This 8-page guide will walk you through the beginning of a game of Settlers of Catan where four players take turns placing their initial settlements. I will provide commentary on each settlement placement, explaining the reasoning behind it and evaluating the decision. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the strategies involved in the crucial decision of where to place your first settlements.
Below is a board which I randomly generated for this guide. When playing a game, you should take a minute to examine the board before anyone has placed any settlements. So, go ahead and do that now. Try to identify which resource(s) will be rare in this game, and what you consider the best one or two spots on the board.
Now that you've looked at the board, let's see how good your analysis was. The first thing you should have noticed was that there is going to be a heck of a lot of wheat in this game. With three wheat hexes on a six or eight, there will be no starving settlers for sure. Next, you should have noticed that there will be a shortage of sheep and rock in this game. This is slightly unusual since sheep is rarely an uncommon resource when you play. Now, if you haven't done so already, try to identify what you consider the best spot on the board. On the next page in the guide I will unveil this spot when the first player puts his first settlement on the board.