually paired together so that upgrades to cities come easier. If you can, add in a sheep to have a steady flow of development cards.

Your Trump Cards

It is important to know how to use your special development cards well. Save your Year of Plenty until you can use the extra two cards to build something right away. If you hold onto the cards, they might get stolen. Similarly, you should only use Road Builder to make the Longest Road or if you can build something at the end of it. Monopoly is the most powerful card in the game and can potentially earn you 3 Victory Points if used correctly. You should save this card until near the end, when you can use it to earn a lot of points suddenly and win.

There are still many more tips and tricks for Catan, as the game is ever dynamic and changing. However, the tips and tricks outlined here will give you a strong edge against the computer AI and any friends of family members you play against. Have fun and good luck!

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