Take a look at my YouTube video for a great 2 Player Settlers of Catan version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcK5WhjRWio
“Settlers of Catan” is designed for 3 or 4 players. When played by 2 players, the game has issues that affect play if standard rules are used. Here are some of the concerns:
• There is less competition for territory because there is more land per player.
Solution? Less Territory!
• In a 2 player game, once a player gets ahead in resource gathering potential (settlements and cities in good locations), it is nearly impossible for the other player to catch up. This isn't as big of a problem in a 3 or 4 player game, since the other players tend to "gang up" on the leading player. With only 2 players, one player can run away with the game in the early stages.
Solution? Robin Hood Robber!
• Because there are only 2 players, there are fewer chances between turns to get Resources than when playing with 3 or 4 players.
Solution? Special features to increase chances to get Resources!
• Player/player trading doesn't happen, since any trade helps your ONLY competitor.
Solution? Proportionally more Ports in Play!
TWO PLAYER GAME SETUP
Build the game border upside down so that no ports are showing. This will leave a Water Border, and Ports will be placed later.
Resource Tiles: TAKE ONE OF EACH RESOURCE TILE AND TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN.
The Game Board uses the following Resource Tiles:
• 3 Forests
• 3 Fields
• 3 Pastures
• 2 Hills
• 2 Mountains
• 1 Desert
• 5 Water Cards (the upside down Resource Tiles mentioned above )
Placing Resource Tiles on the Game Board: Take the 13 resource tiles and the desert tile, shuffle well, and place them in one pile, face up. Place the Water tiles (the 6 unused Resource Tiles, upside down) in another pile. Start placing tiles using the “Variable Set-Up” method as per the standard Rules, but randomize the Resource and Water cards by rolling a single die:
• Roll of 1 or 2, place an Water tile
• Roll of 3 to 6, place a Resource tile
Number Tokens: Remove one each of the 3, 4, 10 and 11 number tokens. In this game, combine the 2 and 12 number tokens and use them in tandem on one Resource hex. All other number tokens are used on the remaining individual Resource hexes (Desert Tiles and Water tiles do NOT get numbered).
NOTE: Using the 2 and 12 token combination on one resource gives the same odds as rolling a 3 or 11.
Place all number tiles using the “Variable Set-Up” method as per the standard Rules, remembering that the Red number tokens (the 6’s and the 8’s) CANNOT be next to each other.
HEX LAYOUT EXAMPLES:
Port Placement: 9 loose port tiles are used- Five “2:1” Port for each of the 5 Resources, plus Four “? 3:1” Port. Use the standard Port Placement locations from the regular game, with the following exceptions: if a port cannot be used because a water tile is there, then move the port to another tile with water frontage following these rules:
• Isolated single hexes are given ports first
• Ports are placed on the “Flat” of a hex pointing to water
• Ports must be a minimum of 2 flats away from each other
• No individual hex can have more than 1 port
• No “Cove” Ports (have a U shape with 3 hexes and the port at the bottom of the u)
• New Port locations are placed one at a time by alternate players
• No port can be placed on a single landlocked water hex
• Ports may be placed in an inland lake of 2 hexes or more.
• New Set Up: Game Board is set up differently (see “Game Set-Up” section)
• Bridge Building: Bridges can be built to connect land over water. Ore and Wood make a Bridge. Bridges can be up to two spans in length, maximum.
• Robin Hood Rule: When a 7 is rolled, then the player with the fewest victory points controls the robber (Robin Hood). When players have the same number of victory points, the player who rolled the dice controls the robber. Do NOT count Victory points hidden in Development Cards. Giving control of the robber to the trailing player helps prevent the other player from running away with the game.
• No Robber in play until each player has 3 Victory Points (not counting Victory Points hidden in Development Cards): If a 7 is rolled during this phase, re-roll.
• No Player Trades: Players may only trade with the bank (4:1 turn-ins) or at a sea port. No trades between players, since with only 2 players against each other it is rare to agree on trades. Since there are less resource tiles, port ratio increases.
• Cards in Hand: The limit for the number of cards a player can hold when the robber is activated is increased from 7 to 9. In the four player game there is ample opportunity to trade with other players between turns. In this variant, players tend to accumulate more cards between turns, so the limit was increased accordingly.
Hope you like it!