Today I played Catan for the first time: I was playing against a more experienced player. There were two (similar) points of contention I had with my opponent after I checked the rulebook. I'll write in each case what I gleaned from the rulebook and what my opponent said, and I'm hoping someone can tell me who was right.

I should note that we were using the Hebrew version, so (a) maybe the original rulebook has clearer wording that answers my question, and (b) the terminology I use may be incorrect, since I'm translating it back from the Hebrew.

  1. The rules say that I can replace a settlement with a city of my own on paying the appropriate price. They don't say that the settlement I'm replacing has to be mine. My opponent insisted that it does.
  2. The rules say that I can build a settlement only along an existing road. They don't say that the road needs to be mine. My opponent insisted that it does.

I'd appreciate any information — preferably official, but otherwise some evidence of what's usually done — that you can provide.

  • Why would anyone ever build roads with that interpretation of the rules? Also, please copy the Hebrew rules into a translator so we can see what they say. – The Chaz 2.0 Apr 26 '20 at 1:02
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    @TheChaz2.0 for what purpose do you need to see what the Hebrew rules say? You don't need to play by them. You have rules. Is it that you don't trust me to have read them correctly? But even if I didn't, my question still stands as to what the rules are. – msh210 Apr 26 '20 at 7:48
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    @msh210 if the Hebrew rules are unclear to such an extent as indicated by this question and they are an official publication, then really someone should be contacting the publisher to ask them to clear it up. So it would be interesting, if not really essential to the question, to see the text that caused the confusion in the first place. – Jontia Apr 26 '20 at 20:34

You can only build on your own roads and you can only upgrade your own settlements. The English rulebook is clear on this, on page 5, under “build”:

You may only establish a city by upgrading one of your settlements.


Each of your settlements must connect to at least 1 of your own roads.

Worth noting that playing the other way doesn’t really make sense, because you would not have an incentive to build a road or a settlement if your opponent can just steal it from you.


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