Settlers of Catan FAQ - Play, Builds, Placements
Q: How exactly does trading with a harbor work? Do you have to give 3 identical resources of the same type to the bank, or can they be different types (e.g. a player wants 1 wool card by trading at a “?” harbor. Is it possible to trade 2 ore and 1 brick, or must all three cards be identical, say 3 ore cards?)?
A: When a player uses maritime trade to trade resources with the bank, he must always trade identical resources. Usually, this trade requires 4 identical resources to get one of another resource. If you have a harbor, then you may be able to use a better exchange rate. At a “?” harbor, you may trade 3 identical resources instead of 4. The only advantage of the harbor is the better trade rate, but the resources still have to be identical.
Q: During my turn, can I build as many roads, settlements, and cities as I want, or can I only build one piece per turn?
A: During your turn, you can build as many pieces as you can afford to pay for. As long as you have resources, you can continue to build as long as you want.
Q: Can you buy a settlement and city all in one turn, at the same time (if you have enough resource cards)?
A: Yes. You may buy a new settlement and immediately upgrade it to a city on the same turn. You must be able to pay the full cost for both the settlement and the city.
Q: Once the game has started, is it possible to buy a settlement and a road on your turn and place it anywhere on the island (disconnected from your other roads) just like at the start of the game if they are placed together?
A: No. During the setup phase, there are two rounds during which each player is allowed to place a settlement and a road anywhere on the island. After the setup phase is over, the normal building rules apply for the rest of the game. These rules are described on page 5 of the rules. New roads may only be built if they connect to an existing road, settlement, or city belonging to the building player. New settlements may only be built if they are connected to an existing road. So, after the setup phase, you may not build a new settlement and new road and place them anywhere on the island, only on a part of the island where you have an existing road network.
Q: What happens when you run out of roads to place on the hexes? Can you use something else or are you only allowed to place those 15 roads and that's it?
A: All the pieces in Settlers are a strict limit on what you are allowed to build. So, if you build all 15 roads of your color, you are not allowed to build any more roads during the game. Similarly, you are limited to 5 settlements (though if you upgrade one to a city, you could later rebuild it) and 4 cities. Every player should have exactly that mix of pieces at the start of the game.
Q: If Player A has a road that is 5 pieces long, and player B then builds a road that's 5 long, who gets the Longest Road bonus? To interpret the rules literally, it would seem that player A keeps the bonus tile until someone else builds a LONGER road (i.e., 6 or more), which would reward the player who has not just the longest road, but the first-and-longest road. Is this correct? Or does the bonus go away when 2 or more players have the same length longest road?
A: If a player has the longest road, he retains the longest road card and it's two victory points until another player builds a road that is longer than his. So, player B would have to build a road of 6 segments in order to take the longest road card from player A. Of course, player A can make his road longer, so that player B would have to build even more segments before he takes it away.

The longest road card is retained by it's current owner until one of two things happen:

1. Another player builds a road that is then longer than the longest road of the current card-holder. In this case, the new longest road owner takes the longest road card.

2. The longest road is broken by the placement of a settlement along its length (remember to obey the 2-step rule). In this case, everyone must check to see who has the longest road. If any single player has the longest road (note that it could be the same as the old player with the longest road) than that player takes the card and the two points. If more than one player has the longest road, or if no player has a road of at least 5 segments, then no one gets the longest road card and it is set aside. As soon as any player builds a longest road of at least 5 segments, then he may claim the card as normal.

Q: When trying to determine who has the longest road, can you just pick any segment of road, and then travel away from it in any direction you choose? This is only important if you have an entire hex surrounded by road, and then 1 segment of road leading off the hex. Would that mean that you have a longest road of 7? My friends are trying to tell me that once your road closes a loop, it can no longer be counted because it's not a straight line, only a BIG fork.
A: When counting the longest road, you get to count the longest possible branch. So, if you have a loop of 6 segments, you can count it as six, but only if it is at an end of your road. Consider two examples: The example you describe would be counted as 7 roads. This is a loop with a single leg sticking out of it. You could then increase the length of the leg, thereby increasing the length of your longest road. If you had a loop with two legs, then you could only count around the circle in one direction or the other. You could count the longer of the two directions, but you would not be able to count all six of the segments in the loop. The longest road does not have to be straight. It is free to wander back and forth and double back as much as it likes. You may always count the longest possible fork when determining the length of your road.
Q: Okay, now I am confused. How’s this:

A: one loop around a hex is worth 6 for road. This would count as a length of six because you can start at one point and go in one direction until you get back to where you started without any branches.

A: one loop around a hex with 1 leg is worth 7 for road. This would count as a length of seven for the same reason as above.

A: one loop around a hex with 2 legs, this is worth how many for longest road? 6 is starting one leg to the end of the other? 7 because it's the same as the one above with another leg? Here things get a little tricky, because now there is a fork in the road. You would still count this as a length of seven, ignoring the second leg of the circle.

A: In this case the length would be eight. You can't count the segment in between the two legs, because it is a branch. You only get to count five of the segments around the circle.

A: two loops, connected by a bridge in between. If you start at the inside of the loop on the left, and go to the inside of the loop on the right that is 13 segments of road, is that correct? This would indeed be worth thirteen segments.
You can count your road along any set of continuous segments that you want, as long as no segment is counted twice, to make the longest possible road.
Q: Do settlements of other colors break up other colors roads?

Yes, settlements do break up other player's roads. If the blue player has a road that is six segments long, and the red player builds a settlement between two of the blue roads, than we say that the blue player's road is “broken”. A broken road can not be counted for the Longest Road card. So, if the red player built his settlement between the fourth and fifth blue road, then the blue player would only be able to count his longest road as 4. Since four is not long enough for the Longest Road card, he would have to give it back.

But, a broken road can still be used for building. So, the blue player could still build a settlement at the end of his sixth road, even though the red player broke his road (he still has to obey the distance rule, of course).

Q: If you have a road that has been broken because someone has put a settlement on your road, can you still continue to build (i.e. a settlement or road) at the end of your trade route even though someone has broken it in the middle?
A: Yes. You may build new roads or settlements anywhere that you have already built to. You do not need to be able to trace a route back to where you began the game. While a broken road makes your route shorter for purposes of the Longest Road card, you are not prohibited from building on either side of the break. Note: If your road is blocked by an opposing settlement, you can not build a road on the other side of that settlement, if no road has been built there. Only if you had road on both sides of the settlement before it was built are you able to continue building on both sides of the break in your Road.
Q: Can a player win the game when it is not her turn? For instance, during another player's turn, the player remembers that she has a victory point card and that card along with other points that she accumulated gives her 10 points. Can she win during another player's turn or does she have to wait her turn to play the victory point card and declare herself the winner?
A: You can only win during your turn. If somehow you earn enough points to win during another player's turn (such as getting Longest Road because another player broke the longest road, or because you remember your victory point card) you must still wait until your turn. However, you can win at any point during your turn, even before you roll the dice. On the other hand, if another player earns 10 points before your turn, that player will be the winner even though you had 10 points first!
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Copyright Wednesday, June 05, 2002 Mayfair Games, Inc.