If you’ve ever played Catan, you know how much fun this board game is. Catan, formerly Settlers of Catan, made board gaming history by introducing Euro-style games to the masses. As of 2020, Catan had sold over 32 million copies.
If you’re a fan of Catan looking for similar board games, look no further. I recommend … But there are other games that can also scratch that itch. I’ve reviewed several of those games below.
Which of these board games like Catan will suit your style? Read on to learn more.
Board Game Like Catan: At a Glance
There are several board games that share one or more features with Catan. To help you decide which game might appeal to you, use the chart below:
|Gateway game, good for beginners and experienced gamers||Stone Age, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne|
|Most like Catan in game mechanics||A Game of Thrones: Catan, Catan 3D, Catan: Traders & Barbarians|
|Worker Placement||Power Grid, Stone Age|
|Strategy Games||Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Power Grid, Stone Age, Carcassonne|
|Easy to Learn||Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Carcassonne|
|Good for families||Ticket to Ride, Catan Junior, Carcassonne|
Board Games Similar to Catan: Reviews
Ticket to Ride: Best Game Like Catan
Playing time: 30-60 minutes
If you’re looking to get your Catan fix, Ticket to Ride is a great option. It’s a fun and simple game that fits a lot of the gateway game criteria.
Ticket to Ride cross-country train adventure game in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.
Players who fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two cities earn additional points. They can also earn extra points by building the longest continuous railway.
Use your strategic abilities to decide on the most efficient path between two cities. But you’ll have to manage your resources well to avoid losing points for unfinished routes.
The game moves along at a good pace without much downtime. And there are multiple paths to victory, so anyone can win, which adds to the excitement.
Ticket to Ride has similar mechanics to Catan, although it is a simpler board game. It’s wildly popular and has several expansions available, from the landscapes of Europe to the high-speed bullet trains of Tokyo.
I highly recommend Ticket to Ride. It’s an excellent board game in its own right, and it’s a good pick for mixed gaming groups.
- Easy learning curve
- Good pacing, low downtime
- Several expansions available
- Good strategy required
- Expansions available
- May get repetitive after a while
Carcassonne: Best Tile Placement Game Like Catan
Playing time: 30-45 minutes
Inspired by the history of the French city with the same name, Carcassonne is a great gateway board game similar to Catan. It offers great pacing and approachable mechanics. Also, fun fact: Carcassonne is where the term meeple originated. Cool, huh?
Carcassonne is a tile-laying game. The tiles consist of objects such as roads, fields, or cities. On their turn, each player draws and places a map tile. This tile must match up with the edges of the adjacent tile.
Players must also decide whether or not to place one of their followers (i.e., game pieces) on that tile. They earn victory points by having followers on tiles with completed features. The player with the most points wins the game.
Carcassonne is easy to learn, with new players able to learn it in only a few rounds. Each game only lasts about 40 minutes, making it one of the best board games for beginners.
But even though Carcassonne is simple to understand, it’s difficult to master. It requires strategy, and there are practically countless tile combinations.
That level of variation means you can play Carcassonne repeatedly without getting bored.
Carcassonne strikes that perfect balance between accessibility and engaging gameplay. It’s not so dense that it will scare away beginners, but it’s still a challenging strategy game. And once you’re ready for something new, there are plenty of expansion packs available.
If you like games like Catan, Carcassonne is sure to be a hit on your next game night!
- High replay value
- Easy to learn
- Great gateway game
- Strategic tile placement
- Quick to play
- Expansions packs available
- Isolated reports of misprinted tiles
Power Grid: Best Resource Management Game Like Catan
Playing time: 90+ minutes
Power Grid by Rio Grande Games is a fantastic strategy game for those who enjoy Euro-style games like Catan. It’s heavy on resource management and negotiation, with little luck involved.
In Power Grid, you race to supply the most cities with power using resources acquired throughout the game. The objective is to have the most power plants powered when the game ends.
Each round has four phases where players can auction for power plants, bid up other players and buy a power plant, buy resources for their current power plants, and buy cities to expand their network. Players then discard their resources to power their plants and receive income based on how many cities they powered.
Power Grid is a highly-interactive game. The bidding can pit players against one another and cause chaos… and a lot of fun, too! This board game also has a solid replay value.
Even though Power Grid is a great game, it’s not for everyone. It has a longer playing time and a decent learning curve. And even though the components are high quality, the artwork isn’t anything impressive (typical of Rio Grande games).
However, the game mechanics are excellent. This board game is light on sizzle but heavy on steak. If you like managing different resources, making decisions, and negotiating, you’ll enjoy Power Grid.
