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Cities & Knights

Flourishing trade brings prosperity to Catan. However, all this wealth also attracts barbarians. The knights of Catan are needed! The expansion can also be combined with CATAN - Seafarers and CATAN - Traders & Barbarians.

CATAN Cities & Knights Box
90-120 min.

This expansion is not a standalone game. Requires the CATAN base game to play.

About the game

What Is It About?

Use the hexes of the CATAN base game to assemble Catan inside the provided frame. Each of you has just finished building a settlement and a city, when dark clouds gather over the peaceful island of Catan. Wild barbarians, attracted by the wealth of Catan, sail toward the island's shores. There is still enough time to prepare for confronting the intruders, though. The strength of the hostile barbarian army always corresponds to the number of cities on Catan. In order to successfully defend Catan, the knights of all players combined must be at least as strong as the barbarian army.


CATAN Cities & Knights Game Components

Knights are not used in the form of cards; instead, they are represented by wooden tokens that are placed on unoccupied intersections.Each token has an “active” side depicting a knight helmet in color and an “inactive” side depicting a black-and-white knight helmet. A knight can only fight after he is activated; activation costs one grain. After paying the grain, you turn the knight token over so that its active side is face up. Each ring on the token counts as one strength point.

If the knights of all players combined have enough strength points to defeat the barbarian army, the danger is averted for the moment. However, if the Catanian knights are too weak, a city will be raided and downgraded to a settlement.

This unfortunate event always affects the player who had the lowest total strength of active knights when the barbarians attacked. Besides defending Catan, knights can also be used to chase away the robber or to displace another player’s knight.

CATAN - Cities & Knights - Game Components

When you are not busy defending Catan, you are competing for the metropolises, which represent two additional victory points. In order to establish a metropolis (which is placed on top of a city), you first need to improve your cities.

The construction of city buildings, such as the Library, Market, Abbey, or Town Hall, is indicated on development flip-charts

CATAN Cities & Knights Game Components

You pay for city improvements with commodities such as coins, cloth, or books. How do you get commodities? Instead of two resources, cities adjacent to mountains, pasture, and forest hexes produce only one resource but also one commodity derived from the respective type of resource.

With increasing city improvements, the odds to obtain new progress cards become more favorable. Cards such as “Mining,” “Irrigation,” or “Building Crane” allow for faster settlement activities. Cards such as “Merchant,” “Merchant Fleet,” “Trade Monopoly,” or “Resource Monopoly” create advantages with regards to trade. On the other hand, you can bother stronger players with cards such as the “Deserter,” “Spy,” or “Diplomat.”

Get used to a tougher life on Catan – and a longer but also more exciting game. The first player to reach 13 victory points is the winner.

CATAN Cities & Knights Game Components


In Cities & Knights, you roll 3 dice at the beginning of your turn: 2 production dice and 1 event die. 3 sides of the event die show the barbarian ship. This means, there is a 50% chance per turn for the barbarian ship to come one step closer to Catan. Considering this circumstance, it may take only 3 or 4 turns until the barbarian ship lands on Catan.

Therefore, it is important to start building knights early in the game and to activate them. Such preparation will help you avoid being the target of the barbarian army, i.e., losing a city. Grain is very important for defending Catan. Knights are of no use as long as you don't have grain to activate them.

There are certain “house rules” that may soften the impact of the barbarian attack at the beginning of the game. You can, for instance, declare the first barbarian attack void or allow each player to have one activated knight at the beginning of the game.

Personally, I am not a big fan of such variants. One major appeal of the game is attributable precisely to the threat of the barbarian army,which you have to prepare for as early in the game as possible and include in your strategic planning.

Combination with the Seafarers Expansion

You can use the possibilities of the Seafarers expansion together with Cities & Knights. In our experience, scenarios such as Heading To New Shores and Through the Desert are suitable. The exploratory scenarios and all other scenarios with many smaller islands are unsuitable. When playing with the Seafarers Expansion, you must ensure that certain actions applying to roads are also possible for ships.

Rules for Cities and Knights with the Seafarer Expansion

  • For scenarios with multiple islands, the same rules as in the base game apply when the barbarian army attacks.
  • A knight can also be moved across the sea if the intersection he starts from is connected – via roads and ships or via ships only – to the intersection he ends up on.

  • You may move an active knight to an intersection between three sea hexes if one of your ships is adjacent to this intersection (the knight is then assumed to be on the ship).

  • If a knight stands on an intersection bordered by the last ship of a shipping route, that shipping route is closed. In other words, a knight’s connection to a settlement of his color must never be interrupted.

  • If you interrupt a foreign shipping route by means of a knight (or a settlement), that shipping route is considered interrupted in terms of the "Longest Trade Route." However, the owner of the shipping route may not break it up by moving their ships bordering the foreign knight.

  • If you deactivate an active knight adjacent to the sea hex occupied by the pirate, you may move the pirate.

  • The number of victory points specified for each scenario should be increased by 2.
  • For a city at a gold field, you only receive resources, not commodities.

  • The merchant may not be placed on a gold field.

  • The rule according to which the robber must not be moved until the barbarians have reached Catan for the first time also applies to the pirate (who is obviously not in the desert), provided that he is included in the scenario.


CATAN Seafarers Expansion Box

Combination with the Explorers & Pirates Expansion

In Explorers & Pirates, building cities is not allowed; you build harbor settlements instead. This makes sense when playing Explorers & Pirates independently of other expansions, because its strategic emphasis is on exploration and transporting commodities, crews, and settlers.

