Catan is a multiplayer board game. Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources.
The players in the game represent settlers establishing colonies on the island of Catan. Players build settlements, cities, and roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board, which represents the island, is composed of hexagonal tiles (hexes) of different land types, which are laid out randomly at the beginning of each game. Newer editions of the game began to depict a fixed layout in their manual, which has been proven to be fairly even-handed by computer simulations, and recommend this to be used by beginners. In 2016, editions of the game were released with a conventional fixed layout board in this configuration, the hexes of which cannot be rearranged.