- Strategic depth
- Good player interaction
- Solid replayability
- Learning curve
- Lengthy games
Pandemic: Best Cooperative Alternative
Playing time: 45 minutes
Pandemic is an excellent game. It features some elements of Catan but without requiring you to stick it to your friends. Instead, Pandemic is a collaborative game.
In this exciting board game, players take on the role of CDC operatives tasked with containing and curing four deadly diseases that threaten the globe. It’s a race against the clock as specialists fight to find a cure before the next outbreak happens.
Each player plays the role of a different specialist, each with their own expertise. You could be the medic who can treat disease quickly, the researcher who can share knowledge, the operation specialist who can build research stations, and more.
Players begin in Atlanta at the Center for Disease Control. From there, they must travel the world and build research stations to find cures. Then they must deliver those cures across the globe.
There are no dice rolls in this board game. Instead, each turn consists of four actions. Players determine which actions to take based on their location, unique abilities, and threat level. After the turn ends, the disease spreads and infects more locations.
Pandemic is a highly-interactive board game. It requires collective decision-making, so there are plenty of opportunities for conversation and interaction. The downside is that it could result in quarterbacking.
In spite of that, this board game is simply exciting. It’s easy to learn but tough to master. There’s only one way to win and several ways to lose. But I find myself enjoying this game just as much, either way, win or lose. That’s the sign of a good game, in my opinion.
- Rich in theme
- Challenging, strategic depth
- Highly interactive game
- Easy to learn
- Difficult to master
- Quarterbacking can happen
Stone Age: Best Worker Placement Game Like Catan
Playing time: 60-90 minutes
Stone Age by Z-Man Games is an accessible board game that will have you competing to create the most advanced civilization.
In Stone Age, players become the leader of their own tribe of early humans living in the stone age. Their goal is to construct the best tools and tribes in order to become victorious.
You must balance gathering food, growing the population, collecting resources, building structures, and researching technologies. The player with the most victory points wins.
This game isn’t as tense as, say, Agricola, but it forces players to make decisions about which track to take. Do you establish a farm to lessen the need to hunt? Do you use the “love shack” to quickly increase the population? Or do you collect resources and hoard tools to build the best buildings?
You’ll get your own player board. The game is played over several rounds. Each round consists of three phases: place worker tokens on spaces, perform actions, and feed the tribe.
There is a learning curve to Stone Age, but it’s pretty straightforward for a Eurogame. And even though it does include dice rolling, it strikes a nice balance between luck and skill.
Speaking of dice, the game components in this board game are neat. The player board artwork is a little dull, but in a way that matches the theme. The wooden dice come in a leather dice cup. The meeples are also wooden.
Stone Age is more exciting with four players than with two, and it doesn’t have the replay appeal of other board games. But if you have a new or reluctant gamer in your group, Stone Age is an ideal introduction to worker placement games.
- Light worker placement game
- Straightforward gameplay
- Tactile, fun to play
- Cool components
- Balances luck and strategy
- Not as fun with two players
- Limited replay value
A Game of Thrones: Catan: Best Fantasy-Themed Game
Playing time: 60-90 minutes
Calling all Game of Thrones fans! If you love Catan, you’ll enjoy this cinematic twist on the classic game.
In A Game of Thrones: Catan, you are struggling for promotions within the Brothers of the Night’s Watch. You hope to gain recognition by improving infrastructure in the area south of the Wall known as the Gift. You must build, defend, and rise above your brothers to become the new Lord Commander.
Use resources to build roads, settlements, and keeps. Recruit guards for your patrol or buy development cards. Each of these acts brings increased power and recognition in the form of victory points.
This board game is very much like Catan. The strategy, the use of resources, the dice rolling, and the trading aspect, it’s all there. But this version also adds cards that give the players special powers. These cards provide a good die roll adjustment and add some excitement.
A Game of Thrones: Catan centers on the Wall and how players defend it against the wildlings. It does not include the same treachery or backstabbing you might expect with GoT.
The miniatures, artwork, and components are impressive. The Wall is a 3D structure that sits on the game board, while the miniatures are detailed and well-constructed. The designers took care to make this board game visually appealing.
A Game of Thrones: Catan is a pricier board game, but that’s pretty typical for franchise-based board games.
- Amazing game components
- A lot like Catan
- Fun additions
Catan Junior: Best for Young Kids
Playing time: 30 minutes
Catan Junior is a perfect introduction to board gaming for those budding young gamers in your family. Catan Junior lets younger players experience the Catan world by introducing a simpler playing style.
Catan Junior takes place on a ring of tropical isles, including Spooky Island, home of the Ghost Captain. Each island produces a specific resource–wood, goats, molasses, cutlasses, or gold. But beware of the Ghost Captain!
