Resource cards are sorted into five, face-up stacks separated by type at the beginning of any Catan game. During the Production Phase, each player begins their turn by rolling the dice. The number rolled determines which resource hex produce Resource cards. Each of the five resource hex types produce a different type of resource:
- Forests produce Lumber
- Pastures produce Wool
- Fields produce Grain
- Hills produce Brick
- Mountains produce Ore
Each player who has a settlement bordering a resource hex marked with a number rolled receives one Resource card of the type that hex produces. Each player who has a city bordering that hex receives two of the given Resource cards. Each player who has more than one settlement and/or city bordering that hex receives one Resource card for each of their adjacent settlements, and two Resource cards for each of their adjacent cities.
Players collect Resource cards so they can build pieces like roads, settlements and Development cards. On their turn, players can also trade resource cards with other players for any agreed upon trade ratio or with the Bank at a 4:1 trade ratio or better if built on a corresponding harbor.
Note: Some hexes are not resource hexes and therefore do not produce resource cards (Example: the Desert hex).