I was playing a game of Settlers of Catan the other day and one of my fellow players rolled a seven. One of the other players was trying to convince the person who rolled seven to put the robber on me, because he thought I had a resource that I didn't. So I showed everyone my hand to prove I didn't have it. Then, the player who rolled seven placed the robber on a different player and a huge argument broke out.

I've lost my rule book, so I'm asking: is showing your resource cards like this cheating?

3 Answers 3


You cannot show other players your cards.

From the FAQ:

Resource Cards - Do I always have to keep my Resource Cards face down?


  • 1
    It's useful to mention the spirit behind this ruling: to allow people bluff about their resources. Alice: "I have no wheat, Bob, I can't help you!," Bob: "Alright, prove it!," Alice: "I would, but the rules forbid it!"
    – Adama
    Feb 5, 2017 at 17:35
  • 1
    @adama - source?
    – Pat Ludwig
    Feb 5, 2017 at 17:40
  • That's a point that has come up in many other games where there are , as well. For instance, in Shadows over Camelot players can never discuss explicitly the numbers on their cards; in a similar way, in Battlestar Galactica, players can only say "high" or "low", but never the numbers. The rulebooks do not explicitly mention that these rulings have been placed to protect the traitors, but that's the general consensus, as discussed on BGG. Granted, there's no traitor in Catan, but people are being engaged in negotiations. People may bluff and the rules are there to cover them.
    – Adama
    Feb 5, 2017 at 20:55
  • 1
    In Catan, everyone is the traitor.
    – aslum
    Feb 6, 2017 at 19:45

It seems like you could trivially state which cards are in your hand, how you acquired each one, what you did with whatever resource card the other player thinks you may have, etc. until they are convinced that you do not have that resource.

Having said that, I have always played under the assumption that you can show your cards if you would like. I have never heard of anyone playing with all cards exposed however, that removes some element of excitement I would think.

  • 1
    I don't think complete histories of the cards in your hand will necessarily be "trivial". Especially since sometimes there are complaints about time. I think it's more fun if there's the potential for a little deception as well, and it rewards anyone willing to pay attention to what resources other players are getting and spending. Nov 29, 2011 at 22:18

No, but it's common to play with a house rule that you can or must display your resource cards face up.

  • 10
    Common according to who/what?
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 10, 2011 at 21:39

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