Full-Contact Catan

Full-Contact Catan

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Full-Contact Catan
Recessto august 104.jpg
Designer: David Fono (with recess.to)
Players: 9-16
Stuff required: Coloured balls, hula hoops, coloured arm/headbands, large coloured markers
Crew required: One.
Preparation: Ten minutes.
Time required: 30 minutes
Place required: A field
Activities: Running, Tagging, Teamwork, Strategy, New Sport
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This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Settlers of Catan, re-envisioned as a field sport.


You'll need:

  • Armbands/headbands (they'll be used interchangeably) in colours for each of the 3-4 teams.
  • Small balls in 4 different colours, to act as 4 different kinds of resource. Decide what colour to use for each resource beforehand. You need 12 balls in each colour. We use plastic golf balls.
  • Large coloured markers to act as settlements/cities, in colours for each of the 3-4 teams. We use heavy bristol board pieces, and fold them to make little tents.
  • 10 Hula hoops, or some other large circular marker that you can place on the field.
  • A deck of development cards, which you'll make from the card list below.
  • Reference slips that show the resource costs of purchases.
  • A whistle for the referee is also nice, and a stopwatch of some sort.


Place hoops and piles of resources (balls) according to the attached map.

Create 3-4 teams with 3-4 players each, and hand out an armband to each player. Tell each team to choose a number of starting knights (see Knights, below.) Knights should wear their armbands on their head; everyone else should put them on their arm.

Each team chooses one of the hoops at the bottom of the map to hold their starting city.

Gameplay Structure

The object of the game is to be the first team to score 5 victory points.

The game is played in rounds. Each round lasts 20 seconds, and all teams act simultaneously. The ref blows a whistle to signal the start and end of a round. Each player starts the round with one foot inside any hoop where their team has a settlement or city. All players must stop on the ending whistle.

During a round, players can:

  • Collect a single resource, by picking it up (or stealing it, for knights.)
  • Place a settlement their team has purchased.
  • Tag other players (for knights.)

In between rounds, players have a minute to strategize, make purchases, and make trades with other teams.


During a round, a player may collect one resource by picking it up, and returning it to a hoop where their team has a city. The resource is considered collected once the player places a single foot in the hoop. Resources may not be tossed/passed.


Knights are special players, who wear their armbands on their heads. Teams start with 2 knights. Additional knights may be purchased.

During a round, a knight may two-handed tag another player to disable them. Once tagged, a player may not move or act in any way, until the round is over. Knights can tag other knights. If the tagged player is carrying a resource (which has not yet been returned to a city), they must give the resource to the knight.

Other than their tagging power, knights behave the same as other players in all ways.


Settlements are placed in hoops. Settlements allow players to start the round from that hoop.

Settlements are purchased. Once purchased, the settlement is given to a team member. The settlement must then be physically placed during a subsequent round (if a team fails to place a settlement on the round after they purchased it, they can still place it in a later round.)


Cities are upgrades of settlements. Cities allow players to return resources to that hoop, in order to collect them.

Cities are purchased. Once purchased, the team chooses an existing settlement to instantly upgrade. (Signify this by adding an additional settlement marker to the hoop, or use whatever marking method works for you.)

Development Cards

Development cards are purchased. Once purchased, they take instant effect. About half the cards simply give the team one victory point, and the other half apply some beneficial effect.


A team scores 1 VP every time they purchase a settlement, city, or a knight. They may also get extra VPs from development cards.

If you are playing a game with 4-player teams, but some teams have 3 players, give those teams 1 VP to start with.


Settlements, cities, knights and development cards may be purchased between rounds, by trading resources to the bank. The costs for each are:

  • Settlement: 2 wood, 2 brick
  • City: 1 wood, 1 brick, 1 ore, 1 sheep
  • Knight: 2 brick, 1 sheep
  • Development Card: 2 wood, 1 ore

When purchasing, any team wishing to purchase development cards do so first, so that development card effects are applied before any other purchases.

Once resources are used, they are returned to piles on the field. The order that piles get refilled in is subject to the whim of the referee. However, a pile should never contain more than 4 balls.

Development Cards

  • 4 cards that grant 1 VP
  • Year of Plenty: Instantly collect 3 resources from the field.
  • Monopoly: Choose a resource type. All other teams must give you all their resources of that type.
  • Robber: All other teams must discard half their resources (rounding up.)
  • Barbarians: Choose an opponents' settlement to remove from the map, or a city to downgrade to a settlement (cannot be used on starting cities.)