Your ultimate guide to the best Settlers of Catan expansions large and small. Settlers of Catan is one of the most beloved and well-sold board game of all time. Knowing this, the creators have spent the last 25 years building out the Catan universe. This means many side games but also many key expansions and scenarios. There is mush to sort through so use this as your buying guide to figure out which Catan expansion to buy. This is our comprehensive guide to the best Settlers of Catan Expansions.
Visit the Settlers of Catan Page for all other information.
LARGE EXPANSIONS (5 TOTAL)
#05 | Catan: Explorers & Pirates (2013)
Catan: Explorers & Pirates takes the bottom spot on the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions because it is just not as exciting as its other expansion counterparts. If you are dead set on owning them all, then by all means welcome this as a piece of the collection, but maybe don’t start here. The expansion includes five scenarios and three missions; some of the scenarios make use of the missions while others do not. The three major differences subtle varieties in board layout, type of cities to buy and victory point options.
FOR MORE: Buy Catan: Explorers & Pirates on Amazon
#04 | Catan: Traders & Barbarians (2007)
Catan: Traders & Barbarians takes this spot on the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions because the set of game options are ok, but they are not essential. There is nothing major here, it is instead a compilation of small expansions and variants. The scenarios that come with are The Fisherman of Catan, The Rivers of Catan, The Great Caravan, Barbarian Invasion and Traders & Barbarians. The Fisherman is probably the most popular, where cities on the port also produce fish and those fish can be used for special buys.
#03 | Catan: Seafarers (1997)
Catan: Seafarers takes the number three spot on the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions because if you want to grow outside of your normal area, this is essential. This one is all about having a much bigger space to work with. Players can build shipping lanes, which are very similar to roads. These lead to new islands that unlock new opportunities for resources. There are only so many numbers, so they take theirs from other spaces once discovered.
FOR MORE: Buy Catan: Seafarers on Amazon
#02 | Catan: Cities & Knights (1998)
Catan: Cities & Knights makes the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions because it adds the most interesting new dynamics of any of the Catan expansions. This adds several new aspects, key ones being, creating knights to protect the land from invading barbarians, using three new resources and building city improvements that confer benefits upon that city’s owner.
FOR MORE: Buy Catan: Cities & Knights on Amazon
#01 | Catan: 5 – 6 Player Extension (1996)
Catan: 5 – 6 Player Extension takes the top spot on the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions because it provides the absolute most any expansion can give you. An expansion extends a game, while the others on this list provide new things, what this does is add more of the core game you love. Even if you do not want to play 5 – 6 players, adding the space to a 3 or 4 player game makes it all like a brand new frontier. It may be plain, but everyone should absolutely start here.
SCENARIO EXPANSIONS (9 TOTAL)
Also sold as Settlers of Catan expansions but slightly smaller are the scenarios. There is a variety of these and we knew it was certainly important to include them in our ranking of the best Settlers of Catan expansions. These typically take existing game elements and give you tasks to accomplish but they all vary dramatically.
#09 | #WeStayHome (2020)
In difficult times, it is important for people to support each other. This has led to a change of heart in the robber, who has now begun distributing resources instead of stealing them.
FOR MORE: Download #WeStayHome on Catan Site
#08 | Catan Scenarios: Santa Claus (2015)
Santa needs wool for his new coat and the coats of his elves. If you give Santa Claus wool on your turn, you may move him to a hex on the island of Catan. Once he arrives on the hex, he gives the settlers Christmas gifts and may even chase away the robber and/or to protect a hex! This expansion increases the strategic value of wool, which in the basic game is considered the least attractive commodity.
FOR MORE: Download Santa Claus on Catan Site
#07 | Catan Scenarios: Easter Bunny (2020)
In this print & play scenario for the Catan base game, the Easter Bunny needs wool to make an Easter sweater. If you give the Easter Bunny wool on your turn, you can move it around Catan. When the Bunny arrives on a hex, it leaves gifts for the settlers and can even chase away the robber!
FOR MORE: Download Easter Bunny on Catan Site
#06 | Catan Scenarios: Crop Trust (2018)
Players balance their individual need to harvest crops against their collective goal to store and preserve seeds in the Seed Vault. Players who harvest too much endanger the seed diversity, and in doing so, threaten Catan with mass extinctions and a collapse of the food supply.
FOR MORE: Buy Crop Trust on Amazon
#05 | Catan Scenarios: Legend of the Sea Robbers (2017)
Note you need Seafarers for this. This includes four new linked scenarios that tell the “Legend of the Sea Robber” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Catan: Seafarers. Each scenario can be played individually, with players trying to win the game as usual by collecting ten victory points, but players can also record their scores at the end of each scenario, with effects of one game affecting the next.
FOR MORE: Buy Legend of the Sea Robbers on Amazon
#04 | Catan Scenarios: Legend of the Conquerors (2019)
Note you need Cities & Knights for this. Over three chapters, players experience another section of Catanian history. The additional game elements require deep strategic thinking and provide the most intense challenge players will have faced so far.
FOR MORE: Buy Legend of the Conquerors on Amazon
#03 | Catan Scenarios: Frenemies (2012)
The Frenemies help. Thanks to their beneficence, Catan’s guilds reward such noble-minded behavior by handing out “Favor Tokens” (FTs). Each guild helps us in different ways: granting us roads, development cards, random resources, preferential trades, or even Victory Points.
FOR MORE: Buy Frenemies on Amazon
#02 | Catan Scenarios: Oil Springs (2011)
Here settlers arriving on Catan will cry “Eureka!” as they discover black gold on the island for the first time. This resource brings great opportunity but also danger to the intrepid settlers as they make their mark on the island, claiming it for their own. It is sad this one only makes the runner up spot on the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions for this section, it is a great one.
FOR MORE: Buy Oil Springs on Amazon
#01 | Catan Scenarios: Helpers of Catan (2010)
This mini-expansion consists of ten character cards, each of which has a different special ability that the player can use once or twice before trading for another. For example, Marianne lets you take any one resource card if you rolled something other than a 7, but didn’t get resources from that roll. This is a great scenario that easily tops the list of the best Settlers of Catan expansions for this section.
FOR MORE: Buy Helpers of Catan on Amazon