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Can you build on a robber in Catan?

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A Robber in Catan is activated whenever a player rolls 7 using the two dice. Once the Robber is activated, the player can then move it to any number on the Catan game.

When a robber occupies a number in the game, it must be covered. The Robber is free to steal any opponent player’s resources found in the settlement the Robber occupies. 

In addition, other players are prohibited from earning any resource from settlements around the space occupied by the Robber.

So, can a player build on a robber in Catan? Robber blocking or the limitation on where to place a building around the Robber is not addressed in the Catan rule book.

Most house rules do not allow a player to build anything around a robber unless it’s a Knight. Hence, it implies a player cannot place a road or a settlement next to the number the Robber sits on. 

However, the improvement of cities and merchants cannot be affected.  Though not often, the combination of robbers and seafarers can prevent the opposing player from building on land, and the pirate can also prevent the player from building or movement.

In general, whether or not a player can build on a robber is not addressed from the rule book, which makes it a house rule players need to agree upon with one another. As a result, many players combine the robber rule with seafarers to prevent the opponent players from building on Land next to a robber and prevent ship movement or building, and the House rule hinders any building for any item apart from Knights next to a robber.

How does Friendly Robber work in Catan?

Friendly Robber is a variant rule that combines the Robber and Pirates to hinder the ship’s building and movement at sea. That said, it means the opponent player cannot move to any hex that borders a certain settlement belonging to a player combined by two victory points.

The rule outlined that if the player cannot move their Robber to any Hex, the Robber should be taken to the Desert Hex. Once the Robber is taken to the desert hex, the player who moved the Robber is only allowed to take away resources from players who have over two victory points. 

If the player did not use the Robber to steal, then a card can only be stolen from any player who has more victory points than they had at the start of the game.

Does the robber block ports in Catan?

From the official rules for Catan, players are only limited from collecting resources in settlements or cities around the targeted Hex with the Robber. The Catan Robber Rule does not talk about the Robber blocking ports. 

However, players in their own house rules apply variant regulations that combine the robber and sea pirate to attempt blockage. 

Players use the pirate as the second option to make the port block effective. The pirate will try to prevent the ship’s building or prevent it from sailing near the port.

As a result, it is common for the Robber to occupy a certain hex that contains a port, as much as the resources are blocked, the port gets blocked too, such that the shipbuilding and movement are also blocked. 

That implies any player who has a settlement found on that port will be temporarily blocked from getting bonuses earned from that port. 

Note, that’s not the normal rule but a custom rule that must be agreed upon by all players, and may vary by household. 

Can you move the Robber anywhere?

When a player rolls 7 from combining the two dice, the Robber is activated and can be moved to any number on the Catan board. The Robber must be placed on a different hex or returned to the desert hex. 

Once the Robber is activated, every player must dispose of 50% of their resource’s cards back to resource stack if they have more than seven resources. The Hex on which the Robber moves blocks the opponent players from collecting resources on all the settlements around the Hex.

Furthermore, the Robber can steal resources on settlements around the Hex it occupies, but can only steal from one settlement if more than one settlement is involved.  

Catan robber rules

  • Whenever players roll a 7 during their turn in Catan, they activate the Robber.
  • When a robber is activated, any player on the game who has more than 7 resources cards must return 50% to the resource stack, including the person who made the roll.
  • Once the Robber is activated, it must be moved to any number on the Catan board. However, the Robber must be moved on a different Hex or returned to the desert hex.
  • Opponent players are prohibited from collecting resources on the settlements around the Hex the Robber occupies. Players are blocked from the Hex until another player rolls a 7 to move the Robber to another hex.
  • The Robber can steal any resource on the settlements around the Hex it occupies. When the player has more than one settlement to steal from, they will have to choose only one.
  • No resources are earned when a robber is activated. Only the Robber can earn a resource through stealing from the neighborhood settlements on the Hex they occupy.
Can you build on a robber in Catan

Building a Robber in Catan: Conclusion 

A player is not allowed to build on the Robber in Catan, which means a player cannot build a road, city, or settlement to a hex the Robber occupies. However, city improvements and merchant trade are not affected. 

The above rules are not found anywhere on the Catan rule book, which makes it a variant rule from one house to another. Sometimes, players deploy the combination rule, whereby they combine the Pirates and Robber to block the opponent from building on land or prevent a ship from building or moving near the Hex the Robber occupies.

The Friendly Robber is a variant rule that combines a pirate and robber to prevent the Robber from moving to a hex that borders a player settlement with two victory points. Afterwards, it is taken to the desert hex and can only steal a resource from a player with more than two victory points.

The Robber is activated when a player rolls 7 from the combination of the two dice, then it can be moved to any number on the Catan game and covered. It must always transfer to a different hex, or the desert hex

The opponent players cannot collect any resources on a settlement next to the Hex on which the Robber is placed. This is a powerful play that has an effect on all players in the game, making the Robber a key part of game strategy.

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