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For example - Suppose there are 12 Ore cards in circulation, and I hold 3.

On my turn, can I trade those there ore cards with someone else for some wood and then use a monopoly on ore to regain all those ores back?

Effectively I have received that wood for free from the other player.

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    It's a really good tactic - I know several people that use that effectively. – Jerry Jeremiah Apr 18 at 9:42
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    So it's legal then? I used it yesterday, and it felt horrible, in addition to the disapproving stares by the other players. – Krishnabm Apr 18 at 9:43
  • That's why it is a comment and not an answer - I have no idea if it is legal but I assume so because the person I know is a rules stickler. – Jerry Jeremiah Apr 18 at 9:50
  • A tactic being legal and doesn't mean it is something you should use in a game. – Joe W Apr 18 at 13:45
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    @JoeW This is entirely customary for the Monopoly card. It's why players should be cautious of one player making an enthusiastic attempt to trade away lots of a single resource. – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- Apr 18 at 21:39
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This is a perfectly legal, and quite common tactic.

The Monopoly card has no play restrictions other than the typical "once per turn, not on the turn you got it" Dev card restrictions. It affects all resources of the named type in play, regardless of how long the other players have owned those resources. Trading resources away and then Monopolizing them back is therefore perfectly legal because there is no rule against it.

There is a cost in player interaction, though

If the other players feel that you've taken advantage of them, they may stop trading with you. Whether this cost is enough to make you skip this tactic depends on where you are in the game. Trading typically drops off near the end anyways, as it becomes obvious that trading with the lead player will help them win more than it will help you catch up. Stealing their resources with bad faith trades merely runs the risk of cutting off your trades sooner rather than later.

Of course, if the other players really feel that this tactic is unsportsmanlike, they may stop playing Catan with you. Some players don't enjoy aggressive play styles, and playing aggressively is incompatible with playing with them. This is going to vary depending on the social contact of each specific game group (some players will dramatically declare unending revenge if you pull this on them, but consider it part of the game and would happily do these same to you, while others are genuinely bothered by it) and is something you will have to judge for yourself.

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    Good last paragraph. The difference in play styles can be incredibly varied. Things that are perfectly acceptable at one table will get you all but banned at another. – DRF Apr 19 at 7:24

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