Catan can get pretty competitive and invariably someone trying to avoid the Robber asks if they can discard cards(resources), give cards away or throw cards away. Let’s quickly dive into how the game works and in what situations you can or cannot discard your cards.
So just to be clear, in Catan you are not legally allowed to discard cards, give away cards or throw away cards unless you have 8+ cards and a 7 is rolled. Being able to discard, give away or throw away cards would allow you to preemptively avoid the Robber and creates a host of other problems. Discarding cards freely promotes King Making(helping one player to win over another) causes a lot of hurt feelings and is not in the general spirit of the game.
In Catan, anytime a 7 is rolled any player who has 8 or more cards must discard half of their resource cards rounded down. You do not randomly discard the cards, you get to choose which cards to discard.
When the Robber is rolled if the current player who rolled the robber has more than 7 cards they must discard BEFORE they steal a card. This is very clear in the rules.
Can you steal from yourself? Sometimes stealing a resource card may put you over the 7 card limit and you may not want to steal the card. You cannot steal from yourself but you can place the robber on a hex that is not adjacent to any other player thereby making sure you don’t have to steal a resource from anyone and avoiding going over the 7 card hand limit.
Trading Resources in Catan
Trading resources is an integral part of Catan and is one of the ways you can get resources you don’t currently have. If you are worried about having too many cards you can do a trade where you trade away more resources than you receive in return. For example, if you have 8 cards in your hand and you have a lot of wool but you don’t have any brick you could offer to trade someone 2 wool for a single brick thereby bringing your hand size down to 7.
Can you trade when it is not your turn? On your turn you may trade resources with anyone at the table but when it is not your turn your may only trade with the player whose turn it currently is.
You are also not allowed to trade the same resource type for another resource of the same type. Example you cannot trade 3 brick for 1 brick.
Can you make deals for resources later? You cannot make a deal with someone for future considerations like them giving you resources at a later date.
Can you trade resources to buy services like avoiding the Robber? You cannot make any deals or trades that involve the Robber or any other aspect that is not trading resource cards.
My Favorite Catan Expansions!
Expansions can really increase your enjoyment of Catan. These are my 3 favorite so make sure to check them out!
Catan Seafarers Board Game Expansion
Catan Explorers and Pirates Board Game Expansion
Giving Resources Away For Free
You absolutely cannot give resource cards away for free in Settlers of Catan. This is covered directly in the rulebook.
Do You Discard Development Cards?
You do not discard development cards. After you have played a development card keep it in your area so that you can keep track of it for longest road and victory points.
When discarding because of the Robber you do not need to discard development cards. Development cards are separate from your hand of resource cards and do not count against the 7 card hand limit.
Do you reshuffle development cards once you run out or the deck is empty? Once all cards in the development deck have been drawn you can no longer play development cards. You do not reshuffle development cards ever.
Remember that you cannot play a development card in the turn that you purchased it, unless it is a victory point. Victory points are not played, they are revealed immediately when you draw one. To play any development card, except for a victory point, it must be in your hand at the beginning of your turn.
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