Can You Trade Development Cards In Catan?

When we think of Catan, we picture villagers trading resources to build their settlements. But what about development cards? Can they be traded too? This question has puzzled many players of this beloved board game. Some believe that trading development cards could change the course of the game, while others argue that it could add an exciting new element to gameplay.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of Catan and explore whether you can trade development cards in the game. We’ll explain the rules surrounding development card trading and whether it’s allowed or not. Additionally, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of development card trading and how it can affect the outcome of the game.

But before we get into all that, let’s take a moment to understand the basics of Catan. It’s a game that revolves around resource management, strategy, and luck. Each player starts with two settlements and two roads and aims to build more settlements, cities, and roads to gain victory points. These points are earned by achieving various milestones such as building the longest road or having the largest army.

So buckle up and get ready to explore the intricacies of trading with development cards in Catan. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, this article is sure to provide valuable insights into this frequently debated topic.

What are Development Cards?

These cards are a game-changer and can help you dominate the competition.

Development cards are unique cards that can be purchased using resources in the game. They come in five different types: Knight, Victory Point, Road Building, Year of Plenty, and Monopoly. Each card provides a different advantage that players can use to their benefit.

The Knight card is a fan favorite as it allows players to move the robber and steal resources from other players. The Victory Point card gives players one victory point towards winning the game. Road Building lets players build two additional roads for free. Year of Plenty allows players to take any two resources of their choice from the bank. Finally, Monopoly card lets players choose any resource and take all of that resource from all other players.

To purchase a development card, players need to spend one sheep, one wheat, and one ore resource. The cost remains the same regardless of which type of development card a player chooses to purchase. Players can only purchase one development card per turn, and they are not allowed to purchase more than one card at a time.

But wait, there’s more. Development cards are personal property and cannot be traded between players, but certain cards like Monopoly or Year of Plenty can allow players to acquire development cards from other players.

Knowing how and when to use development cards strategically is crucial to winning Settlers of Catan. So keep your eyes peeled for these powerful cards during gameplay.

Can You Trade Development Cards In Catan?

If so, development cards are a key tool you’ll want to master. These powerful cards offer various benefits, such as extra resources, victory points, and the ability to move the robber. But can you trade development cards with other players? The answer is a firm no, according to the official rules of Catan.

By prohibiting development card trading, the game’s designers aim to ensure a level playing field for all players. This means that if you’re lucky enough to draw a development card, you must keep it until you’re ready to use it yourself. This rule adds an exciting layer of strategy to the game, as players must carefully consider when and how to use their development cards for maximum impact.

However, some variations of the game do allow for development card trading. For example, the Cities and Knights expansion introduces “progress cards”, which can be traded between players at any time. Keep in mind that this is not part of the base game and should only be used if everyone agrees.

Exceptions to the Rule

As you may know, the official rules state that development cards cannot be traded between players. However, there are a few exceptions that players should be aware of. Let’s explore them together.

The first exception is the Monopoly card. This powerful development card allows players to choose a specific resource and collect all of that resource from every other player. While this card does not technically allow for the trading of development cards, it does provide a way for players to obtain the resources they need to purchase one.

Another exception is the Year of Plenty card. This development card enables players to choose any two resources of their choice and receive them from the bank. Like the Monopoly card, this card does not allow for direct trading of development cards, but it does provide a means for players to obtain the resources they need in order to purchase one.

Lastly, there is an unofficial variant known as “friendly robber” where players can trade development cards during their turn if they have not played any other cards yet. While this variant is not part of the official rules, some players may choose to use it as an optional rule.

It is crucial for players to remember that while these exceptions exist, they are just that – exceptions. The general rule still stands that development cards cannot be directly traded between players. So, while these exceptions may give you more flexibility in obtaining the resources you need, they do not change the fundamental nature of the game.

Monopoly Card and Year of Plenty Card

First and foremost, it’s important to note that according to official rules, Development Cards cannot be traded between players. This means that if you’re lucky enough to have a Monopoly Card or Year of Plenty Card, you cannot trade it with another player or use it in a trade deal. However, some groups have developed their own house rules allowing for the trading of Development Cards. Before starting a game, it’s crucial to establish clear rules around this and remember that even if allowed, Development Cards cannot be played on the same turn they are acquired.

Now let’s explore what makes these cards so special. The Monopoly Card allows players to take all resource cards of one type from all other players, giving you a significant advantage if you’re low on a particular resource or want to cripple your opponents’ game by taking away their valuable resources.

In contrast, the Year of Plenty Card allows players to take any two resource cards of their choice from the bank. This is incredibly useful if you need specific resources to build a crucial settlement or city. Both cards can be game-changers in their own right, but knowing when to use them is key to maximizing their potential.

It’s important to remember that while these cards may seem like the key to victory, they are only one piece of the puzzle. The true strategy lies in knowing when and how to use them effectively. And even with these powerful Development Cards, luck can still play a significant role in your success.

Strategic Decisions During Gameplay

One such decision that requires careful consideration is when to purchase and use development cards.

Development cards play a significant role in Catan since they can provide players with extra resources or victory points, which can give them a considerable advantage over their rivals. However, unlike resource cards, development cards cannot be traded or sold. Once a player purchases a development card, it becomes their personal property to keep and use as they see fit.

This unique feature adds an additional layer of strategy to the game as players must decide when to purchase development cards and which ones to choose. Players must also keep in mind the limited number of development cards available in the game and plan accordingly. While development cards cannot be traded, players can still trade resources that may be required to purchase the desired card.

For instance, the Monopoly Card and Year of Plenty Card can be game-changers since they provide players with a significant advantage by taking away valuable resources or allowing them to select specific ones from the bank. However, players must also consider if it is worth spending their resources on a development card instead of using them to build settlements or cities.


To sum it up, the official rules of Settlers of Catan state that development cards cannot be directly traded between players. However, don’t let that discourage you from utilizing these game-changing cards to their full potential. With a few exceptions like Monopoly and Year of Plenty cards, players can still obtain the necessary resources to purchase development cards through trading with other players.

But beware, simply having a handful of development cards won’t guarantee victory. The true key to success lies in knowing when and how to use them strategically. Whether it’s gaining extra resources, earning victory points, or manipulating the robber’s movements, each card provides unique benefits that can make or break your game.

So keep your wits about you and plan ahead when deciding which development card to purchase. And don’t forget about the added layer of strategy involved in trading for necessary resources. By mastering these elements, you’ll be on your way to dominating the board in no time.

In conclusion, while direct trading of development cards may not be allowed in Catan, there are still plenty of ways to use them effectively and come out on top.