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Catan’s two-player rules and free mini-expansion released for COVID-19 lockdown

Don’t steal, stay at home.

A new print-and-play mini-expansion for Catan and the board game’s two-player rules have been made available to download for free in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A beginner board game, Catan - originally known as Settlers of Catan - has players each establishing their own societies and structures on an island rich with resources. By building settlements, players can collect valuable goods such as sheep, wood and ore that they can then use to further develop their settlements into cities and establish a network of roads to connect them, earning points as they expand.

A key element of Catan is the robber token, which is activated whenever a seven is rolled by the current player. Usually, the active player can place the robber on a tile of their choice - as long as it is not the same tile it was already occupying - in order to steal a resource from any players who have a settlement on that tile and stop any further goods from being produced while the robber is present.

In a newly-released print-and-play mini-expansion for Catan, the robber is suddenly reformed and will provide players with resources instead of stealing them.

Released by publisher Catan Studio in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the #WeStayHome scenario is a free expansion for the beginner board game that adds a home tile intended to replace the desert tile in the middle of the board.

Players can choose to place a settlement on a tile adjacent to the home tile; whenever the robber is rolled and placed on a resource tile players with settlements or cities next to the home tile are given whatever resource the robber is placed on, rather than have it taken from them.

On top of the expansion, a set of rules for playing two-player Catan has been released by Catan Studio as a free download.

In the two-player version, previously available in the Traders & Barbarians expansion, neutral players are introduced to the board and receive a free settlement and road every time a human player builds one. The resource dice are also rolled twice every turn, instead of just once. Either player can force their opponent to make a trade by taking two random resource cards from their hand, or choose to move the robber to the desert hex if it is on a tile containing one of their settlements or cities.

Settlers of Catan board game cards

Other than the core Catan board game, Catan Studio is known for releasing the game's many expansions and spin-offs, such as Seafarers and Cities & Knights. The publisher is currently developing a mobile app called Catan: World Explorers, alongside Pokemon Go creator Niantic - the app is slated for a 2020 release.

The Catan #WeStayHome print-and-play game mini-expansion and rules for the two-player board game variant are available to download now from the Catan Studio's website.

If Catan isn’t going to be quite challenging enough for you during lockdown, maybe you'll find something more to your skill level in our round-up of our favourite two-player games.

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Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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