Is it allowed to move the robber, but not take a random resource from another player? Avoiding stealing a resource may sound odd. One reason you might want to: you need to play a soldier card to move the robber, both to block another player from getting resources and to remove the robber from a vital hex for yourself. However, you already have seven cards in hand, and gaining one would put you at risk of discarding if a seven is rolled afterwards.

There are a few more related special cases:

  • Can you move the robber to the hex with no adjacent settlements (no stealing)?
  • What if the only player whose city is adjacent to hex of your choosing has no resources - can you move the robber there?
  • What if there are two cities adjacent from two players, but only one of them has resources - do you have to steal one from him or can you choose to steal from the player with empty hand?
  • I've edited your explanation of why you might want to do this down to a very short summary; I think it's still perfectly understandable, but feel free to edit more or roll it back if you disagree. I've also added your extra questions from the comment below into the question, so that people will be more likely to see them and answer.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 6, 2012 at 1:53
  • you could also steal from someone, then trade it immediately back
    – warren
    Nov 6, 2012 at 20:44
  • @warren I don't think trading before rolling the dice is allowed in Settlers of Catan.
    – beam022
    Nov 6, 2012 at 23:10
  • @beam022 - I was more indicating that you could 'return' it as soon as was allowed :)
    – warren
    Nov 7, 2012 at 15:17
  • 2
    @beam022 But you have rolled the 7, if you aren't building anything this turn, you don't want to start your next turn with the same 7 cards and still not build anything. You therefore NEED some card, and taking it now when you have the chance is the best option. You could easily gain a card next turn, and then get robbered before your next turn anyway.
    – Nick
    Nov 8, 2012 at 17:51

4 Answers 4


Answering the question and its follow-ups:

  1. In general, you are not allowed to decline to take a resource. Page 12 of the rules gives a more detailed explanation of the rule Pat Ludwig cited. There is no option about whether or not to take a resource card if you place the robber next to a city/settlement of one or more players, all of whom have at least one resource card. However, as the answers to your other questions will indicate, you can may have some tactics to wiggle out of this requirement if you really want to move the robber away but not get your (presumably 8th) resource.
  2. Yes, you can deliberately place the robber in a spot where you will not able to steal a card. P. 12 again states, "You must move the robber away from his current spot and onto the number token of any other terrain hex." (p. 11 clarifies that the desert is legal even though it does not contain a number token.) Any other indicates that a hex is legal even if it contains no neighbors that have a stealable resource.
  3. Yes, you can deliberately choose to steal from a player who has no resources. Again from p. 12:

    If there are 2 or more such players, you may choose your victim. The player you elect to rob keeps his cards face down while you take 1 of his cards at random. If he has no cards, you get nothing!

  • Thank you. In the original question I mentioned that not only you'd want to move the robber away, but also put it on specific hex - one that has all adjacent settlements belonging only to players with 1+ resources. In that case, there is no option to achieve this and not get 8th resource?
    – beam022
    Nov 6, 2012 at 17:22
  • 1
    can you not also put it on a hex only you border, thus stealing from yourself?
    – warren
    Nov 6, 2012 at 20:43
  • 1
    @warren I'm not sure if this is what you meant, but it is an interesting question. I understand that it's allowed to put robber on hex only you are adjacent to, obviously without stealing any resources. But is it allowed to steal from yourself if there are also other players with resources, whose settlements are adjacent to the hex of your choosing?
    – beam022
    Nov 6, 2012 at 23:15
  • 1
    @beam022 - not sure ... it's an interesting thought though :)
    – warren
    Nov 7, 2012 at 15:10


From the rules:

If you play a Knight Card, you must immediately move the robber. See “Rolling a ‘7’ and Activating the Robber” above and follow steps 1 and 2.

Step 1 tells you how to move the robber.

Step 2 tells you to randomly take a card.

These are the rules of the game and they're quite clear. It certain cases it is understandable not to want to take a card. Absent a rule allowing that, you must take the card.

  • Thank you. I know this wasn't my question, but rules doesn't address many special cases here - maybe they are too obvious. Can you move the Robber to the hex with no adjacent settlements (no stealing)? What if the only player whose city is adjacent to hex of your choosing have no resources - can you move Robber here, since stealing won't be possible and you have to do it? What if there are two cities adjacent from two players, but only one of them has resources. Do you have to steal one from him or can you choose to steal from the player with empty hand? If you can, please expand your answer.
    – beam022
    Nov 5, 2012 at 23:21
  • In order to try to make things clearer, I edited the OP's extra questions into the question - sorry, it makes your "no" slightly less clear, but I suspect you'll answer the other questions anyway.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 6, 2012 at 1:57
  • 3
    Actually nothing in the rules says you have to move the robber in a manner that allows you to take a card. You CAN move the robber somewhere not adjacent to anyone, and if you move next to two people, you can choose to steal from the one with no resources. See the Soldier section in the Almanac for confirmation.
    – aslum
    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:59

Yes, in some cases, but you'd have to work at it.

You can move the robber to a hex that is not adjacent to anyone. Even to the desert (this wasn't always the case.) You can move the robber next to someone who has no cards and choose to steal from them, even if the robber is also next to someone who has cards.

What you can't do is move the robber next to someone and choose not to steal resources from them.

The exact steps are:

  1. Pick a new hex for the Robber and move it there.

  2. Pick someone with an adjacent settlement or city.

  3. Take one random resource from them.


Yes, you can avoid taking a card.

The rules state you have to:

  1. Move the Robber to any other hex
  2. Take 1 resource card at random from a player who has a city or settlement adjacent to that hex.

It does not specify that that player cannot be you! This means if you really don't want a card you can place the robber either:

  1. On a hex with no players
  2. On a hex where at least one player has no cards
  3. On a hex where you have a settlement

This would only be in your interests if you were playing a soldier card before rolling the dice, and the currently robbered hex offered you a greater chance of winning this turn than rolling any other number and taking a random card from another player.

  • Thank you for your answer. However I don't understand two things. First, I was under the impression that you can't build anything before rolling the dice. Second, I'm not sure why you assumed that I wasn't going to build anything in this turn. The plan was to move robber away (increase the chance of getting specific resource), block opponent, be left with 7 resource in case of the robber and (after rolling, depending on the result) build accordingly. So I wouldn't be left with the same 7 cards after this turn. Am I getting something wrong here?
    – beam022
    Nov 8, 2012 at 18:13
  • @beam022 Ah, I see you mean use a soldier to move the robber before rolling, but not taking a resource. I thought you meant if you rolled a 7. The question then is, why play a solider when you won't take the card? Better to roll the dice (you might get a 7 anyway and move it) and then play the solider afterwards letting you steal a card up to 8 (or 9 if you rolled something you needed.) Seems like a waste of a solider card to use it and not take a card on purpose!
    – Nick
    Nov 9, 2012 at 8:35
  • Robber is on your hex, blocking your from collecting important resources. If you get rid of the robber, you gain one more opportunity to collect resources (4 for example) from this hex - you might just get them this turn and win the game. Please check my original question before edit.
    – beam022
    Nov 9, 2012 at 10:35
  • @beam022 Yes, that makes much more sense. In a "You need 4 ore to win" with 4 wheat, 2 ore and a wood in your hand situation then removing the robber from your 6 ore hex with 2 cities before rolling would give you a chance to win before your opponent wins for sure in his next turn.
    – Nick
    Nov 9, 2012 at 11:12

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