Tournament RULES

These rules apply to all countries participating in CATAN Studio’s CATAN® Championship Tournament Program.

Last revised: April 2024

Table of Contents

1.0 General Rules

Games follow CATAN English 5th Edition rules.

1.1 Standard Tournament Format

1.1.1    Language: The official tournament language is English.

1.1.2    Game Edition: All games must be played using the same version of CATAN. CATAN Studio prefers the use of 5th Edition, but older editions may be used provided all games are played using the same edition.

1.1.3    Attendance and Number of Rounds: There must be a minimum of 12 attendees for tournament results to be considered valid.

  • 29+ attendees: The tournament is made up of three rounds: the Preliminary Round, the Semi-Final Round, and the Final Round (5 games total).
  • 16-28 attendees: The Organizer may choose to skip the Semi-Final Round and take the highest four scores after the Prelminary Round to create the Final Round (4-5 games total).
  • 12-15 attendees: Skip the Semi-Final round and move directly to a 4-person Final Table following the Preliminary Round (4 games total).

1.1.4    Preliminary Round: In the Preliminary round, all participants will play three games with the CATAN base game.

1.1.5    Schedule Seating: The Tournament Organizer will generate a schedule either manually or using the Best Coast Pairings Tournament software that determines table and selection order for each game in the Preliminary Round. Seat schedules should attempt to prioritize, in this order: 1) playing different opponents; 2) unique play order selection positions; and 3) not seating players at tables with friends or family members.

1.1.6    Play Order Selection: The player in the first selection position selects their chair, then color, then play order. Then, the person in second position selects their color, then play order, followed by third and fourth. All players should sit in chairs matching their selected play order.

1.1.7    Semi-Finals: If the tournament format includes a Semi-Final round, after three games, the 16 players with the highest rankings advance to the Semi-Finals. The chart below determines at which table players will play.

  • Table 1: Rank 1, Rank 8, Rank 9, Rank 16
  • Table 2: Rank 2, Rank 7, Rank 10, Rank 15
  • Table 3: Rank 3, Rank 6, Rank 11, Rank 14
  • Table 4: Rank 4, Rank 5, Rank 12, Rank 13

1.1.8    Game Length and Timed Turns: Games will not end until one player has reached 10 victory points on their turn. While the Tournament Organizer will not place time limits on the games, they may introduce and enforce a time limit on player turns. Timed turn length is three minutes.

At any point following opening placements, any player may call for a judge to enforce timed turns.

Timed turns may always be imposed at the Tournament Organizer’s discretion.

1.1.9    Final Game: The Final game is played by the 4 Semi-Final winners (or the top 4 players from the Preliminary round in smaller tournaments). The players make chair, color, and play order selections as in rule 1.1.6 in order of their Preliminary rank. Any tiebreaker applied after the Preliminary round carries forward (see rule 1.4.2).

1.1.10   Tournament Winner: The winner of the Final game will be the Qualifier Champion.

1.2 Variant Tournament Format

1.2.1    Multiple Preliminary Rounds: A tournament may be made up of two or more Preliminary Round events over a range of dates, with a final date for the Semi-Finals and Finals.

For example, a retail store organizer may host Preliminary Round events on different dates of a month, or a convention organizer may host multiple Preliminary Round events during a multi-day convention.

1.2.2    Preliminary Round: Each Preliminary Round event consists of three games with the CATAN base game.

1.2.3    Participating in Multiple Preliminary Rounds: Players may play in as many or as few Preliminary Round events as they wish to reach the Semi-Finals.

A player will have a Preliminary Round score from each of these events. Scores from different Preliminary Round events do not affect each other. A player’s highest Preliminary Round score is used to determine their qualification for Semi-Finals.

1.2.4    Semifinals and Finals: Scores are combined from all Preliminary Round events and the players who rank in the top 16 will play in the event Semi-Finals, after which they advance normally per rule 1.1.9.

1.3 Judges

1.3.1    Judges: At least one judge must be present during the tournament. The Judge should explain the CATAN Tournament Rules and the CATAN Code of Conduct at the start of the tournament. Judges are the final arbiters of all Game Rules and Code of Conduct disputes. Judge rulings are restricted to resolving these disputes and may not contain strategy suggestions or tips.

1.3.2    Tournament Fair Play: Judges and Organizers may not play in their own tournaments.

1.3.3    Calling a Judge: Players may pause the game and call for a Judge at any time regarding Game Rules or Code of Conduct concerns. All Judge rulings are final. If a rule is suspected to be broken and players do not report it immediately, this is considered “normal” play and its effect on the final game results must be accepted.

Repeated incidents can be called out individually even if previous incidents were not ruled upon and were considered “normal” play.

1.3.4    End-of-Game Dispute: If players feel that the outcome of a game was unfair due to broken rules or illegal play, they must immediately inform a judge. Once the game record sheet has been signed or scores have been submitted via Best Coast Pairings, further protest is not permitted, and the results cannot be further altered. If a player is unwilling to give their signature, the judge will decide the outcome of the game.

1.3.5    Disqualification: Judges may disqualify players from the tournament if the rules of the game are broken on purpose (cheating) or at any time during the event if a player violates the CATAN Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct violations include, but are not limited to, players breaking the Game Rules with the intention of winning the game, players engaging in abusive behavior, or players intentionally causing or promoting another player to win without objective benefit to themselves.

A rules-related disqualification can only be made during an active game or immediately after finishing a game. Rules-related disqualification is not possible after all players have signed the record sheet.

1.3.6    Collusion: Poor gameplay is not a justification for disqualification. Players colluding strictly in service to advance mutual positions in the game can be frustrating but is not a justification for disqualification.

Collusion among players to advance other players’ positions in the tournament rather than to further one’s own position is discouraged and will be served with a warning. Further actions may result in a disqualification. Players are prohibited from intentionally giving another player a win.

Prolonging a game to prevent someone else from winning is considered furthering one’s own position and is legal play.

1.4 Scoring

1.4.1    Preliminary Round: During the Preliminary Round, the number of victories will be used to rank players.

1.4.2    Tiebreakers: The total sum of victory points across all three games will be used as the first tiebreaker.

If there is still a tie, the second tiebreaker is the sum of the percentage of victory points the players earned at their three tables. See Rule 1.4.3 below for calculation instructions.

If there is still a tie, the player with the higher number of second place, then third place finishes, wins the tie.

If there is still a tie after that, lots will be drawn.

Example (after three rounds):

Players A and B both won two games. Both got 28 victory points, so there is still a tie. To break this tie, Victory Point Percentage (VP%) must be calculated.

1.4.3    Calculation Method for Victory Point Percentage (VP%):

For Player A, Game 1:
Player A earned 10 VPs, and there were 32 VPs total at the table.
A’s VP% for this game is: 31.25%

Game 2:
Player A earned 8 VPs, and there were 30 VPs at the table.
A’s VP% for this game is: 26.67%

Game 3:
Player A earned 10 VPs, and there were 36 VPs at the table.
A’s VP% for this game is: 27.78%

A’s Total VP% is: 85.70 (31.25+26.67+27.78)

For Player B, Game 1:
Player B earned 10 VPs, and there were 30 VPs at the table.
B’s VP% for this game is: 33.33%

Game 2:
Player B earned 10 VPs, and there were 33 VPs at the table.
B’s VP% for this game is: 30.3%

Game 3:
Player B earned 8 VPs, and there were 36 VPs at the table.
B’s VP% for this game is: 22.22%

B’s Total VP% is: 85.85 (33.33+30.3+22.22)
Player B is therefore ranked higher than Player A.

In the case of a three-player game, a fourth dummy score will be created by averaging the other three scores (rounding any 0.4 remainder down, and any 0.5 remainder up).

Example: A 3-player game was completed, and the scores were:
Player A: 8 VPs
Player B: 10 VPs
Player C: 7 VPs

The dummy score is created by averaging the above: (8+10+7)/3 = 8.33 = 8 VPs

This average score is included in the calculation as if it were a fourth player when adding up total VPs at the table for VP%: 8+10+6+8 = 32

1.4.4    Semi-Finals and Finals: Following the Semi-Finals, rankings for players in places 5-16 will be updated by incorporating the results of the Semi-Final games.

Following the Finals, rankings will be updated by ordering places 1-4 in order of scores at the Final table.

Tiebreaks are calculated as in rule 1.4.2, considering results from Preliminary and Semi-Final games.

2.0 Player Responsibilities – Material

2.0.1    Game Board Setup: The Tournament Organizers will generate board layouts. All tournament games will use the same game board layout for all players in each round. Each round will have a new board layout.

2.0.2    Visibility of Game Materials: All game materials must always be kept on the table, so that they are clearly visible to all players. This is especially true for development and resource cards, which must be held above the table throughout the game. All shuffling should happen above the table, including when one player is robbing a card from another.

2.0.3    Cards in Hand: The number of cards in a player’s hand is public information and must be defined upon request.

2.0.4    Resource Distribution: In all games, except for the Final, the starting player will act as resource handler, receiving used and distributing new resource cards to and from the supply.

When paying cards to the supply, players must clearly display all cards before handing them to the resource handler. The starting player must announce clearly when they are handing cards to themselves, and clearly display resources before paying them to the supply.

By agreement, players may create two resource piles, and/or collect cards on their own. If there is a question as to players collecting the correct number of cards, these agreements are voided, and the starting player must distribute all cards.

If the starting player is uncomfortable being the resource handler, the table can elect another player to be the single resource handler if all agree. At any time, players may ask for a judge to handle all cards for the rest of the game. In the Final, a judge will perform all resource handler duties.

2.0.5    Development Cards: The table may agree to have the resource handler distribute development cards.

Newly obtained development cards must be kept far away from the other cards the players might have in hand. If this rule is broken, the player forfeits the opportunity to play a development card until their next turn.

2.0.6    Game Pieces: Players are responsible for verifying that they have the correct number of pieces at the beginning of the game (5 settlements, 4 cities, 15 roads). Also, all players should verify that there are 25 development cards (14 knight cards, 6 progress cards, 5 victory point cards) and 19 of each resource card. In the case of an issue, a judge should be notified immediately.

2.0.7    Recordkeeping: Players are permitted to log events or dice rolls during a game. However, if any player does this, there must be a public announcement of this, and the organizers must also be notified. Organizers are responsible for collecting and swapping dice between game sets after each game if this occurs.

2.1 Player Responsiblities – Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy

You are responsible for adhering to the CATAN Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy, located here.

3.0 Additional and Supplementary Rules

The following are clarifications to CATAN rules that occasionally cause confusion. In the event of any disagreement between the standard rules and these clarifications, the clarification is the official rule.

3.0.1    Start of Turn: A player’s turn begins with receiving the passed dice. Players may play any development card (for example, a knight card) and/or declare victory before they roll the dice. No other actions may occur prior to the rolling of the dice.

3.0.2    Resolve Die Roll: Once the dice are rolled, the dice roll must be resolved (resources must be distributed, or the robber must be placed, and a card stolen) before any other actions may be taken.

This prohibits bargaining that includes discussion about any type of resource exchange, which is only allowed in the trading and building phase. If a player attempts to negotiate a trade before completing the robber action, the robber will be placed in the desert and the player receives no cards as in rule 3.0.16(b). Bargaining that includes discussion regarding where to place the robber is allowed.

3.0.3    Building a Road: Players are not allowed to build a road beyond a settlement or city of another player.

3.0.4    “Longest Road” and “Largest Army” Tiles: The “Longest Road” and “Largest Army” tiles automatically transfer to a player as soon as they meet the conditions to earn that tile. It is not necessary for the new owner to physically take the tile.

3.0.5    Building a City: Players are allowed to upgrade a settlement to a city in the same turn it is built. The settlement the player wishes to upgrade must be in the player’s supply and must be placed in the building spot before it can be upgraded later in the turn.

3.0.6    Winning with a Development Card: If a player buys a development card with a victory point on it, they may immediately reveal it if it is their tenth victory point to win the game. This is only possible with development cards that have a victory point printed on them. For example, players are not allowed to immediately play a knight, even if this means that the player would get the largest army and win the game. The player must wait until their next turn before playing the knight.

3.0.7    Combined Trade/Build Phase: There is no distinction between the trade phase and building phase. Tournaments use the Combined Trade/Build Phase as described in the CATAN Almanac.

3.0.8    Turn Actions: Players take a series of actions on their turn. An action is considered complete as soon as the player begins the next action.

For example, if a player is building a road and places it on the board, they may still reposition it while they are in their road building action. The instant a player instigates a trade or begins another action (like building a settlement or buying a development card), their road building action is over, and the road may not be moved. Likewise, a robber movement action is complete when you take a card from another player. Also see rule 3.0.9 for clarification on Spent Cards.

3.0.9    Spent Cards: Cards played into the supply for a legal purchase are spent cards. Cards spent may be used for something different than what they were originally intended for but may not be taken back. For example, a player may trade four wool in for a grain, and then decide to take clay instead, as long as it is in that trading action. Players are prohibited from intentionally misspending cards to reduce hand size.

3.0.10   Building on a Harbor: A harbor may be used the same turn that a player builds on it.

3.0.11   Running out of Resource Cards: If, after rolling the dice, there are not enough resource cards of one type to give every player, no one will receive a card of this type. The other resource cards are handed out to the players as usual.

If a single player gets one type of resource card and there are not enough cards of this type in stock, they will receive all available cards of this type.

3.0.12   Keeping Hand Hidden: It is not legal to intentionally show your resource cards to any other players outside of cards displayed for trade during a player’s trading phase. If shown, this information is public until the end of that trading phase.

3.0.13   Free Resources: It is not legal for a player to give or receive a resource card for “free,” either in one trade or in a series of trades. If this occurs, both players are guilty of collusion and are subject to discipline up to and including disqualification from the World Championship program.

3.0.14   Claiming Victory: A player has won if they have 10 or more victory points (although only 10 will be counted for the ranking) and it is the player’s turn. If a player does not notice that they have 10 points and fails to claim victory in their turn, the player must wait until their next turn before winning the game (assuming no earlier player wins, and the player still has 10 points).

3.0.15   No Friendly Robber: The robber is in effect as soon as the game begins. There is no “grace period” before the robber is moved. The robber MAY be moved back to the desert during the game.

3.0.16   Forgotten Robber: If a player forgets to move the robber and is still the active player:

Provided the player has not taken further actions such as attempting to trade with other players, the robber is placed on a field of the player’s choice. The active player should then, according to the standard rules, draw a resource card from the hand of another player.

Otherwise, the robber is placed on the desert hex. No cards may be taken.

3.0.17   Rolling Dice: If possible, dice should be rolled into dice trays. If either of the dice are ever completely obscured by rolling off the table or landing in a cup/pocket/etc., reroll both dice. If a die is cocked, balance the other die on top, if it slides off, reroll both dice.

3.1 Photography and Video Policy

You are subject to the CATAN Studio Photography & Video Policy, located here.

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