How to Plan Settlers of Catan Game Night Party

  • 01 of 04

    Board Game Party: A Settlers of Catan Game Night

    Settlers of Catan
    Settlers of Catan makes a perfect theme for a game night party. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    When it comes to board games, few have the fanatical teen and young adult following of Settlers of Catan. The award-winning strategy game is so popular that game shops and dorms hold regular Settlers of Catan nights.

    Game night parties are perfect for 18th birthday celebrations, winter break gatherings and, really, anytime. Why not use the popularity of Catan as a catalyst for some fun?

    The beauty of a board game night is that, whether it's Catan or any other great dorm board game, the party...MORE activities are taken care of. Gameplay, great snacks and a few clever decorations are all it takes to create a festive evening.

    Scale these ideas up or down to fit your party. If it is a casual event like a reunion of high school friends, take it a little easier than you would for a bigger bash.

    So let's start planning!

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  • 02 of 04

    Decorations for a Settlers of Catan Party

    Settlers of Catan
    Mod Podge is used to attach circles of artwork to the underside of glass plates for this Settlers of Catan party. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    The main activity at any board game party is, of course, playing games, so you will be setting up a few game tables around the room.

    Play to the Crowd

    Amp up the decor or tone it down accordingly. A swankier celebration like an 18th birthday party will require a bit more attention than a casual get-together.

    Collect a number of game boards so many people can play. If you really want a show-stopper, you can make a gigantic version of the game.

    Tables and Chairs

    • Set up card tables and chairs (or...MORE similar gameplay venues) around the room.
    • Cover the tables with cloths in the signature Catan colors: wheat gold, forest green and sea blue.
    • Place a game at each table. Go with Settlers of Catan boards or find an assortment of Seafarers, Traders & Barbarians and other expansion packs.

    The Buffet Table

    • Drape a buffet table with a dark blue cloth.
    • Set out rustic baskets and wicker trays to fill with small sandwiches and other Catan-appropriate finger-foods (ideas on the next page).

    DIY Catan Plates

    Glass plates are perfect for toting treats back to the game tables. Customize them with the game's spectacular art and they become a fabulous decorative element as well.

    Inspired by a very cool Martha Stewart Halloween idea, you can create the plates in the photo above.

    1. Enlarge images of the gorgeous Catan tiles.
    2. Print them out on cardstock.
    3. Cut circles to fit the underside of the plate bases. 
    4. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the plate's underside.
    5. Press the circle into place.

    Soaking the plate in water will loosen the adhesive after the party. If you are nervous about the fate of your plates, use tiny dabs of hot glue to affix the paper. The glue will peel off later.

    Elaborate Wall Decor

    If this is a casual gathering, everything above will do the trick. Don't go too elaborate because  over-the-top decorations can have a dampening effect on the enthusiasm level of small gatherings!

    Big birthday parties and formal tournaments may call for something spectacular.

    • Drape the walls with dark blue plastic sheeting or gossamer.
    • Use vinyl photo murals in an ocean pattern or weathered wood grain on the walls. These are available from stores like Stumps Party Supplies and other prom decoration suppliers.
    • Cover the floor with cobblestone or wood-grain vinyl. Use clear duct tape to secure the edges.
    • Have the game tiles blown up at your local printer and hang them as banners around the room.
    • Use the same wood-grain paper to cover the tables.
    • Light the room with battery-operated candles and lanterns. Group a few on the tables to ensure sufficient light to see the game and cards.
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  • 03 of 04

    Food Ideas for a Settlers of Catan Party

    Settlers of Catan party food
    This refreshing lemon dill dip makes a perfect dunk for a broccoli "forest" and steamed ocean-blue potatoes. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    The cards and tiles that represent Catan's territory and resources offer plenty of culinary inspiration for a Settlers of Catan party.

    Try these delicious Catan-centric snack ideas, including a dill dip with a forest of broccoli florets, lamb meatballs and more.

    Forest Terrain and Ocean Inspiration

    1. Cut small florets of broccoli and golden cauliflower and blanch them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes.
    2. Plunge the vegetables into an ice water bath to stop the cooking and lock in the color.
    3. Cut...MORE small blue potatoes in half and blanch them in the same water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.
    4. Dry the vegetables with paper towels and arrange them in a wicker basket around a bowl of lemon dill dip.
    5. Garnish with forest and ocean tiles.

    Lamb and Brick Meatballs

    It takes resources to win a game and those sheep and brick cards are highly coveted items.

    1. Cook up a batch of small lamb meatballs.
    2. Thread them on cocktail skewers, alternating the lamb with brick-like cubes of pepper jack cheese.
    3. Serve as is or add a spicy mint chutney or marinara for dipping.

    Hexagonal Grilled Cheese

    1. Using pumpernickel, rye and sourdough, cut out hexagons of assorted bread to make small panini.
    2. Fill them with fontina, pepper jack and other cheeses.
    3. Grill them in a skillet or use a panini press to make memorable sandwiches.


    An assortment of artisanal sodas - Izze or GUS (grown-up soda)- and craft root beer is always fun for this kind of event.

    Set out a carafe of lemonade or one of these twists on the lemonade.

    And for dessert...

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  • 04 of 04

    Settlers of Catan Cookies

    Settlers of Catan cookies
    Hexagonal sugar cookies need nothing more than a little fancy frosting-work - with the help of food color-felt pens - to become sweet Settlers of Catan "tiles.". Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Need sweets to complete that Settlers of Catan party? These Catan-inspired cookies are just the ticket.

    For the Cookie

    Use your favorite sugar or gingerbread cookie dough and a hexagonal cookie cutter to bake Catan tile-shaped cookies.

    It is best to either use a recipe that spreads minimally during baking (one with very little baking powder or baking soda). You can also trim the cookie edges after baking (while the cookies are still warm) to restore that signature shape.

    For the Icing

    1. Divide a batch...MORE of stiff royal icing among separate bowls.
    2. Tint one green, another tan, and the rest whatever other background colors you would like to use.
    3. Pipe a thin outline around the cookies and let dry.
    4. Thin the rest of the icing so it spreads easily and fill in the rest of the cookie.
    5. Let dry.

    Add Game Tile Details

    Use food color pens to add details that match the game tiles. Wilton, for example, makes sets of Food Writers that are perfect for this task.