A Concise Account of the Origins of Settlers of Catan

In 2015, a record-breaking 1,040 players participated in the largest game of Catan held in Germany.

Catan, also known as Settlers of Catan, has become an immensely popular board game worldwide, earning awards and being the first German board game to sell outside of Europe.

This article provides a brief history of the game and its place in the board game universe.

Catan was created in Germany.

Klaus Teuber, a German dental technician, invented Settlers of Catan, which was published in 1995 under the title “Die Siedler von Catan.”

Catan is one of Teuber’s hobby board game designs, and he drew inspiration from Viking settlers for the game’s concept.

The game is set on a fictional island named “Catan” in the Atlantic Ocean, featuring resources and landscapes similar to those in Norway and Iceland.

Teuber believed the Vikings would be the ones to discover Catan, so he designed the game based on Viking inspirations.

A Brief Overview of Settlers of Catan: The Board Game.

The game accommodates up to six players and involves acquiring land and building structures from gathered resources.

Players take on the role of settlers and are encouraged to trade resources to expand their settlements.

The objective is to accumulate points as settlements grow, and the first player to reach a set number, usually ten, wins the game.

Settlers of Catan Has 30 Different Versions and Extensions.

There are currently 30 game variations and expansion packs for Catan, and the game has been produced in 30 different languages since 1995.

The game was initially designed for three to four players, but an expansion was released in 1996 to allow up to six players.

Teuber has since released themed expansion sets such as Seafarers of Catan in 1997, which allows players to obtain ships to explore an archipelago of islands, and Cities and Knights of Catan in 1998, which enables players to create new resources like coins, paper, and cloth.

Other game variations include Star Trek Catan, Game of Thrones Catan, and Catan Junior.

Catan’s 10th Anniversary was a Memorable One!

A special edition of Catan was created for its 10th anniversary in 2005.

The base pack and expansion pack “Cities and Knights” were presented with hand-painted 3D tiles and playing pieces.

In 2015, the Catan line was rebranded to commemorate its 20th anniversary, and the board game was renamed “Catan” from its original name, “The Settlers of Catan.”

World’s Largest Catan Game Had Over 1,000 Players

While playing board games with a few friends may be common, world records require more people. In 2015, Klaus Teuber and 1,040 players organized the world’s largest game of Catan at Germany’s Spiel convention, surpassing the previous record held by a game in Indianapolis, Indiana, with 922 players.

Catan Tournaments

Catan has become an iconic board game and even has a world championship tournament. The first tournament took place in Essen, Germany, in 2002, and continued annually at the International Spieltage until 2008. Since then, it has been held at Gen Con Indy in the USA every two years, with a maximum of two players per country and up to 40 countries competing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 tournament was postponed to 2021, marking the first-ever cancellation. Additionally, there is a U.S. National Championship held annually at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio.

Catan Turned into a Book

Klaus Teuber had always dreamed of turning the game into a book, but he was unsure of his writing capabilities. In 2001, he collaborated with German author Rebecca Gablé to bring the concept to life. In 2003, Gablé published The Settlers of Catan, a historical fiction novel based on Teuber’s board game. Initially published only in German, the novel was translated and published in English in 2011 due to high demand. The novel is set in 850 AD and explains how the Norse seafaring community discovered the island of Catan.


Settlers of Catan is one of the world’s most popular board games, second only to Monopoly. The game’s historic qualities teach players how to be tactical traders and how Viking settlements were built. With over 22 million copies sold in the first 20 years, the game has continued to expand in many directions.


1. What is Settlers of Catan?

Settlers of Catan is a popular strategy board game that was first published in Germany in 1995. In the game, players take on the roles of settlers on the island of Catan, where they trade resources, build settlements and cities, and try to accumulate victory points. The game can be played with 3-4 players, and takes about 1-2 hours to complete.

2. Who created Settlers of Catan?

Settlers of Catan was created by Klaus Teuber, a German game designer, in the early 1990s. Teuber was inspired to create the game after playing a traditional board game with his family, and he wanted to create something that was more complex and engaging. Settlers of Catan has since become one of the most successful board games of all time, and has won numerous awards for its innovative gameplay and design.

3. How has Settlers of Catan changed over the years?

Since its initial release in 1995, Settlers of Catan has undergone several changes and updates. The game’s rules have been revised and clarified, and new expansion sets have been released that add new gameplay elements and strategies. In addition, the game has been translated into dozens of languages and has become popular all over the world. Today, Settlers of Catan is played by millions of people of all ages and backgrounds.

4. What makes Settlers of Catan so popular?

Settlers of Catan is popular for several reasons. First, it is easy to learn and play, but still offers a high level of strategic depth and complexity. Second, the game is highly social, and encourages players to interact and negotiate with each other. Finally, the game is endlessly replayable, as each game is different depending on the players’ choices and the random distribution of resources on the board.

5. What are some of the expansion sets for Settlers of Catan?

There are several expansion sets available for Settlers of Catan, each of which adds new gameplay elements and strategies. Some of the most popular expansion sets include Seafarers, which introduces boats and island exploration, Cities and Knights, which adds new city improvements and defense mechanisms, and Traders and Barbarians, which includes several mini-games and scenarios that can be played with the base game.

6. What other games are similar to Settlers of Catan?

There are several other games that are similar to Settlers of Catan in terms of gameplay and strategy. Some popular examples include Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic. These games all offer a high level of strategic depth and complexity, as well as a strong social element that encourages players to work together and negotiate with each other.

7. How has Settlers of Catan impacted the board game industry?

Settlers of Catan has had a significant impact on the board game industry, both in Germany and around the world. The game’s innovative gameplay and design have inspired countless other designers to create their own unique games, and it has helped to popularize board gaming as a hobby for people of all ages and backgrounds. Today, board gaming is a thriving industry, and Settlers of Catan is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential games of all time.

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