The ARMED Settlers of Catan

This is a variant for those people who complain that Settlers of Catan is technically not a wargame. This is a two-player game where each group of settlers has military forces at their disposal to help them conquer Catan.

Each player starts on a five hex island on opposite sides of the board. The objective is to conquer as much of the center island as possible, while limiting their opponent from doing the same. Each starts the game with a small military force. The military can protect your settlers, hinder your opponent from building new roads or settlements, or capture enemy roads and settlements altogether!

Players must balance their need for a strong military while expanding their domain. If they concentrate on building an army, their opponent might get to one or more of the choice spots on the center island first, gaining valuable resources. If they focus on expansion, they risk losing their new settlements to their opponent's superior army.

Which will your people choose - an army or or industry? Will you build armor or tractors? It's up to you!


Players set up the board as illustrated below, with the exception that the five lands which make up each player's "homeland" may be placed in any desired order. Place three settlements with connecting roads as configured below. Each player places a 3:1 harbor tile so that it touches his forward settlement. The "Desert" tile is not used in this game, so flip it over and use it as the "Gold" tile as illustrated. Then place the other sea tiles at random on the board, making sure that no other harbors touch either player's homeland.

After the board is set up, players each take the following five number disks - 3,4,5,6,10; and secretly place these disks on the five tiles of their homeland. Players may want to consider which 2:1 harbors are likely prospects for their expansion and allocate the number disks accordingly. Lastly, place an "8" number disk on the "Gold" space and distribute the other disks randomly on the other land tiles in the center island.

Each player chooses roads of a different color to represent ships. Get about 10 pennies or tokens to represent gold - each player begins with two. Lastly, take 3 Infantry, 2 Armor, 2 Air, and 2 Battleships of both blue and red from a Columbia Games "Victory" set. Place one infantry, armor, air, and battleship unit adjacent to any of the settlements in your homeland, (total of four units) at a strength level of "2" and observing the two unit per hex stacking limit. Place the other pieces aside so that you can requisition them later.

Note: If you don't have Victory, I suggest that you figure out a way to use game pieces from some other game to represent each player's military forces. Use slips of paper to represent step points. I will award the US Citizen's Medal of Ingenuity (design to be figured out later) to the person who comes up with the most interesting alternative.



Basic Play
Play is the same as in the basic Settlers of Catan game and the Seafarers expansion, with the following clarifications and exceptions:
Ships and Roads
Ships (not Battleships!) cost one wood and one wool.
The end ship on a ship line may NOT be moved or displaced.
There is no restriction on connecting roads or ships. It is NOT necessary for there to be a settlement or city at the junction of a road and a ship.
"Shorelines" may be built with EITHER a ship or a road.

Settlements and Cities
The settlements on the homeland may be upgraded to cities.
NO NEW settlements may be built on a player's homeland.

Resource Production and Development Cards
When a player rolls a seven, he receives one Gold Piece.
The "Soldier" development cards are used to create new military units or upgrade existing ones.
These cards may not be played in the turn they are purchased.

The Military

Players begin the game with one "2" strength unit of each type - four total. Place the other five units to the side. There is a stacking limit of two units per hex.

Unit Cost:
NEW units cost 2 gold pieces, or may be purchased with a "Soldier" development card.
EXISTING units may be increased in strength at a cost of 1 gold piece per strength point.
A soldier card may also be used for this purpose, however it still only raises the unit one strength point.

Unit Capabilities:

These units move 2 hexes per turn and do not need roads to move on land. They attack at 2 strength against land targets and 1 strength against air targets. They have no naval attack strength and are defenseless if "caught" at sea by either a land or air unit.

These units move 3 hexes per turn, but may only move into a hex where there are roads or ships - they must move "along" roads these paths. Their movement is limited by HEX, so theoretically they may end up using 10 roads and ships to move three hexes if the ships and roads are built in a curlicue or something. They have the same attack value as infantry except they fire first and are also defenseless if "caught: at sea.

These ships can move 3 sea hexes per turn. Canal passage counts as one movement point and the battleship cannot end the turn IN the canal. Land units do not hinder passage through canals unless BOTH sides are enemy controlled. They attack at 2 strength against other battleships and 1 strength against air targets. They have no land attack strength.

Air units can move 3 hexes per turn anywhere on the board. They do not need to return to a base. They attack at 2 strength against other air units and at 1 strength against both land and sea targets. Air units do not "hold" a hex against an enemy land or sea unit. If enemy land or sea units remain in a hex at the end of combat, the air unit MUST retreat, even if it started the turn in that hex.


Combat occurs when one or two attacking units enter an enemy controlled hex during a player's turn. They do not have to enter the hex from the same "hexside." Attacks are resolved in the following order:

Defender Air, Attacker Air
Defender Sea, Attacker Sea
Defender Armor, Attacker Armor
Defender Infantry, Attacker Infantry

When a unit attacks, it declares what target type it is targeting (air, sea, or land) and rolls the number of dice equal to its strength. If it has an attack value of 2, it "hits" when any die rolls a one or a two. With an attack value of 1, it only "hits" on a one. The player who is hit then allocates that number of hits among his forces if necessary before either firing back or retreating.

There are two rounds of combat. At each stage in the battle, a player may decide to retreat a unit instead of using it to attack. Units that are reduced to zero strength are "captured" by the enemy and are worth one victory point, so retreat is always a wise option!

Capturing and Hindering Enemy Settlements, Cities, Roads, and Ships

Capturing the Enemy

A player can capture an enemy town or city by surrounding it with military units on all three sides. It can capture an enemy road by surrounding it on two sides (lengthwise). This means that a road that leads directly to an enemy settlement or city can be captured and converted without necessarily capturing the settlement or city.

Once this occurs, the player has the option of replacing the Settlement, City, Road or Ship with one of his own, (and gaining any production and/or victory point considerations) or simply removing it from the game for victory points.

Enemy pieces removed from the game score the following:
City = 2 points
Settlement = 1 point
Road or Ship = 1/2 point

Hindering the Enemy

A player can also use his military force to hinder his opponent from building certain roads, ships, or settlements, or upgrading a settlement to a city. This is accomplished by having a military presence in the adjacent hexes. (See the diagram below)

For settlements and upgrading to cities, if one of the three adjacent hexes contains an enemy military unit (of any strength or type), you must have a military unit on both of the other two hexes in order to build or upgrade.

Roads and ships operate similarly. Two of the three key hexes are on either side of the new road or ship, the third key hex is the one to which the road or ship "points." Again, if one of these hexes contains an enemy military unit, you must have military units (again, of any strength or type) in the other two in order to build or upgrade.

Side A - Black may build a road or ship here.
Side B - Black may NOT build a road or ship here.
Side C - White could build here IF he first builds on side D.
Side D - White may build here.
Side E - White may build here.
Side F - Either white or black could build here if they first build a connecting road.

Winning the Game

As in the regular game, cities are worth 2 VP's, towns are worth 1, you also get the victory points from the development cards and the longest road and biggest army. Note, the biggest army is counted by the number of blocks, NOT the total strength. Remember, captured enemy cities, towns, ships, and roads are worth points, as well as captured enemy military units.

Play to 17 points or some other previously agreed upon number.


I'll be happy to post people's comments about this page in this space, should I receive any. Mail your comments or questions to:
I'd prefer positive comments, but agree to post pretty much anything you might have to say on the matter.

ALSO - don't forget that I am offering the US Citizen's Medal of Ingenuity to the best suggestion for adapting different game pieces than "VICTORY" for "The ARMED Settlers of Catan" game on this page.

Hope to hear from you soon.

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