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5 Board Games Like Settlers of Catan You’re Guaranteed to Love

5 Board Games Like Settlers of Catan You’re Guaranteed to Love

Settlers of Catan is one of the best classic gateway board games. So what’s the allure? What makes this game so much fun? Let’s break down the gameplay elements to help us come up with our list of the best games like Settlers of Catan. In addition to our recommended next game for Catan lovers who are ready for a bigger challenge, our picks cover each individual Catan element below. What makes Catan great?

Variable Games – In games with modular boards, games are set up differently each game. This creates a variable experience and enhances replayability from game to game. Tile placement is another way that game designers create a variable game experience- the game board isn’t fixed and grows as you play! Either way, Catan is different each and every time you play!

Negotiation/ Trading – Games with negotiation / trading create lots of opportunities for fun player engagement. Need a special kind of bean? Ya gotta trade for it with other players!

Network/ Route Building – Roads and networks are super important in Catan. Building trading networks and transportation routes is a lot of fun!

Area Majority / Influence – Claiming territory in Catan can happen through physical conquest or control over an area, including resources.

We’ll stay true to the classic simplicity of Settlers of Catan. Our picks for board games like Settlers of Catan are either easy or medium-difficulty. If you’re looking to significantly step up your difficulty level, we’ve provided a few great advanced board games like Settlers of Catan in our conclusion, below. All of our recommended games are great for folks who are looking for games similar to Settlers of Catan, but are willing to try something different.

Our Top Games like Settlers of Catan

Games like Catan: Carcassonne

Modular Board: Carcassonne

Carcassonne takes the variable playing experience a step further. As Carcassonne is a tile laying game (vs Catan’s modular board), you’ll lay tiles as you play, creating an infinitely different game each time you play.

Games like Catan: Bohnanza

Negotiation/ Trading: Bohnanza

Trading makes Bohnanza a fun game like Settlers of Catan. In Bohnanza, you can’t win without trading, so it is a vital part of your strategy. You’ll need to close clever trading deals to succeed in Bohnanza! This deceptively fun card game is chock-full of negotiation and trading, making for a highly interactive and fun game each time you play!

Games Like Catan: Ticket to Ride

Network / Route Building: Ticket to Ride

In Settlers of Catan, building trading routes and roads that connect your resources is the heart of the game. Similarly, network building is key to succeeding in Ticket to Ride. You’ll try to build the biggest, far-reaching train route. 

Games like Catan: Bunny Kingdom

Area Majority / Influence: Bunny Kingdom

In both Bunny Kingdom and Settlers of Catan, players build to establish territory and requisition resources. Ultimately, this gives you advantages and all-important points to capture the win!

Games Like Catan: Castles of Burgundy

The Next Step – Castles of Burgundy

If you’ve loved playing Settlers of Catan, but you’re ready to take that next step and try something similar with more complexity, Castles of Burgundy is a great pick. You’ll still roll dice, build cities and gain Victory Points, but there are many paths to victory!

Board Games Like Settlers of Catan: Modular Board


Games like Catan: Carcassonne

Build your kingdom using tiles

Players: 2-5 // Game time: 30-45 minutes // Age: 7+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Z-Man Games

In Carcassonne, you are building new amenities in idyllic southern France. Players draw a tile each turn, which can contain a city, grassland, a road and more. Each turn, you have two decisions to make: 1) where to place your tile; and 2) if you want to place a follower on the tile. There are advantages to tile and follower location- so what seems simple might not really be!  

While Carcassonne is straightforward and easy to pick up, there is a good amount of strategic depth. Although some turns can speed by, you’ll come across some difficult decisions that will slow you down and make you really ponder the meaning of life. It’s not unusual to experience analysis paralysis at least once as you figure out your next steps, but that feeling subsides as you gain experience.

Another great aspect of Carcassonne is that you can tailor gameplay to your group. If you love cutthroat competition, you can be ruthless and place tiles that make life difficult for other players. If you prefer a more relaxed gameplay experience, you can take a hands-off approach while everyone does their own thing. You could even choose to work together to build a structure! In the end, the best part of the game is to sit back and admire what you’re created. A completed Carcassonne board is a sight to behold!

