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Player A: Wants to expand to resource-rich area of board. They build two roads and plan to build a settlement and continue their road to the resource-rich area.

Player B: Also wants same location as player A for their next settlement. They build two roads, ending at same hex intersection as player A. Player B builds their settlement first.

Player A: Still wants resources further away, so places another road on the other side of player B's settlement.

Player A has a road going into the hex intersection, and argues that they can build a connecting road going out of the intersection, regardless of whether another player has a settlement there.

Is this really a legal move? If not, where in the rules does it specify that this it is not allowed?

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up vote 28 down vote accepted

From the official FAQ:

Can the roads I build “go through” other players’ settlements and cities?

Answer: No. If you build a new road, it must always connect to one of your own roads, settlements, or cities.

The inverse situation is also interesting:

Longest Road - How can I interrupt the Longest Road of a game partner?

Answer: By building a settlement on an intersection within the Longest Road. Of course, you have to observe all building rules when doing this.

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Hmm, that's interesting. Wonder why; seems like an odd design choice to allow settlements to interrupt a road while disallowing "building through", which will end up with the same result on the board eventually. – VolcanoLotus Apr 18 '12 at 17:46
@VolcanoLotus: allowing "building through" would diminish the competition for space (and diminish the need to be efficient in action in the game). That ultimately reduces the strategic choices in the game. On the other hand, allowing roads to be cut increases such choices, both for the road builder (place a settlement now, or keep building a longer road?) and for the would-be-interrupter. – mattdm Dec 31 '12 at 5:09
So, although the end picture might be the same in either case, the impact on gameplay is not. And, both follow from the straightforward application of a simple rule based on when the pieces are played, not the eventual result. – mattdm Dec 31 '12 at 13:57

From the Settlers of Catan rulebook, page 4, section 3a:

A new road must always connect to 1 of your existing roads, settlements, or cities.

If your opponent builds a settlement at the end of your road, you are no longer connecting your road to your existing road, you are connecting it to an opponent’s settlement, which is not legal.

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To be clear, connecting a road to an opponent's settlement is not illegal in itself. – djechlin Nov 10 '15 at 18:41

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