My basic understanding is that all trades must involve the player whose turn it is.

Player A, whose turn it is, has ore and wants wheat. Player B wants ore and offers brick, which is not acceptable to Player A. Player C wants brick, and is willing to give wheat for it. So a three way trade would have Player A sending ore to Player B, Player B sending brick to Player C, and Player C sending wheat to Player A. Put another way, Player A gives ore to Player B and receives wheat from Player C.

Would such a trade be permitted under the rules? Looked at one way, Player A has dealt with both Player B and Player C. Looked at another way, there was a Player B to Player C leg (Player B sends brick to Player C) that did not involve Player A.

That is unless Player A first trades ore for brick with Player B, then brick for wheat with Player C. Can these two trades be made "simultaneous" through an "escrow" type arrangement? Or is this feature only reserved for say, "house rules?"


1 Answer 1


No (or yes, depending on how you define a single trade).

The person whose turn it is can trade. Each trade is with that person and one other person.

If you can accomplish what you need in a series of trades, you're welcome to try. But any promise of future trade is non-binding: your later trading partner may legally decline the trade when it comes time.


Important: Players may only trade with the player whose turn it is.

Also note that each trade has to involve a card from each player in the trade. You can't just give a card away for nothing in return.

So in your example:

  1. A trades ore to B in exchange for brick.
  2. A trades brick to C in exchange for wheat.

This is legal, but it is two separate trades.

There are no escrow rules: C is free to decline the trade after trade 1 has happened.

  • 4
    Hmm, indeed the rules here explicitly say giving cards away is forbidden. I wonder if it's always been like that. Also you can't trade the same for same, so no trading wheat+sheep for sheep to get around the prohibition on giving away cards.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 9:42
  • 2
    It was an odd edit. No improvement. Plus it was an incomplete edit in the case of the question, so rather than edit it further to complete it, I simply rolled it back to the OP's usage. If you'd like to ask the OP to change his terminology, that's fine, of course. Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 14:27
  • @ilkkachu Of course, if one wishes to give away a wheat, it does seem like the rules allow the loophole of trading two wheat for a sheep, then trading a sheep for a wheat. Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 23:51
  • 1
    For completeness: A is also free to decline the trade with C after 1. has happened.
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 4:10
  • 2
    @amalloy, yes, but that's exactly what the rules currently online at catan.com forbid: "However, you cannot give away cards, or trade matching resources ("trade" 3 ore for 1 ore, for example)". Game Rules & Almanac 3/4 Players, p. 7, Domestic Trade.
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 11:51

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