Catan Tournament Rules
Please note that the official tournament rules for Catan have been updated as of 2020. All players are expected to familiarise themselves with the updated rules before their event.
We're all about creating a fun, fair environment for everyone, so here are some basic guidelines:
- Need a rule clarification? Ask the arbiter.
- Rolling dice? Do it in the box lid!
- Finished your game? Write your scores and rankings on the scoresheet.
- Lastly, be nice!
These rules apply to all Catan Studio 2020 Catan National Championship Tournaments, regardless of country of origin.
1.0 GENERAL RULES
Please follow the rules found in your Catan® game.
1.1.1 The tournament is coordinated by at least one referee who will explain the Catan Tournament Rules and the Catan Code of Conduct before the start of the tournament.
1.1.2 If rules are broken at a table, players must call for a referee immediately. The referee's ruling is final. If a rule is 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 not judged by a referee were deemed as "normal."
1.1.3 If players feel that the outcome of a game was unfair due to broken rules or illegal play, they must immediately inform a referee. Once the game record sheet has been signed, further protest is not permitted and the results cannot be further altered. If a player is unwilling to give their signature, the referee will make the final decision as to the outcome of the game.
1.1.4 Referees can disqualify players from the tournament if the rules of the game are broken on purpose or a player has violated the Catan Code of Conduct. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, players breaking the rules with the intention of winning the game, players engaging in abusive play, or intentionally causing or promoting another player to win.
A disqualification can only be made during an active game or immediately after finishing a game.
Disqualification is not possible after the record sheet has been signed.
1.1.5 Poor game-play 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 your own position in-game is discouraged and will be served with a warning.
Further actions may result in a disqualification. You are prohibited from intentionally giving another player a win.
1.1.6 Referees and organizers may not play in their own tournament.
1.2 SINGLE TOURNAMENT FORMAT
1.2.1 The official tournament language is English.
1.2.2 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.
1.2.3 The Organizer has the authority to introduce and enforce a time limit on player turns, or players may, following set-up, call in a referee to enforced timed turns. Timed turn length is limited to three minutes.
Organizers may not end games before one player has reached 10 victory points and may not place time limits on the games themselves. If matches are running long, timed turns are encouraged.
1.2.4 The tournament is made up of three rounds: the Preliminary round, the Semi-Final round, and the Final round. If the tournament has 28 attendees or less, the Organizer may skip the Semi-Final round, and take the highest four scores after three games to create the Final round. There must be a minimum of 16 attendees.
1.2.5 In a preliminary round, all participants will play three games with the base Catan.
1.2.6 The organizer will generate a schedule that determines table and starting positions for each round. The player in first position selects color and chair first, followed by second, third, etc.
1.2.7 After 3 games, the 16 players with the highest rankings reach the Semi-Finals. The following chart determines at which table players will play. The player at each table with the highest preliminary ranking makes first color/chair selection (Rank 1, 2, 3, 4).
- 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.
- 1st Saturday: 3 games of Catan
- 2nd Saturday: 3 games of Catan
- 3rd Saturday: 3 games of Catan
- 4th Saturday: Combined scores from Preliminary dates and those players will play in the Semi-Finals and Finals
- Friday Preliminary: 3 games of Catan
- Saturday Preliminary: 3 games of Catan
- Sunday: Semi-Finals and Finals
The players choose their starting position and their seats at each table after the game board layout is confirmed.
1.2.8 The four winners of each of the Semi-Final games reach the Final game. In the Final, seating is based on ranking from the Preliminary round. The players select their starting position as they did in the Semi-Finals, along with player color in order of their rank. The winner of the Final will be the Qualifier Champion.
1.2.9 In the Semi-Final and in the Final, there are no shared seats.For the Semi-Finals, if there was a tie from the preliminary round lots are drawn. For the Finals, the Final ranking from the lots remains persistent.
1.3 MULTIPLE TOURNAMENT FORMAT
1.3.1 A tournament may also be made up of multiple Preliminary events over a selection of dates, with a final date for the SemiFinals and Finals. For example, a retailer may host Preliminary Events on different dates of a month.
1.3.2 Players may play in every Preliminary event to attempt to better their scores to reach the Semi-Finals. A player may have multiple scores from each of these rounds.
Scores from different preliminary rounds do not effect each other. A player's highest score is used to determine qualification for Semi-Finals.
1.4.1 During a preliminary round, the number of victories will be used to rank players.
1.4.2 In case of ties, the total sum of victory points across all three games will be used as the first tiebreaker.
1.4.3 If ties still exist after that, the second tiebreaker will be the sum of the percentage of victory points the players reached at their three tables. If there are still any ties after that, lots will be drawn.
Example (after three rounds): Players A and B both win 2 games. Both get 28 victory points - so there is still a tie. Now the percentages of victory points will be calculated.
For Player A:
Game 1: A gets 10 VPs, there were 32 VPs at the table, their percentage is: 31.25%.
Game 2: A gets 8 VPs, there were 30 VPs at the table, their percentage is: 26.67%.
Game 3: A gets 10 VPs, there were 36 VPs at the table, their percentage is: 27.78%. A's sum is: 85.70.
For Player B:
Game 1: B gets 10 VPs, there were 30 VPs at the table, so their percentage is: 33.33%.
Game 2: B gets 10 VPs, there were 33 VPs at the table, so their percentage is: 30.3%.
Game 3: B gets 8 VPs, there were 36 VPs at the table, their percentage is: 22.22%. B's sum is 85.85.
Player B is ranked higher than Player A.
In the case of a three-player game, a fourth score will be created by averaging the other three scores (rounding any 0.4 remainder down, and any 0.5 remainder up). This average score is included into the calculation as if it were a fourth player for purposes of the percentage of points earned.