Players start with two pirate lairs and build ships to expand their own territory. More lairs help you gather resources, which you use to build ships and lairs or get help from the wise Coco the Parrot. You can trade freely in the nearby market. The first player to control seven pirate lairs wins!
Catan Junior is accessible for kids, but it’s fun for teens and adults, as well. It’s simple to understand but has a surprising amount of depth to it for a family game.
The game board is colorful and inviting, and the miniatures are of good quality. I particularly enjoy the blue die included. Those simple touches make the game even more fun. This does not include the tile placement like the older game, but that means fewer pieces to set out or lose.
This board game is quick to play. A full game only takes half an hour, which is perfect for younger kids.
The creators did an excellent job of making a game that’s family-friendly without losing the essence of the original boad game. Catan Junior is sure to be a hit at family game nights.
- Easy to learn
- Quick games
- Colorful, cool theme (pirates)
- Super fun to play
- Not as challenging for older players
Catan Traders and Barbarians (Expansion): Best Expansion
Playing time: approx. 90 minutes
Catan: Traders and Barbarians is an expansion to the original game. You will need the base game of Catan to play this expansion.
Traders & Barbarians allow you to explore five new challenging scenarios: The Fisherman of Catan, the Rivers of Catan, the Caravans, Barbarian Attack, and Traders & Barbarians. Combine these novel scenarios to create a new campaign.
This expansion includes several new tiles, more game pieces, victory point card tokens, and more. It also allows you to play a two-player variant, which is ideal for playing with your spouse or your best bud.
This version also uses cards instead of dice. It’s a nice change up, but it does take away some of the surprise element.
The Rivers of Catan introduces gold, which is helpful for gaining resources. Several buyers enjoyed that expansion, in particular. It adds some interesting economic elements to the mix. The Fishermen expansion also gives you more avenues for acquiring resources.
If you can’t find board games close enough to Catan to suit your liking, why not just add a solid expansion and call it a day?
- Five new scenarios
- River introduces gold
- Engaging gameplay
- Has two-player variation
- Requires base game to play
- Pricey for an expansion
Catan 3D: Best Splurge Game Like Catan
Playing time: 60 minutes
Bring Settlers of Catan to life with this Catan 3D version! This is aimed toward collectors who those who just can’t get enough of Catan.
This edition is just like the original Catan (Settlers of Catan) in the mechanics. But this version has highly-detailed 3D tiles based on the hand-sculpted originals by Klaus Teuber, the game’s creator.
All of the terrain is hand-painted with brilliants colors. The player pieces are intricately designed and antiqued for a look that is full of history, character, and fun.
Buyers were super impressed with the look and feel of the pieces. However, they were more critical because of the price. Unlike other games, Catan 3D is more than just a board game. It’s a work of art. The price reflects that, too.
If you love Catan and want a luxurious novelty, then go for it. Otherwise, just get the base game and enjoy it like the rest of us.
- Beautiful game board
- Hand-painted, 3D pieces
- Just like Catan in play
- Collector’s item
- Super expensive
Games Like Catan: Buying Guide & FAQs
What Type of Game is Catan?
Catan, also known as Settlers of Catan, is a strategy board game that is easy to learn and pick up after a few rounds. For many gamers, Catan was the gateway board game that inspired them to pick up the hobby.
Catan is one of the most popular board games on the market for gamers. It’s easy to learn but involves a lot of strategy. The building and trading aspects are highly engaging and interactive, as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, it’s simple. In Catan, players attempt to become the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. Players roll dice to determine which resources the island produces.
Players collect resources (wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone) to build their civilizations and expand territory. They accumulate points by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army, and gathering certain development cards.
The games ends when a player hits 10 victory points during their turn.
Some of the game mechanics included are worker placement, resource management, and tile placement. So what does that mean, exactly?
At its core, Catan is a game of collecting, trading, and building.
Catan is one of the best strategy board games out there. It’s fun to play and has wide-ranging appeal. It’s great for advanced gamers and novices, which is one reason Catan has withstood the test of time.
If you love Catan, you might like to try other board games that are similar in one respect or another.
Which is a Better Gateway Board Game, Catan or Carcassonne?
Nice try! Trick question; they’re both great. Catan has been around longer, so it probably has a stronger following. However, Carcassonne is an excellent game in its own right. If you’re looking to introduce a friend to the gaming hobby, either one is a good choice.
Is Pandemic or Catan Better?
It really depends on your preferences. The most obvious difference is the competition. Catan is competitive, whereas Pandemic is cooperative. They’re both loads of fun and two of my personal favorites.
Board Games Like Catan: Wrap-Up
If you’re looking for comparable games to Catan, you can’t go wrong with Ticket to Ride. It’s fun to play, easy to learn, and a great introduction to more strategic games. Simply put, it’s one of the best board games like Catan.