Say I have 3 ore, 2 wheat, and a wood, and player B has a wheat, a wool, and a brick. Player B puts the robber next to one of my settlements and has to take one resource at random. Player B wants to get my wood so they can build a settlement, and I actually want them to take the wood so I can upgrade one of my settlements to the city. If they had to take a resource at random, they might get something else that would be sub-optimal for both of us. If I could just give them the wood, it would be to both of our advantages.

Is the resource taken with the robber required to be random? If they want a specific resource and I want to give them that resource, can we just do that instead of player B having to pick randomly, possibly resulting in a situation that would hurt both of us, me by losing some I needed and them by not getting what they wanted?

4 Answers 4


It must be random as Pat said, but you could immediately offer to trade whatever he draws with the card you'd rather give him.

  • 3
    Excellent answer. Of course "technically" it has to be random, but in practice there's nothing to stop the players coming to an arrangement just like this one. They just need to think slightly outside the box! Apr 3, 2011 at 3:25

Yes, the resource must be random.

Settlers of Catan has one of the best online FAQ's that I've seen:

“Seven” and Robber - Can I voluntarily give a card to a game partner, instead of letting him draw it? Answer


  • Unless you play with house rules that allow for extortion... Apr 2, 2011 at 16:18
  • 18
    @neilfein - couldn't all rules answers have an appended, "Unless you are playing with house rules" clause?
    – Pat Ludwig
    Apr 2, 2011 at 16:27
  • @PatLudwig the FAQ is only for the latest edition, and without the latest edition's rules, it's in several cases going to violate the wording of the rules in use... without there being house rules, mind you... so the FAQ really isn't the final answer.
    – aramis
    Jul 18, 2013 at 18:54
  • @aramis - In general I don't agree with you as to the uselessness of the FAQ. In this particular case, I believe the rule has been the same forever in that the card must be chosen randomly.
    – Pat Ludwig
    Jul 18, 2013 at 20:46

If they want it and you want to give it to them, that just skips the step of trading back whatever "random" card they pick. So it is random.


They have the pick the card from your hand without seeing what it is. I don't see why you cannot tell them the one on the left is a wood if you want to. They wouldn't necessarily trust you though, as you might be trying to trick them into taking something else knowing they wanted a wood. (You might have 3 corn and 3 ore and want them to take a corn, for example.)

They might also tell you they wanted a wood, when in fact they wanted anything OTHER than wood in order to progress. You revealing which card is wood then allows them to take anything else.

I don't think its ever in your interests to give useful information about the cards in your hand to the robber; you can always trade afterwards.

  • Where did you find the rule that it must be "without seeing what it is"? Jun 12, 2012 at 17:38

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