1.5 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PLAYERS - MATERIAL
1.5.1 The tournament organizers set up the game boards.
All Qualifier games, including the Semi-Finals, will use the same game board layout for all players. Each game will have a new board layout.
1.5.2 All game materials must be kept on the table at all times, 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 stealing from another.
1.5.3 The number of cards in a player's hand is public information, and must be defined upon request.
1.5.4 In all games, with the exception of the Final, the starting player will act as resource banker, receiving used and distributing new resource cards to and from the supply. The starting player has to announce clearly when they are handing cards to themselves or when they are paying resources to the bank.
By agreement, players may create two resource piles, and/or collect cards on their own. If there is a disagreement 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 banker, the table can elect another player to be the single banker 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 should automatically handle all cards.
1.5.5 Newly obtained development cards must be kept well 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, such as Victory Point cards.
1.5.6 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 and 19 of each resource card. In the case of an issue, the organizer should be immediately notified.
1.5.7 Players are permitted to log events or dice rolls during the course of 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 shuffling dice from game sets between rounds if this occurs!
1.6 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PLAYERS - CONDUCT
1.6.1 Our official Catan tournaments are invitational programs. This is especially true of the National Qualifier Tournaments, National Championships, Masters Invitational, and the Catan World Championship.
All players are invitees. They must abide by this "Code of Conduct."
1.6.2 Catan is a values-based brand. Generally, Catan GmbH and Catan Studio expect players to conduct themselves in both a legal and civil manner during play, during other tournament activities, during related event activities, and throughout the tournament and event program.
1.6.3 Players shall exhibit kindness, courtesy, and fair play to others during tournament games, during other tournament activities, during related event activities, and throughout the tournament and event program.
1.6.4 Players shall not disrupt tournament activities, related event activities, or activities within the local community surrounding the tournament and event site.
1.6.5 Players shall not harm, or bring substantive harm to, the Catan brand before, during, or after the tournament event program.
1.6.6 Players shall not contest, dilute, and/or misappropriate Catan intellectual property.
1.6.7 Players shall be responsible for insuring that all friends and family members present at the tournament and event program also abide by this Code of Conduct.
1.6.8 Catan GmbH, Catan Studio, or their designated agents shall have the right to immediately and thoroughly disqualify a player who violates this Code of Conduct.
1.7 ANTI-HARASSMENT CODE OF CONDUCT
When at a convention or event hosted by Catan Studio, you are in a safe, respectful, inclusive, and fun environment. This Code of Conduct applies to everyone: staff, contractors, other vendors, convention staff, guests, and press will be held to the same standards. We reserve the right to remove or ban any person who does not adhere to the Code of Conduct.
We do not tolerate harassment of any kind, including: intimidation or threats, inappropriate disruption of events, hurtful language, physical assault of any type, inappropriate physical contact, unwanted sexual attention, unwanted photography or video recording, bullying, stalking, or following.
Especially in connection to: race or ethnicity, national origin, gender identity or presentation, sex or sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, citizenship status, medical condition or pregnancy.
If you experience or witness any form of harassment, please contact a Catan Studio staff member or convention show office. If you are asked to stop any harassing behavior as listed above, STOP immediately. Enforcement will be escalated to the convention staff.
2.0 ADDITIONAL AND SUPPLEMENTARY RULES
The following are areas of Catan rules that occasionally cause confusion.
These are clarifications to the standard rules. If there is any disagreement between the standard rules and these clarifications, then the clarification is considered to be the official rule.
2.1 A player's turn begins with receiving the passed dice. Players are allowed to play any development card (for example, a Soldier / Knight card) before they roll the dice. No other actions may occur prior to the rolling of the dice.
2.2 Once the dice are rolled, the dice roll must be resolved before any other actions are taken.
2.3 Players are not allowed to build a road beyond a settlement or city of another player.
2.4 Players are allowed to upgrade a settlement to a city in the same turn it is built. To do that, the player cannot have five settlements on the board before building the settlement the player wants to upgrade.
2.5 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 it. Players are not allowed to immediately play a soldier / knight out of turn, 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 soldier / knight.
2.6 There is no distinction between the trade and building phase.
2.7 A harbor may be used the same turn that a player builds on it.
2.8 If after rolling the dice, there are not enough resource cards of one kind to give every player, no one will receive a card of this kind. The other resource cards are handed out to the players as usual. If only one player gets resource cards and there are not enough cards of this kind in stock, they will receive all available cards of this kind.
2.9 It is not legal to intentionally show your resource cards to any other players outside of cards displayed for trade during a players trading phase. If shown, this information is public until the end of that trading phase.
2.10 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, the player must wait until the next turn before winning the game (assuming no earlier player wins, and the player still has 10 points).
2.11 The robber is in effect as soon as the game begins, from the first throw of the dice. There is no "grace period" before the robber is moved. The robber MAY be moved back to the desert during the game (new with the 4th edition English rules).
2.12 If a player forgets to move the robber, it will be:
- placed on a field of the player's choice if the player is still the active player. The active player can then, according to the rules of the basic game, draw a resource card from the hand of another player, provided that the active player hasn't taken further actions like attempting to trade with other players.
- placed on the desert field, if the turn is completed. No cards may be taken.
2.13 Players take a series of actions on their turn. They may build and trade in any order. An action is considered complete as soon as the player begins the next action. For example, if a player is building a road and they place the road on the board they may still reposition the road 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 attempt to take a card from another player.
2.14 Cards played into the supply 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 sheep in for a wheat, a player can decide to take brick instead as long as it is in that trading action.
2.15 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.
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