How to lose at Settlers of Catan

Header image for the article How to lose at Settlers of Catan Credit: "SETTLERS OF CATAN" BY ALEXANDRE DURET-LUTZ ON FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Just when you thought your Catan career was ending, there are some sure fire ways to piss your troupe off.

Your placement stinks, you swear a four hasn’t been rolled the entire game, and now someone put a robber on your only source of ore for the fifth time. There’s no way you can win, which means there’s one thing left to do: watch the world burn. Here are some steps for going out with a bang.

Phase 1: Roads everywhere

You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than to have a sheep in your hand? Settlements and development cards far beyond your means? Use every single brick and road you get to build incredibly inconvenient roads. They don’t have to connect, they just have to block all the best ports. Bonus points if you manage to cut everyone else’s roads in half or circle off an important resource.

Phase 2: The robber

Strategic robber placement is key to the game, and, in the end, there are only two resources that are critical for gaining victory points: wheat and ore. The best strategy is to pick a player that only has one source for either of these (doesn’t matter who, since you won’t win no matter what) and place the robber there. From there, you can engage in all the one-sided trading you want. Remember, winning isn’t important but not coming in last is.

Phase 3: Monopoly

Finally get a development card only to discover it’s just a monopoly? Don’t worry. This may be the best thing to ever happen. Simply ask for a trade – offer two cards and remember to seem a bit desperate to sweeten the deal – and then, once you’ve determined what everyone has the most of, pull out the monopoly card and bask in the glares of your new enemies.

Phase 4: Oops!

Now that you’ve made everyone hate you, it’s impossible for anyone to get longest road, and you have a hand that contains more sheep than all of New Zealand. It’s time for the final move. Stand suddenly – being sure to knock the table over with your hip or knee as you do so – and yell, “I CANNOT BE DEFEATED.” After all, a game not completed is a game you can’t lose.