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The Raiders of Catan is an official variant created by Klaus Teuber for The Settlers of Catan released in Germany as a part of Das Buch, in the Netherlands as a part of the Six Scenarios set, and at the University of Catan website. It is designed for 3-6 players and required the base game, The Seafarers of Catan and the materials listed below.

From the Box[]

In the North-West of Catan the riders lie in ambush. The inhabitants of Catan see this coming, but can do little to avoid it. There is only one way out: flee. Hastily the frightened settlers flee oversees to one of the small islands. Then, the barbarian riders appear and spread over the land, destroying everything in their way. Cities, villages, and landscapes, nothing is safe.

Materials Required[]

  • 18 or 24 Desert Rider markers
  • 6 number chits
  • 3 jungle tiles
  • 2 volcano tiles
  • 12 discovery markers
  • 1 victory point marker.
  • rules


Build the board according to the number of players playing. A chart for the 3-4 player game is available here and for 5-6 players is available [1].

The upper island with the multiple Desert tiles is the Home Island on which players must place their 2 starting settlements. Important: Each player MUST place their first settlement along a coast, and MUST place a ship instead of a road extending from this settlement.

There is no Robber or Pirate in this scenario. When a "7" is rolled, players with more than seven resources must discard half their cards, as usual. The player who rolled the "7" then takes one random card from any other player of his choice.

The Largest Army victory point card is not used in this scenario.

The Desert Raiders are set up outside of the playing area. The number of Raiders is dependent upon the number of players:

  • Three or Four players: 18 Desert Raiders
  • Five or Six players: 24 Desert Raiders

Variant Rules[]

Each time a player builds a settlement or a city, he must place Desert Raiders onto the mainland Desert tiles of his choice. If there are four or six players, 2 Raiders are placed, for three or five players, place 3. The Raiders should be placed in the middle of the Desert tiles, not on their corners or edges.

Storm of the Desert Raiders[]

When all the Desert Raiders have been placed, the "Storm of the Desert Raiders" beings:

  • Each turn, when the dice are rolled for production, check to see if the Desert Raiders attack a new hex. If the number rolled matches the number of any hex that borders any other hex with a Desert Raider, take one Desert Raider from any one of the Desert hexes, and place it onto the hex rolled. Desert Raiders are placed if the hex rolled borders any of the initial Desert hexes, or if it borders any non-Desert hex that a Desert Raider currently occupies. If the number rolled corresponds to two hexes that neighbor Desert Raiders, Desert Raiders are placed in both hexes.

A Desert Raider blocks resource production from a hex, in the same way as the Robber — adjacent Cities and Settlements no longer produce resources when the number of the occupied hex is rolled. Hexes covered by Desert Raiders do, however, produce resources on the turn that the Desert Raider is first placed in that hex.

Roads that lie between two hexes that are covered by Desert Raiders are rotated 90 degrees. These roads do not count toward longest trade route or help in establishing a new settlement.

As soon as Desert Raiders surround a City or Settlement so that resources can not be drawn from any of its neighboring land hexes, the structure is taken by the Desert Raiders. Show this by placing the City or Settlement piece on its side. This piece no longer counts toward victory point totals.

If the Desert Raiders overtake a player's coastal City or Settlement bordering a harbor, the harbor is no longer available for use.

Ships may be added to existing shipping lines proceeding from a coastal Settlement, even after the Desert Raiders take that settlement.

Desert Raiders may not be placed on Water hexes.

Only one Desert Raider may be placed on each Land hex.

Escape to the Neighboring Islands[]

To prosper in this scenario it is essential to build a shipping line to the other islands before the Desert Raiders begin their invasion. On the neighboring islands the players will find two new types of terrain: Volcanoes and Jungles. Both of these tiles follow their official rules except that when a volcano erupts, a player collects grain instead of gold.

The Desert Raiders Retreat[]

It is possible to hinder the Desert Raiders' invasion. When a player plays a Soldier card, he may remove one Desert Raider from a Land hex of his choice and place it in front of him. The Soldier card is placed in the discard pile.

  • If a Desert Raider was removed from a hex adjacent to a canceled Road, the Road is turned 90 degrees to its original position and is back in play.
  • If a Desert Raider was removed from a hex adjacent to a Settlement or City taken by Desert Raiders, the piece is placed upright and is considered back in play.

As long as there are Desert Raiders left on the starting Desert hexes, a hex freed by a Soldier can be retaken by another Desert Raider, if it's number is rolled on the dice.

Victory conditions[]

The first player to reach 13 victory points wins!