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Settlers of Catan is a tabletop game that has graced the presence of countless households around the world since 1995. The avid board gamer will tell you that there are mixed opinions surrounding this popular game, but in the end, Catan is a fantastic gateway board game that caters to those new to the genre. Catan provides fun game elements and mechanics that are easy to learn and everyone enjoys.
If you love Catan, you may wish to venture and try other similar board games. When considering other games, players must respect three main elements: the collection of resources, dice rolling, and trading. Other similar mechanics found in games like Catan include:
- Area control – using tile placement strategy to claim specific areas of the board.
- Resource management – actions related to trading, spending, and claiming in-game resources.
- Tile placement – places physical resources or components on the board.
- Worker placement – using workers and selecting from a specific set of actions to complete a turn.
Keep reading if you’re looking for other games like Catan, but with a different twist!
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1. 7 Wonders of the board gaming world
7 Wonders is a game that is easy to learn, fast to play, and addictive from the beginning. The game can be played with a maximum of seven players and a minimum of two, and you can add or remove players without losing gameplay quality. The full game can typically be completed in 45 minutes, which falls within gateway game criteria, like Catan.
The gameplay revolves around players playing different cards to develop their civilization via three rounds. Card management strategy is critical, especially when playing action-building cards, victory point-building cards, and production-building cards.
Every player plays a single card simultaneously in each round and must pass the remaining cards to the person next to them, which forces you to balance playable cards and those you don’t want your opponent to have. The goal is to earn victory points, so at the end of the third round, the player with the most points wins. This game is like Catan due to the replayability and strategy required to win.
2. Agricola is the Latin word for farmer
Agricola has numerous aspects similar to Catan. Given the game’s name, players are farmers working their land to nourish livestock and crops. However, Agricola is a step up from Catan in that the components are significantly more intricate, and an elevated level of strategy is required to be successful.
As a farmer, you have complete control of your land, so you must build facilities on your farm, tend to crops, and care for livestock. In one turn, players take two actions that could include building fences to hold their livestock, collecting stone, wood, or clay, and improving many other aspects of the farm. Strategy is crucial, so players must use the limited number of actions per turn wisely.
3. Bohnanza, not like the show Bonanza
Bohnanza is like Catan in that trading is the primary component of the game mechanics. However, the most exciting part of this game is you’re trading beans! Launched in 1997, Bohnanza is an older game where players trade with others, harvest crops, and farm beans.
The heart of this board game is trading cards with other players. Matching ben cards and adding them to the fields allows for harvesting beans, thus earning coins.
If you love the trading aspects of a board game, you will fall in love with Bohnanza! While it lacks the other two primary mechanics from Catan, it is an excellent game that is a great alternative, primarily due to the heavy trading requirements to win.
4. Carcassonne, what is this word?
Carcassonne is a highly approachable board game that moves at the perfect place for beginners and veterans alike, which is like Catan. The gameplay involves a series of turns where each player draws and then places a map tile. Next, players must choose whether to place a follower on that tile.
Each tile is different and can consist of cities, fields, or roads. First, however, the tiles must match those next to them, like putting a puzzle together. Other rules exist in the game and are easy to learn within a few rounds.
The game is scored by the number of followers placed on tiles with different values. Gameplay lasts around 40 minutes, which falls within the criteria for a gateway game. Best of all, chasing newbies away is not too complicated or dense. Carcassonne is a fun and well-rounded game that’s suitable for all players.
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5. Concordia, the board game, not the airplane
Concordia revolves around players leading a Roman dynasty and developing the most significant trading realm across the Mediterranean. Like Catan, the game heavily relies on utilizing strategic abilities to limit the actions of other players making advancements and trade. To be successful, players must keep an eye on opponents while working to outperform them.
Colonists are sent from Rome to settle in cities and produce cloth, wine, tools, food, and bricks. Different opportunities and actions are required throughout the game to earn victory points. In the same manner as Catan, plays must strategically plan advanced moves while blocking opponent routes to advance to glory!
6. Old Dominion, but the new version
Dominion is a game with a maximum of four players that can be completed in around 30 minutes. Every player begins with an identical card deck. The second set of cards is placed at the center of the table, and these cards can be purchased once players can afford to buy them.
Players must build a deck of cards throughout the game by purchasing other cards and playing the hand, depending on the drawn cards. The goal is to detmine the most efficient path to victory points before all cards run out and the game ends.
Dominion has a whopping 500 cards, and you choose 10 of 25 Kingdom cards to include a specific play, thus making the game highly replayable. In addition, since there’s a lot of strategy surrounding which cards to play and how to use purchased cards, it’s a great alternative to Catan.
7. Don’t shut off the Power Grid
The goal of Power Grid is to race against other players to supply the most cities with power while utilizing resource management during the game. The player with the most power plants powered at the end of the game wins.
