Settlers of Catan for 2 Players
This is a variation of Settlers of Catan for 2 players.
Settlers is designed for 3 or 4 players. When played by 2 players
the game is a lot less interesting:
- Because there are only 2 rolls of the dice between a player's
turns, the players tend to be shorter on resources than when playing
with 3 or 4 players.
- In a 2 player game, once a player gets ahead in resource
gathering potential (settlements and cities in good locations), it is
nearly impossible for the other player to catch up. This isn't as
big of a problem in a 3 or 4 player game, since the other players tend
to "gang up" on the leading player. The leader tends to have fewer
trading opportunities and becomes a victim to the robber a
disproportionate number of times. These factors tend to keep any
one player from running away with the game in the early stages.
- Player/player trading doesn't happen.
- There is less competition for territory because there is more
land per player.
- The game is quicker.
Although there is no substitute for the dynamics of a full 4 person
game, I have found that the following rules make for a fun 2 player game.
The pace of the game is still quite fast, and players tend to have a
lot of resource cards near the end of the game.
- At the start of a turn, the player rolls the dice twice instead
of once. Resources are produced for both rolls. If a 7 is
rolled on the first roll, then the player with fewer victory points
controls the robber (when victory points are tied, the player who rolled
the dice controls the robber). The double dice rolls mimic the
resource production in a 4 player game, and giving control of the robber
to the trailing player 75% of the time helps prevent a player from
running away with the game. Using two pairs of dice (of different
color) makes playing a lot smoother - designate one color as the "first"
roll, and the other color as "second".
- Players may only trade with the bank. Since is rare for
both players to agree to trade, it is simpler to just eliminate the
- The number of Victory Points for winning is increased from 10 to
12. This increases the competition for territory slightly while
still keeping a fast paced game.
- The limit for the number of cards a player can hold when the
robber is activated is increased from 7 to 9. In the four player
game there is ample opportunity to trade with other players between
turns. In this variant, players tend to accumulate more cards
between turns, so the limit was increased accordingly.
I add the following two rules, although neither is essential to the
variant described above.
- Resource cards are kept face-up. This levels the playing
field between players that count cards and those that don't. It
also gives the Robber a little more bite since a specific card can be
stolen rather than a random one.
- After the setup phase, players collect resources for both initial
settlements. This gives the game a bit of a jump start.
Here are some other 2 player variants: