Infographic: How to play Settlers of Catan

HowToPlayCatan  CatanSQ

UPDATE:  Thank you to those who have been kind enough to reach out with some errors I’ve made.  I’m correcting them as I go.  I certainly appreciate it when people take the time to thoughtfully respond.

This is what I think all game instructions should be like.

As a long time board game enthusiast I have explained the rules to ‘The Settlers of Catan’ countless times.  The process of bringing new players up to speed takes a lot of time.  In searching for an easier way to explain my favorite board game I decided to put my design skills to work on the problem.

The results were eye opening for me.  So much so that I now thing that all game instructions should come in some form of infographic to shorten the time between you opening the box and playing the game.

Why an infographic?  That’s the easy part.  90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  Not only that but visual information is processed by the brain 60,000x faster than text.  When you have to learn something quickly there is no better way than to use this ‘super-highway’ into the mind.  While you can’t get rid of text, you can enhance the speed at which you absorb information quite substantially by augmenting it ​with visual aids.  All of that adds up to you playing this game with your friends faster.  Click here to see the full infographic.  In addition to the infographic, I’ve also designed a special Catan-themed tshirt called ‘Lord of Catan.’
Lord Of Catan

8 thoughts on “Infographic: How to play Settlers of Catan

  1. I’m glad that this graphic works for you, but it’s very confusing for me. I’ve played Catan for a long time as well, and taught it to a lot of people, and I go in a very different order than this graphic does to explain the concepts. Combined with the errors and omissions, the repeated icons used to represent different mechanics, and the absolutely dense forest of text in your ‘graphic’, and I would hesitate to recommend this, or a process like this, for game instructions or for teaching.

    There’s a reason that infographics are usually used as presentation aids, for summary information, or to put groups of visual data of different types near each other; not to present detailed, precise, or dense information. In my opinion, this graphic completely fails.

    It may be more interesting to make a smaller subset of graphics, like a series of actions for set up or turn order, and then call out the section names and pages where the details can be found. In order to preserve clarity and act as a reference, however, those sections should still be primarily text.

    • I can appreciate your comments, but disagree. Thanks for the comments. Errors, for sure I’m working on eliminating. ‘Completely fails’ and ‘dense forest of text’ goes further than I would in describing this infographic. In designing this I had in mind a quick start guide rather than a detailed representation of the entire rule set. I’m sure you’ll make what you will of that. Certainly different people teach things differently. Happy gaming!

  2. You should probably include a note about how players are allowed to play knights before they roll, if they want to move the robber away.

    Players can also make offers to active player during trading phase, too.

    Really awesome infographic! Nice work.

  3. “This is what I think all game instructions should be like.”

    I sure as hell hope not. Otherwise, RIP board games.

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