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Let's say that I have already placed 14 roads and have the Road Building Progress Card. Am I able to play it and place my single road, or must I be able to play 2?

Here's the full description in the Almanac:

Road Building: If you play this card, you may immediately place 2 free roads on the board (according to normal building rules).

It seems like if I may place 2 free roads I may place only 1 road, but someone suggested that I must place 2.

3 Answers 3

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Yes. There are no rules providing conditions that must be met to play development cards other than playing only 1 per turn, and not playing them the turn you buy them. So you would play the card, and then just do what you can to follow the instructions. If the instructions are impossible to follow, then you just do what you can. The same would go for playing a Year of Plenty if there's only 0 or 1 resource cards left in the resource piles.

I don't have a particular rule to quote for this, but it seems like the only logical way to handle it. The rules are clear about when you can and can't play development cards, and there's no mention of requirements of having enough roads left.

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you may immediately place 2 free roads

The "may" says you don't have to play 2, or even 1 road, it only says that it takes effect immediately, so you can't decide when to play them. Technically I don't think you can stop and build a city in the middle.

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    You definitely cannot build a settlement in the middle, see here: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/23143/….
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 18:46
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    I feel I should point out that @Gendolkari's link is related to Seafarers of Catan. In Settlers there is absolutely no problem with building the two roads, and then building the settlement directly afterwards.
    – AndyT
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 13:31
  • @AndyT, This wasn't about building 2 roads and then building a settlement; it was about building 1 road, then a settlement, then the second road.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 20:18
  • @Gendolkari - Perhaps I wasn't clear; reading my comment back to myself it took me a while to work out what I was driving at. I completely agree that to the letter of the rules, a Road Building card does not allow you to build 1 road, then a settlement, then the 2nd road. But I wanted to clarify that the real prohibition from your link applied to Seafarers, and that there is a workaround for Settlers.
    – AndyT
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 9:10
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A strict reading of the rules says that a player at 14 roads may play road building, but cannot build any roads with it.

You've quoted the relevant bit of rules. You "may" build 2 roads, meaning you can build 2 or 0. It does not say "up to 2", which would enable you to build only one.

The rules on building and component limits are the following:

You can build as many items and buy as many cards as you desire—as long as you have enough resources to “pay” for them and they are still available in the supply.

Each player has a supply of 15 roads, 5 settlements, and 4 cities.

According to the building rules, you cannot build 2 roads if you only have one road left in your supply. Thus, you cannot use road building's effect. There's nothing stopping you from playing the card, but you can't actually build any roads with it.

If you think this is a dumb conclusion, house rule it.

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