Every round consists of four phases where players can buy cities to expand their network, buy resources for their power plant, and bid on and purchase a new power plant. In the final phase, players discard all resources to ensure their plants are powered and receive income based on the number of powered cities.
This highly interactive game is focused on bidding for power plants, which can lead to chaos between players. However, bidding requires a strategy like Catan, and the game is immensely replayable. Best of all, there’s a low chance of luck factory involved, so winning is mainly based on skill.
8. Puerto Rico
The first aspect I will say about Puerto Rico is the tremendous amount of strategy and planning required. While a bit of luck is also helpful, the game depends on how you use your resources.
In the game, players are colonial governors who construct specific building types or ship goods to Europe to earn victory points. Distinct roles include creating buildings, shipping goods, growing crops, and selecting functions that benefit the player.
While this game can be challenging to learn, it’s fun and rewarding. The game has been available for many years, providing a bit of board gaming history while offering a glimpse into what games beyond roll and move have to offer. Puerto Rico is a step up from Catan due to the amount of strategy and planning involved to win.
9. Back to the Stone Age
Players in Stone Age become early human tribe leaders in the…you guessed it….Stone Age! As a hunter/gatherer, you’re looking to build the best tribes and tools to be victorious. Since the game is set during the Stone Age, typical tasks include washing gold in the river, breaking stones, and gathering wood.
As you collect resources, you can expand your village and trade freely to achieve new civilization levels. Like Catan, this worker placement game focuses on using humans, tools, and agriculture to develop tribes. Players must use workers to trade, build, hunt, and gather resources.
10. Terra Mystica, a fantasy-themed game
Like Catan, Terra Mystica involves expanding your territory and influence by joining cultures and terraforming. Players begin with a plot of land and work on terraforming other landscapes into home environments. However, all other players attempt to do the same to your land.
Another similarity to Catan is Terra Mystica requires a strong strategy and performing the right actions based on the resources you have readily available. Various buildings allow players to develop different resources that can be used to expand territory and terraform other landscapes. Also, like Catan, the map is limited, and you are required to cut other players off from gaining resources through strategic blocking.
11. Terraforming Mars while sitting at a table
Terraforming Mars is an admired game that involves engine build. The game is a balanced mix of an exciting theme and engaging gameplay on a shred Mars board with tons of player interaction.
Terraforming Mars can be played with a maximum of five players or a minimum of two, and a completion time of around two hours. The object is for players to create a new world on Mars while making difficult choices to bring life to the Red Planet.
As humans start to terraform Mars, each player works as a major corporation and plays project cards introducing animal or plant life to the planet, collecting resources, or building cities. Players track resources and production, which count toward increasing the overall process rating towards complete terraforming of the planet.
While it can be a little complex, the rewards are excellent in the beginning. Also, many expansions exist, so the game is replayable, like Catan, and requires a superior level of strategy to be successful.
12. The Castles of Burgundy in the United States
The Castles of Burgundy is a game to build personal estates while planning and trading resources. Like Catan, players must develop settlements and trade for improved resources that can be used for their benefit. A significant aspect of this board game is tile placement, so players place functional tiles on the board.
Every round, each player can conduct two of four specific actions, including moving a settlement tile to the staging area, taking worker tokens, transporting a tile from the staging area to their player, and delivering goods.
Every settlement tile offers some benefits: victory points, die roll adjustment, more goods tiles, turn advancement, additional money, or additional actions. Victory points are awarded throughout the game, and the player holding the most victory points wins at the end of all rounds. The game mechanics are like Catan because it involves worker placement, tile placement, and dice rolling.
13. Ticket to Ride this board game train
Like the Castles of Burgundy, Ticket to Ride is a gateway board game great for a post-Catan fix. The gameplay is simple and fun since the basic premise revolves around picking up or playing a card.
The storyline is simple, each player is on a train adventure across the country and trying to gather and play matching train cards to gain railway routes that connect North American cities. As the routes become longer, players earn more points.
Additional points are available to those who fulfill Destination Tickets by connecting two further cities, so the player with the longest continuous railway wins the game. This board game has become so popular that expansion packs with different global locations are available. While simpler than Catan, it provides similar mechanics around selecting cards and strategically placing them on the board.
14. Viticulture is best played with a glass of wine in hand
Viticulture is an exceptional game for wine lovers that shares many aspects with Catan. This board game requires players to test winemaking skills while strategically thinking to build the best Italian winery.
Players must fill merchant orders, age wines, harvest grapes, and plant vines throughout the game. You expand your vineyard by planting additional vines and building various structures. Pouring a glass of wine before beginning this game is essential. Then you can appreciate the mechanics!