If you’re like most people that have started playing strategy board games within the last 10-15 years, then you have probably played Catan. It is the grand-daddy of all strategy games and has shepherded a new wave of cool strategy games that take an hour or so to play and involve some meaty decisions. If you haven’t tried Catan, then you really do need to check it out to discover why it’s so popular.
If you have played Catan and are wondering which other board games you should play next, then this is the article for you! Let’s break it down into the possible reasons why you enjoy Catan, and then I’ll recommend another game for each of those reasons.
Reason 1: You enjoy trading
If you like the fact that you get to trade amongst your friends/opponents, then check out Dead of Winter. This one has players playing cooperatively against a horde of zombies, except there’s a chance that one player might be a traitor! During a round, players have to trade their resources in order to accomplish specific objectives, though the traitor isn’t as interested in playing nicely. Another cool aspect of this game is the Crossroads feature, where the player to your right has a Crossroad card in their hand that has a specific trigger. If that trigger happens on your turn, then that player interrupts and reads out the Crossroads card. It’s a cool way to add some theme and story elements to the game.
Reason 2: You enjoy route building
If you like building your settlements and carving out new areas with roads, then check out Ticket to Ride. There are many variations to choose from, but they all have the same core rules: You each get secret routes from one location to another, and you try to build a train route to connect them. On your turn you can either take any 2 of the face up cards, or play cards of a matching colour to then place trains onto the board. It’s super simple, but very re-playable. At any time you can also push your luck and take more route cards, but if you don’t complete them by the end of the game, then they are worth negative points!
Reason 3: You like rolling dice
If you enjoy rolling the dice every turn and seeing what happens, then check out Castles of Burgundy, where you play as aristocrats trying to build your princedom. This one is quite a bit more challenging than Catan, but it does something really interesting with the dice. Instead of doing whatever the dice indicates, you roll your dice and then assign them to different actions. It’s a nice twist on rolling dice, as it forces you to make decisions with your dice rolls instead of being at the mercy of them. While randomness is still a factor, you won’t necessarily win if you roll more 6’s than your opponents.
Reason 4: You like the variable setup
In Catan, every game feels a bit different because of the randomness in how you set it up. If that really tickles your fancy, then check out Imhotep. This game isn’t quite as random, but it has multiple ways in which you can set it up and play. Once you’ve played the base game, then you can flip over any of the boards in the game for an alternate side which offers different objectives. Regardless of the setup, you’re trying to build monuments by timing when to do which of the four main actions. It’s a clever game that allows for more replay-ability due to its variable setup.
Reason 5: You like screwing over your friends’ plans
If you play Catan because you really enjoy getting in your friends’ way and preventing them from being able to place their settlements where they want to, then check out Small World. In this game, players buy specific races that are made up of 2 random tiles: the race, and a modifier. So, in one game, you might have Flying Dwarves and Berserk Giants, while in the next game, you could get Spirit Orcs and Heroic Skeletons. Players use their races to occupy regions on the map and get a gold coin at the end of their turn for each region they occupy. As you might guess, in order to gain more regions, you’re going to have to attack your friends!
While there are even more board games that you might like that also align with these reasons, you should find yourself pretty busy for the next few months if you decide to pick up even one of these games! Which games would you recommend to someone who loves Catan?