Why This is a Game Like Catan

Although Carcassonne is not a modular board game like Settlers of Catan, the game’s tile laying aspect creates a similar effect. With the tile laying mechanism, Carcassonne is even more variable than Catan’s modular board, and features almost endless possibilities. Every game will look different, making this a fun and highly replayable board game, like Settlers of Catan.

Who This Game is For

While it’s a game like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne is a classic gateway game with its own twist. It’s the perfect start to anyone’s journey into board gaming. The game features a simple ruleset, but there’s enough strategic depth to get players of all skill levels at the table together.

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As with Settlers of Catan, there are a ton of expansions for Carcassonne. On one end, the expansions help keep the game fresh and on the table. On the other end, the expansions can add more mean “take that” gameplay and deviate from the game’s refreshing simplicity by adding more rules and complexity.

If you suspect you will love Carcassonne for years to come, then the Carcassonne Big Box is a must-buy. Not to mention how much space you’ll save! You’ll get the base game (which comes with two mini expansions – River II and Abbot expansions), the Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders expansions and six additional mini expansions. 

The Inns & Cathedrals expansion is well worth it, since it adds more strategic layers and allows for a 5th player in your Carcassonne gameplay. The traders and pigs in the Traders & Builders expansion are also fun to play with.

We put together a guide to the best Carcassonne expansions – check that out if you’re interested!

Board Games Like Settlers of Catan: Trading


Games like Catan: Bohnanza

Trade for the best beans in the Wild West

Players: 3-7 // Game time: 45 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

Put on your farmer’s hat and learn all about… Bean farming! **double-take** Yes, you read that right. Don’t let the theme and cartoon-like cover deceive you- Bohnanza (bohn translates to bean in German) is an incredibly fun, well-designed and highly interactive card game for players of all ages. It’s one of the best games like Catan you’ll find because it’s all about trading!

Each player starts the game with a hand of five cards. The twist? You can’t rearrange your cards – you must use them in the order you draw them. Any cards you draw during your turn go to the back of your hand- ooo!

Player turns are simple:

  1. Play one card (bean) from your hand – this card is planted in one of the player’s two bean fields.
  2. You have the option to play a second card from your hand

Simple, right? There are a couple of wrinkles in Bohnanza. Each card / bean has to be planted in either an empty field or a field with the same type of bean. If you have two bean fields already, and you play a different type of bean, you have to rip up one of your bean fields. Yow!

Because you are limited to playing your cards in order, trading is not optional (as in other games). If you want to be a successful bean farmer, you will have to trade with your fellow gamers. 

Bohnanza is centered on trading / negotiation, yet remains elegantly simple- that’s why it’s on our list for games like Catan. It’s easy to learn and teach and well-designed, making this a fun game for kids, casual gamers and experienced gamers alike. Trades happen on basically every turn, keeping everyone engaged and ramping up the fun factor. While there can be some mean moments, games are usually relatively friendly and can even lean towards cooperative-style play, making this a great game to play with young kids.

Why This is a Game Like Catan

If you love negotiating and trading with your fellow Catan players, Bohnanza will be a blast for you. One of the core elements of Bohnanza is the trading / negotiation aspect. This game actually takes it a notch further than Settlers of Catan. In Catan, trading is a helpful but optional feature of the game. In contrast, you can’t succeed as a bean farmer in Bohnanza without trading with your fellow bean farmers. 

Who This Game is For

Bohnanza is for folks who absolutely love trading and negotiation. Trading is the centerpiece of this clever little card game, and makes for lots of fun engagement as you try to excel at bean farming. Bohnanza is a great game to play with players of all ages and abilities.

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There are a few different versions of Bohnanza that are worth noting:

My First Bohnanza: This is an ultra kid-friendly version of the game designed to play with children as young as four.

Bohnanza: the Duel: While the classic Bohnanza is designed for 3-7 players, this version is perfect for two player games. Great for date nights, cozy camping trips and more!

Ladies & Gangsters: This version includes two different versions of Bohnanza. Ladies includes female versions of the beans and plays with 3-5 players. Gangsters is a solo or two player game where you have to pay off the Bean Mafia to be successful.

Board Games Like Settlers of Catan: Network / Route Building

Ticket to Ride

Games Like Catan: Ticket to Ride

Grow your network of train routes

Players: 1-5 // Game time: 30-60 minutes // Age: 8+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Welcome to North America, where you are competing to build the longest continuous train route across the country! There’s a lot of sweat and tears- and track laying! 

In Ticket to Ride, each player collects various train cars from a deck of train cards. The longer your routes are, the more points you earn. You’ll also get bonus points when you complete secret goals in Destination tickets, and if you build the longest route, you’ll also earn bragging rights!

Ticket to Ride is beautiful. The game board is enormous, and paired with the colorful train cars, is truly a work of art.

The rules are stunningly simple, making this one of the most accessible games like Settlers of Catan you’ll find. Each turn you can take one of three actions:

  1. Draw more cards
  2. Claim a route
  3. Get additional Destination Tickets

Don’t underestimate Ticket to Ride, though! You’ll experience a number of interesting decisions throughout this quick moving game. Do you go ahead and draw more train cards, or should you claim a route before your fellow train operators stake their claim? The game plays well with a variety of approaches. If you have a cutthroat group of competitors, you’ll have a blast blocking and making life difficult for each other. If you’re less fond of conflict, your group can take a more laid-back approach and just let everyone do their own thing.

To learn more about Ticket to Ride, check out our write-up of Ticket to Ride: Europe in our awesome top picks for the 20 Best 5 Player Board Games

Why This is Like Catan

In Settlers of Catan, building roads to connect resources to your settlements is crucial to your success as a settler. Similarly, route building is the centerpiece of Ticket to Ride. The bigger the route, the more successful you are!

Who This Game is For

Ticket to Ride is a fantastic pick for people who enjoy network and route building in board games. Route building is the premise of Ticket to Ride. The tactile feeling and satisfaction you get from building and completing routes is fun. This, coupled with the fact that it’s simple yet strategic enough to play with people of a range of ages and abilities, is the primary reason this is one of the classic board games like Catan.

Buy Ticket to Ride on Amazon

The classic Ticket to Ride board game is the best version to use to introduce casual gamers to. However, there are a LOT of standalone versions that you can’t go wrong with. Ticket to Ride: First Journey is great for the little board gamers in your life. We love Ticket to Ride: Europe for its added layer of complexity and its versatility – like the classic, it works as a two player game all the way up to a five player game. Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries plays with 2-3 players and is our favorite for a smaller player count.

Expansions like Ticket to Ride: Nederland, Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom and Ticket to Ride: Japan & Italy are a great way to mix it up with new maps and gameplay elements.

If you love Ticket to Ride, we encourage you to check out 5 Games Like Ticket to Ride – our top picks for games that feature certain elements you’ll find in the game!

Board Games Like Settlers of Catan: Area Majority / Influence

Bunny Kingdom

Games like Catan: Bunny Kingdom

Hop, skip and jump your way through your bunny kingdom

Players: 2-4 // Game time: 40-60 minutes // Age: 10+ // Difficulty: Easy

Publisher: IELLO

Welcome to Bunny Kingdom! Your goal? To bring honor to your clan of absolutely adorable bunnies by earning the most points. You’ll earn valuable points when you build cities and optimize resources. The bunny clan with the most points at the end of four rounds emerges victorious. May the best bunny win!

In Bunny Kingdom, the game board consists of 100 territories, all arranged in a grid. You’ll claim land via territory cards (and placing cute bunny miniatures), construct buildings via building cards, gain secret missions via parchment cards and draw and play a couple of cards from the deck via provisions cards.

Drafting is what makes the furry engine run in Bunny Kingdom. This is not surprising, given that Bunny Kingdom was designed by Richard Garfield, who created the iconic Magic the Gathering card game series. In most drafting games, you draw one card. However, in Bunny Kingdom, you draw two, giving you a plethora of options. This creates interesting decisions and gives players the ability to make short-term or long-term planning decisions. 

