When me and my friends normally play Catan, no one reveals the number of resource cards they are holding in their hands (which is legal according to the rulebook).

Is it also legal to hide Development Cards after you get them in order to not let others count them? Say in your pocket? Or, should all the cards be kept in the hand or on the table, visible to everyone ?

  • some one would put and damage cards in there pocket to get an advantage? wow! Personally if a game doesn't come with a screen the its all public. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 10:36
  • You have to disclose resource card count when the robber comes around
    – Rufus L
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


You can NOT hide the number of resource cards that are in your hand, so the premise in your question is incorrect.

From the rules, page 8, under Knight Cards:

However, you can always ask players about the number of cards they hold.

And from the Official FAQ:

Resource Cards - Am I obligated to tell my opponents the number of Resource Cards in my hand?


This combined with the rule

Keep your development cards hidden (in your hand)

suggests that the number of development cards is also public.

While the rulebook and FAQ are not completely clear on this point, it seems to be the logical conclusion based on those other rules. Whenever I have played, players generally keep unplayed development cards face down in front of them, as keeping them in your hand would cause problems when cards are being stolen, or when counting how many resource cards you have, etc. Knowing which players have how many unplayed development cards is usually an important part of the strategy.

  • Sorry, I meant that folks don't show the resource cards 'fanned out' in their hands but they answer how many resource cards they have if asked.
    – gpat
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 19:16
  • 3
    @gpat I'm not seeing a relevant difference there. The point is that the number you have is open information. Whether that information is made public verbally or visually is not a matter of rules really.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 19:35
  • It's an important distinction if you are playing with forgetful friends, especially the difference between having 0 and having 1 development card. If you have 1 development card and you put it in your pocket, it appears to others as if you have zero, unless they remember to ask you how many you have.
    – Morgan G
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 21:04
  • 3
    @MorganG I see a big difference between intentionally hiding a card away from view, and simply holding them in a way that doesn't make it trivial to count the exact number unless the person asks. If something is public information in a game, then I would consider it cheating to make any attempts at hiding that information. But the specific way you hold your cards is generally up to the player.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 22:35
  • Exactly my point. I believe that is what the asker was getting at.
    – Morgan G
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 22:36

Hiding cards in cards games is generally bad form. For friendly, "kitchen table" games it probably doesn't matter. However, if a player is playing cards from their pocket can you be sure that they have put the card that they put in their pocket was the card that they drew out again?

It would be a big shame for a friendly game to be marred by accusations (whether true or not) of cheating.

  • 2
    "friendly game"? Catan?
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 11:08

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