If I have a Progress Card for which initial preconditions do not hold, will I still be able to use it in order to discard it back to the pile? The goal is to prevent a spy from stealing it.

A few examples:

  • I am leading in victory points but I want to use Wedding card.

  • I have Irrigation but I don't have any wheat hexagons.

  • I have Blacksmith but I don't have any ore hexagons.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! I cleaned up your wording some to make your question more readable; feel free to edit again if I changed the meaning of anything you were asking.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 3:13

3 Answers 3


It appears the FAQ addresses this kind of situation, and the answer is no.
See question number 3 on this page of official catan FAQ:

Progress Cards: General - May I play a Progress Card if playing it has no effect?

If you know beforehand that playing the card will have no effect (e.g., the Foundry card, provided that you are not settling adjacent to a mountains hex): no.

If you have no way of knowing it (e.g., Trade Monopoly): yes.

  • 2
    Wow... I would really like to know why the FAQ says that. In general, a FAQ should only be providing clarification, giving rulings based on the actual rulebook. Here, the FAQ seems to directly contradict the rules. Considering that the FAQ is official, part of Catan.com, I'm inclined to say that it's the right answer.. but it sounds like an official errata / update to the rulebook is in order.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 20:58
  • I would guess that not being able to discard or play progress cards when you want to is so that they can't be played for no effect or discarded for no reason to avoid being stolen by the spy. Which to me makes sense as being able to play a card so another player can't steal it from you to play it doesn't sound like it is in the idea of a good game.
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 21:10
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    Hum, the is no "Foundry" progress card. The applicability of this FAQ to C&K is questionable. One of the other Catan games has an Iron Foundry, and it would make sense not to play it where it would have no effect as it actually takes up physical board space. But the logic that applies to the Iron Foundry doesn't necessary apply to C&K Progress Cards.
    – ikegami
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 5:15
  • It is the same as just dropping a resource card without using it in order to avoid being robbed on a roll of 7. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 10:21
  • @Moutabreath I would guess that is similar reasoning
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 12:33

Yes, you can do this.

None of the Progress Cards have prerequisites that must be fulfilled. The rules do not give any limit on playing a Progress Card that's related to whether or not the Progress Card would help you at all.

Here's the full rules for Playing Progress Cards:

Playing Progress Cards

During your turn, you may play as many Progress Cards as you wish. All Progress Cards may only be played after you roll the dice (exception: the “Alchemist”). Here are some specific rules about the play of Progress Cards. More detailed instructions about every card can be found in the Cities & Knights Almanac:

• Victory Point Cards must be played immediately when drawn. The spy may not steal them, and they cannot be hidden in your hand. These cards do not count against your hand limit of 4 cards.

• You may never hold more than four Progress Cards in your hand. If you draw a fifth Progress Card, and you cannot play it because it is not your turn, you must discard one card (of your choice) to the bottom of the appropriate stack.

• Progress Cards may be played on the same turn that they are drawn.

• Progress Cards may not be traded with other players, nor may the robber steal them.

• When you play a Progress Card, place it face down under the appropriate Progress Card stack. Victory points, however, remain face up and in play.

Playing a Wedding card while you are in the lead does not go against any of these rules. As a matter of language, if you do something "for each" of something, and there are 0 of those things, then you simply do that thing 0 times. So when you play Wedding, you check which opponents have more victory points than you, and any who do must give you 2 cards. If no opponents have more victory points than you, then no opponents give you any cards.

  • A new answer has been added quoting the FAQ which states that if you know the card won't have any effect (ie no hidden knowledge for it) you can't play that progress card.
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 17:27
  • 2
    ...but that FAQ reference a card that doesn't even exist in C&K, so it's applicability to C&K is questionable.
    – ikegami
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 5:17
  • @ikegami it still is the official faq for the cities and knights expansions even if it does have an error
    – Joe W
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 12:34
  • 3
    @Joe W, yeah, but the error is that it doesn't talk about C&K.
    – ikegami
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 14:27

No, you may not, is specifically says so in the FAQ

"If you know beforehand that playing the card will have no effect (e.g., the Mining card, provided that you are not settling adjacent to a mountains hex): no."


  • 1
    This does not appear to add anything useful or new. The same FAQ is quoted (to greater extent and with less ambiguity) in the accepted answer from two years ago.
    – Nij
    Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 21:48

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