In Cities & Knights, the strategic emphasis is on city expansion and city defense.

Theoretically, it is possible to combine the two expansions and thus create a game that provides an even larger variety of strategies and possibilities to win.

If you want to combine these two expansions, you should be aware that the resulting game is rather complex and perhaps even a bit confusing. However, a group of players who know both expansions well may definitely give it a try. At least for the first attempt, scenario 4 with its Fish for Catan and Spice for Catan missions should be used

Rules Suggestion for Combining Cities & Knights with Explorers & Pirates:

A) Building Cities

You are allowed to upgrade settlements to cities. You can choose whether to upgrade a coastal settlement to a city or to a harbor settlement. Subsequent conversion of a city into a harbor settlement or vice versa is prohibited.

B) Setting Up the Starting Island

When choosing the terrain hexes from the “Catan” base game to set up the starting island, remove 1 forest hex and add 1 fields hex instead.

C) Set-up Phase

Instead of building a settlement, each player builds a city and thus begins the game with 1 harbor settlement and 1 city.

D) Knights

Knights cannot be transported by ship. Therefore, they stay on the island where they were built. Unlike crews, knights you have built on an island occupied by a pirate lair are not allowed to participate in the battle for the pirate lair. You are not allowed to use them as merchants in the villages of the spice hexes either.

Knights may neither be built on intersections nor be moved onto intersections adjacent to an undiscovered hex.

E) Barbarian Attack

When determining the strength of the barbarians, all cities are considered – that is, the cities on the starting island as well as the cities in the discovered areas. Harbor settlements are not included in the count.

The strength points of all knights are also taken into account.

F) Crews

Crews are not counted for the defense of the cities against the barbarians.

G) Commodities

You are not allowed to buy commodities from the supply by paying gold.

If you have the “Fast Gold” advantage, instead of a resource you may also sell a commodity for 1 gold.

H) Progress Cards

  • Medicine: By paying 1 ore and 1 grain, you can convert a settlement into a harbor settlement. Converting a settlement into a city costs you 2 ore and 1 grain.

  • Bishop: Instead of moving the robber – who doesn't exist in the Explorers & Pirates Expansion – you may place or move your pirate ship. If you place the pirate ship, the owner of the pirate ship that previously occupied the sea hex must return it to their supply.

  • Mining/Irrigation: For a harbor settlement adjacent to a mountains/fields hex you also collect ore/grain.

  • Deserter: The card only applies to knights. Crews are not allowed to desert.

  • Inventor: Except for the 6, 8, 12, and 2 number tokens, you may swap all number tokens – that is, you may also swap number tokens from the starting island with number tokens from the discovered areas and number tokens from defeated pirate lairs.

  • Road Building: You may only build roads – not ships.

I) Aqueduct

If you have built the Aqueduct, and the production roll (not considering the “7”) doesn't provide you with any resources, you may take – according to the Cities & Knights rules – any 1 resource of your choice. In addition, under the Explorers & Pirates rules, you receive 1 gold.

J) End of the Game

I recommend to calculate the victory points required to win the game as follows:

  • Victory points of the Explorers & Pirates scenario + 5 (for cities, metropolis, and Defender of Catan)

Combining scenario 4 of Explorers & Pirates with Cities & Knights would result in 22 victory points.


CATAN - Explorers & Pirates Box

Combination with the Traders & Barbarians Expansion

Many of the Traders & Barbarians scenarios combine well with Cities & Knights and the scenarios of the Seafarers expansion. Please find possible combinations in the below PDFs for download: 

CATAN - Händler und Barbaren Box

Downloads for the Game

CATAN Städte & Ritter Background
CATAN Cities & Knights Extension 5-6 player

5-6 Player Extension

You can settle Catan and use knights to defend your cities against barbarians with up to 6 players.

Please note: You will need the Catan base game, the Cities & Knights expansion, and both the Catan base game 5-6 players extension and this Cities & Knights 5-6 players extension – a total of four game boxes.

Combinations and Expansions

You can combine the expansion Cities & Knights with these expansions and scenarios. 

CATAN Seafarers


CATAN Legen of the Conquerors Box

Legend of the Conquerors

CATAN - Explorers & Pirates

Explorers & Pirates

CATAN - Traders & Barbarians

Traders & Barbarians


The Hexatower is a premium dice tower in the famous hexagonal shape of CATAN. It has an innovative Nexofyber surface and a soft, silver fabric inner lining. The premium materials ensure a comfortable touch-and-feel experience and dice-rolling is enhanced by a pleasant sound. The surrounding flap, held safely closed by strong magnets, can be removed and sticks to the side of the Hexatower to create a dice-stopper at the gaming table. Of course, this luxe accessory can also carry your CATAN dice.

  • 2-in-1: Premium dice tower and dice storage box
  • Unique: Compact dice tower in the classic CATAN® hexagonal shape
  • Removable closing flap converts into a dice stopper
  • 2 inner ramps roll the dice steadily
  • Powerful magnets for a precise and secure self-closing seal
  • Premium materials (Nexofyber surface + silver fabric inner lining)
  • Available in CATAN Red or Yellow in the CATAN Shop
CATAN Hexatower Würfelturm
CATAN Hexatower Würfelturm red
CATAN Hexatower Würfelturm


                                                                                                     Dice are not included.

More Questions?

We have collected important questions and answers about the Cities & Knights expansion. Just follow the link.

Erweiterung CATAN Städte und Ritter Cover