If you like Settlers of Catan…try these!

Settlers of Catan…just saying these words sparks strong emotions in the people familiar with it. These can either be very good feelings or very bad feelings. After HUNDREDS of discussions with gamers and non-gamers about this game I have found that either love it or hate, and very few people are in-between.

If you have played Catan, you will recognize these 3 main mechanics that really stand out:

  • Trading
  • Managing resources
  • Route Building

And while yes, a lot of people really like Catan, I think there are games out there that do a better job at these 3 mechanics!

If you like the trading in Catan, you should check out Chinatown!

“This is a negotiation game in the truest sense of the word. In it, players acquire ownership of sections of city blocks then place tiles, representing businesses, onto the block-sections. At the end of each turn, each tile you’ve laid gives you some sort of payout, but completed businesses (formed of three to six connected tiles of the same type) pay quite a bit better. All these resources are dealt to the players randomly, however, so players must trade to get matching businesses and adjacent locations.”

Chinatown is, IMHO, a better trading game than Catan. That may ruffle a few feathers, but only the feathers of people that haven’t played Chinatown. This is the essential trading and negotiation game because you can play it in an hour, you are always encouraged to make trades with other players (which prevents kingmaking), and it’s FUN! Have you ever played a game where you can make 3 way or 4 way trades? In Chinatown you can. And you don’t leave the table hating anyone. Chinatown > Catan 4ever.

3-5 players | 60 minutes | ages 12+

Click HERE to find out where you can play Chinatown for free. 

Check with your friendly local game store to purchase a copy for yourself. 

If you like the managing resources and route building, you should try out Power Grid!

“The objective of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone’s network gains a predetermined size. In this new edition, players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you’re potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power said plants (except for the ‘renewable’ windfarm/ solar plants, which require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.”

What I love about Power Grid is that nothing is left up to chance. This is a strategy game in the truest sense and you may need to pop some ibuprofen after you finish. Power Grid is the next step up for you Catan lovers that need more than what Catan offers. It is more “mathy”, but in the sense of “I have $100 and I need $500. How do I most efficiently use this $100 now to set myself up and keep moving forward on the point track. The addition of the auction mechanic adds more player interaction aside from stealing routes from other players. Try this game out and do not be afraid of it. It’s what Kyle, founder of TLD, calls the “meat and potatoes of a game night” and it’s worth every one of those 120 minutes of game play.

2-6 players | 120 minutes | ages 12+

Click HERE to find out where you can play Power Grid for free. 

Check with your friendly local game store to purchase a copy for yourself.

If you like the resource management, but not the route building, you should try out 7 Wonders!

7 Wonders lasts three ages. In each age, players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with other players in various ways. (Players have individual boards with special powers on which to organize their cards, and the boards are double-sided). Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play from that age. After three ages, the game ends.”

A. Classic. 7 Wonders is a beautiful resource management game for so many reasons. What I love the most about it is how you still have a decent level of player interaction for a resource based, entry level, game. And did you see the game info below? Up to 7 players in 30 minutes. Really, 30 minutes. This is a classic that is great for all levels of gamer and a fairly wide player count. It should be in every home in America.

2-7 players | 30 minutes | ages 10+

Click HERE to find out where you can play 7 Wonders for free. 

Check with your friendly local game store to purchase a copy for yourself.


Did we miss anything? What’s your Catan alternative?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *