Last updated on November 11, 2021
If you are anything like me (and like many others browsing this site!) you probably enjoy board games—and especially strategy games like Settlers of Catan. Although still popular today, the game came out in 1995 and has been a staple for many game nights since.
Settlers of Catan is a game that combines many elements, such as resource management, trading, and the building of cities. It blends all this into one filled with strategy and, although intricate, is easy enough to understand in a short time.
Catan may well have been one of the first games that got you interested in playing board games, or perhaps you were introduced to it later, but it quickly became one of your favorites. Either way, you are here in search of other similar options out there, and we have compiled a list of eight games that provide both the thrill and strategic elements of Catan. Read on for more!
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Carcassonne is also a tile game that is just as popular as Catan, but more so in Europe. The game was inspired by the actual geography and history of the real-world French city, of which the game is named.
This game is more about the building of your world instead of the harvesting and collecting of resources. If you prefer the challenge of strategizing your way through a game, then you may prefer this to Catan.
The game begins with a terrain tile facing up, and 71 other tiles are shuffled and placed face down. Every turn, a player must draw a new terrain tile which is then placed adjacent to an existing tile.
The new tile must be placed to extend on the features of an existing tile, so roads must connect with roads and fields with fields, for example. After placing the new tile, the player may choose to station a “follower” to claim it as theirs, but this cannot be done if the features extend those of an already claimed terrain.
Carcassonne will end once the last tile has been placed out and, at this time, all features will score points for the player who has played out the most followers. Whoever has the most points will ultimately win.
- STRATEGY GAME - PLAN YOUR WAY TO VICTORY: Develop the landscape of a medieval fortress city one tile at a time. Whether blocking a city's growth or connecting with your opponent’s road to share the points, Carcassonne provides plenty of ways to use your cunning and outsmart your opponents.
- ONE STEP AT A TIME TILE-PLACEMENT GAME: Players fill in the countryside around the medieval fortified city, choosing from tiles that depict cities, roads, monasteries, and fields; each new tile creates an ever-expanding board on which players can then add their followers.
- JACK OF ALL TRADES: Followers can take many different roles (knights, monks, farmers, or thieves) determined by the type of tile on which they're placed. Each role scores points differently, so you'll need careful planning to make the best use of your followers.
- HOW TO ACHIEVE VICTORY: Players score points by having followers on tiles as features are completed. The player who makes the most strategic placements of tiles and followers will score the most points and win the game.
- HIGH REPLAYABILITY: With its simple yet rich game mechanics and eighty-four tiles that can be configured into numerous combinations, Carcassonne appeals to beginners and veteran gamers alike. LOOKING FOR NEW ADVENTURES? Try our many expansions (Note: Expansions require Carcassonne Base Game to play). Average Playtime: 45 minutes.
Agricola is a worker placement game that, like Catan, focuses on resource management. This one, however, has an even more refined look at this particular feature. In Agricola, you are a farmer who needs to plow fields, sow seeds, collect wood, buy animals, and overall expand your farm and also feed your family.
The game lasts for 14 rounds, after which each player will have to calculate their score, which will be based on the size of their household. The game sounds rudimentary and straightforward; nevertheless it was voted the second-best game at Spiel in 2007. It also happened to hold the ranking of the highest-rated game for more than five years on the website Board Game Geek.
In 2021 the game still ranks 34th out of all the board games on that site. There is no surprise that it is still popular today. It is a highly strategic game that requires one’s complete concentration throughout.
The game starts with the players have a farming couple who live in a small two-roomed dwelling. Each turn, the players get to place their family members on action spaces, so they may obtain resources and ultimately grow and improve their household.
As mentioned, there are 14 rounds over which there are six harvests; at each of these, food is grown, the people need to be fed, and animals multiplied. If you fail in feeding your family, you will lose points, and thus food production is vital within Agricola.
- STRATEGY BOARD GAME: Agricola is the classic game where players take on the role of 17th century farmers and guide their families to wealth, health, and prosperity. Every game challenges players to make different strategic choices. The player who establishes the best farmyard wins!
- UPGRADE AND EXPAND: Start with a farming couple living in a simple hut. Renovate your home, improve your fields and breed animals. Aquire building resources such as Wood and Clay. Grow your family so you can take more actions as they become available – but don't do it too soon because they all need to be fed.
- ACQUIRE WEALTH: Points are awarded for the number of fields, pastures and fenced stables as well as Grain, Vegetables, Sheep, Wild boar and Cattle. Players lose one point for each unused farmyard space. Additional points are awarded for extension and renovations, family members, and played Occupation and Improvement cards.
- HIGHLY VARIABLE: Game consists of 14 rounds and players have 14 hand cards. No two games are ever the same. Players can play without cards to create a family style game. Agricola can also be played solo. LOOKING FOR MORE CHALLENGES? Several expansions are available that offer a variety of extra cards.
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: This fun board game for teens and adults can be played with 1 to 4 players and is suitable for ages 12 and up. The average playtime is 90 minutes.
3. Shadows Over Camelot
Suppose you enjoy the planning and building aspects of Catan, but enjoy a medieval setting where there is a component of role-playing in the mix. In that case, Shadows over Camelot is undoubtedly worth looking at.
A bonus of this game, unlike something like D&D, is that it takes almost the same amount of time to play as Catan. Also, an attractive feature of this one is that you don’t simply play as an anonymous colonist, but rather take on the role of a certain knight who has to complete a series of quests, and the story is never the same. This is because there are variations that are dependent on how the actual events play out.
There is still the definite aspect of strategy within Shadows over Camelot, and on top of that, there is the need for social deduction. The game has you incarnated as Knights of the Round Table, and you have to work together to protect Camelot.
There is also the need to complete quests, ranging from searching for the Holy Grail to Excalibur. However, this is where the skill of deduction comes into play, as one among you is quite possibly traitorous and is merely lurking in the shadows and biding their time until they strike.
- A unique collaborative game featuring a malevolent twist
- Great for game nights
- Takes 60-90 minutes to play
- Beware the traitor in the midst
- English (Publication Language)
4. Terra Mystica
This is a fantasy game in which you need to amass as much territory as you can. There are varying fantasy races within the game, and each of them is after different types of territory; for example, the fishmen are going to want to get their hands on the sea spots, but there may not be enough to go around.
Terra Mystica is just as much a strategy game as Catan, and if you were taken by the aspect that there isn’t room for all of us on the island in that game, then you are sure to find this game a superb alternative.
There is a large world in which you play, but there are a variety of powers that force you to expand your territory within the map that ultimately does have its limits. You do not directly have to attack your fellow players like in a game such as Risk, but you do have to focus on strategic blockings to maintain your borders.
The game has very little to do with luck or chance and instead is a game where intellect comes into play. Thankfully it is a simple enough concept, and once you understand the principles, it’s all about outwitting your opponents.
The game requires you to govern one of the 14 available factions, and you need to terraform the landscape on the board to play in your favor so that you can build your structures. There are plenty of outcome possibilities, and Terra Mystica can be played in as short a time as 30 minutes, making it quick-paced and enthralling.
- Fun strategy game with a simple game principle and very little luck involved
- Govern one of 14 factions trying to transform the landscape on the game board in your favor in order to build your structures
- Large number of possible games keeps it entertaining every time
- 30 minute game for 2 to 5 players (ages 13+)
5. Ticket To Ride
The game has sold over 8 million copies and holds multiple awards for its excellence. Since its release in 2004, it has continued to be a popular classic that many continue to play.
Ticket to Ride is all about collecting various cards and train cars to help you claim railway routes that enable you to connect cities from all over. The game is elegant and simple enough to learn, with most players getting the hang of the gameplay in less than 15 minutes.
As stated by the game’s author, the rules are simple, and all you really need to know is that on each of your turns, you have three options. You can draw more cards, gain additional Destination Tickets, or claim a route.
Things quickly become pretty tense, though, as you need to balance the urge to gain more cards and the fear of potentially losing critical routes to competitors.
Ticket to Ride comes to an end when one of the players has two or less of their train pieces. Once this takes place, then all the other players play one final turn. At this point, players reveal their Destination Tickets and show who was successful. The snag here, though, is that points are deducted for not completing tickets. Finally, the person with the longest continuous route, gains an additional 10 bonus points.
- STRATEGY GAME: Build your tracks across the United States in this fast-paced and strategic board game. Connect iconic North American cities across a map of the 20th-century USA and build your train routes to earn points
- FUN ADVENTURE GAME: Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities through North America! LOOKING FOR NEW ADVENTURES? Try Ticket to Ride expansions (Note: Expansions require Ticket to Ride Board Game to play)
- MULTIPLE WAYS OF SCORING POINTS: Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway
- FAST AND EASY TO LEARN: With elegantly simple gameplay, the game can be learned in under 15 minutes and enjoyed time and time again, whether it's your first time building a rail empire or an old favorite
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS AND AVERAGE PLAYTIME: This family and adult board game can be played with 2 to 5 players. The average playtime is 30-60 minutes. PLAY WITH ALEXA: Using a compatible Echo device, say “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride” and play against Alexa
6. The Castle Of Burgundy
The Castle of Burgundy is set in the region of the same name within medieval France. The players are all part of the aristocratic ruling class attempting to develop their region’s area; ultimately, they want theirs to be more prosperous than the other players.
Like Catan, strategy and planning ahead are crucial, and in this game, players need to be sure that their princedom is worth the highest number of points, and simultaneously they need to keep track of what their opponents are doing.
The civilization-building in both this game and Catan is not entirely on the same level as something like Through the Ages. However, this one is definitely a step up and is a good stepping stone for moving on to more complex games.
The game is excellent because it works for smaller groups, as it is meant for between two and four players. The game was published back in 2011 and since then has been considered as one of the classics amidst the Eurogame genre. It has also been dubbed one of the most influential games of the decade.
The game uses the rolling of dice and the placement thereof and set collection for its mechanics. The utilization of the dice and the ability to change them allow players an extensive range of potential options. In The Castle of Burgundy, you need to collect tiles and use them to fill your personal board by drafting them via the roll of the dice.
- A fun game for all the family to play together
- This item includes 164x six-sided tiles, 42x goods tiles, 20x silverlings (game's Currency), 30x worker tiles, 12x bonus tiles, 4x victory tiles, 8x playing pieces, 9x dice, 1x game board, 16x player boards, 1 x set of instructions
- This game is suitable for 2-4 players
- Suitable for ages 12 years and up.
- Playing time: 30-90 minutes.Skill Level: Intermediate.Number Of Players: 2 To 4
7. Through The Ages: A Story Of Civilization
Through the Ages is a game for two-to-four players and was published in 2006. However, it is still most certainly worth our attention today.
The goals of the game all ultimately culminate in the development of human civilization. The players need to choose which aspects they primarily want to focus on, from culture to religion and science. However, you do not want to neglect any part entirely.
The game is a multi-award-winning game and has indeed stood the test of time. The game focuses on the development of civilization, including many facets such as government, urban buildings, and resource production.
This is all done by drawing or buying cards, and the goal is to take your civilization through four different ages, starting in classic antiquity and finally making your way into the modern age.
The decks are shuffled before each gameplay, and each game will offer an array of different challenges to the players. You will need to consider an array of factors while playing, such as finding ways to grow your economy while maintaining a robust military presence.
Like Agricola, this game also managed to spend more than five years in the top five of the ranking of Board Game Geek. The game got an updated release in 2015 and was re-titled Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization. The game came with rule changes and alternate artwork.
- Product Type:Board Game
- Item Package Weight:2.282 Kilograms
- Item Package Dimension:7.696 cm L X25.4 cm W X36.601 cm H
- Country Of Origin: Czech Republic
Concordia is a strategy board game that revolves around economic development within the Roman ages. This game relies primarily on the players’ strategic abilities rather than luck or chance.
Like others on this list, Concordia can be played with as few as two players and has a maximum number of five spots at the table. You have to constantly observe what your opponents are considering pursuing, and you will have to outsmart them to get ahead; along with this, you will need to seek the favor of the gods.
The game is home to great Roman dynasties, one of which you will need to guide and use to colonize the realms of the empire. You are tasked with developing trade networks and must work towards gaining more than your fellow players to emerge as the winner at the end.
At the start of the game, you will each receive an identical set of cards, and you will need to acquire more of them throughout the game. The purpose of these cards is to choose what actions you wish to execute during play and to receive victory points at the end.
Once all the cards have either been sold, or one of the players has managed to build their 15th house, Concordia concludes. It is at this point that the person who has claimed the most victory points, from the gods, will win the game.
- For 2-5 Players
- 90 minute playing time
- Historical strategy game
- For 2-5 players
- Takes around 90 minutes to play
As we can see, there are some wonderful alternatives to Catan, and there are even more out there. All in all, though, if you love a game where you need to strategize, collect resources, manage your empire, and ultimately grow civilizations, then all of the games mentioned above are worthy of your attention.
Finally, a few other laudable alternatives to Catan are: Viticulture, 7 Wonders, Puerto Rico, Artifacts, Inc., Power Grid, Small World, and Pandemic. I hope you are able to find the perfect one for your next game night or get-together with friends or family. Board games are still alive and thriving and your being here is evidence of that. If you liked this list, be sure to share some of the suggestions with others.