Just a note – if you play this game with 2 players, this variant is less competitive (read: ‘take that’) and works more smoothly than the official 2 player variant in the rulebook. Another note – one of the game’s biggest issues when the first edition came out was the extra small board, there’s no question that it was way too small. Furry news! They’ve fixed that for newer editions of Bunny Kingdom, but this is part of the reason why this great game is under the radar.

Why This is a Game Like Catan

It’s one of the best games like Settlers of Catan because Bunny Kingdom is an area control and resource management game. You’ll build cities and manage a variety of resources on your quest to earn the most points. You even earn points for some similar resources (e.g. fish and wood), though carrots are unsurprisingly absent from Catan. While Settlers of Catan is a minimalist game in terms of points (only certain conditions get you valuable points towards the winning goal of 10 victory points), Bunny Kingdom is not. In Bunny Kingdom, you’ll earn points as you go, resulting in point tallies that can go over 200 by the end of the game. Phew! That’ll buy you a whole cart of carrots! 

Who This Game is For

Fans of a good card drafting game will find Bunny Kingdom fun. Anyone who loves a great theme and loves the idea of an adorable bunny theme will enjoy Bunny Kingdom! As an added bonus, the game isn’t just cute. Bunny Kingdom is easy to pick up but features enough strategic depth via card drafting and territory control to make this fun for all sorts of gamers, from kids to casual gamers to more experienced (read: crunchy) board gamers. 

Hop to it!

Buy Bunny Kingdom on Amazon

Bunny Kingdom in the Sky adds pieces that allows Bunny Kingdom to play up to 5 players. The expansion also comes with new cities, more towers, a new game board, and new mechanics to add more variety to this land of furry paws.

Board Games Like Settlers of Catan: The Next Step

Castles of Burgundy

Games Like Catan: Castles of Burgundy

Manage your resources well and you'll flourish

Players: 2-4 // Game time: // Age: 12+ // Difficulty: Advanced

Publisher: Ravensburger

You are an aristocrat of a small princedom. But is that enough in The Castles of Burgundy? As in Catan, absolutely not. 

As you go trotting throughout the lands in your fancy schmancy carriage, you’ll roll dice and lay tiles to strategically build settlements and castles, and trade or obtain valuable resources. The life of an aristocrat isn’t as idyllic as you would think!  

One of the best board games like Catan, The Castles of Burgundy is fairly straightforward. Over five phases, you play five rounds each, selecting certain dice depending on your wants and needs. The dice in The Castles of Burgundy create a unique playing experience that’s a bit different from Catan. The white die, which is rolled by the starting player in any given round, determines where goods are placed onto the board. The two player dice dictates what possible actions players can take, so this game definitely relies on dice to move forward.

The complexity in The Castles of Burgundy comes from 1) the different mechanics in various buildings and other tiles; and 2) in keeping track of the score throughout the game. 

And lemme tell ya… There are so many different ways you can score! It can feel overwhelming at first, but as you move through the game, you’ll have more and more elements to keep track of. On the flip side, you have more paths to victory than in Settlers of Catan, which gives Castles of Burgundy players more strategic depth.

Why This is a Game Like Catan

As in Catan, players in The Castles of Burgundy are focused on expanding their territory (as aristocrats do, right?) and will earn Victory Points for various actions. While it’s one of our top picks for games like Settlers of Catan, The Castles of Burgundy goes a step above Catan in complexity. Players have more choices, more things to keep track of and more ways to earn points – the person with the most Victory Points at the end of 5 phases wins!

Who This Game is For

The Castles of Burgundy is our most advanced pick on this list, no question. This game features more layers of complexity than Catan, and is a great step up for folks who love Settlers of Catan but are looking for more to sink their teeth into. And boy, is it delicious! It’s also a great entry to playing more complex “Euro” board games (e.g. Stone Age, Agricola, etc.). Just keep in mind the following:

  1. The Castles of Burgundy can seem overwhelming to casual gamers. If you feel this game is too advanced for you or your gaming partner/ group, The Castles of Tuscany introduces players to the rules in a more user-friendly way and is a great next-step game between Catan and The Castles of Burgundy.  
  2. The Castles of Burgundy doesn’t have the same impressive table presence as Settlers of Catan. This is where the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is accurate!

All in all, if you feel up to the challenge and can look past the vanilla game board and components, there are lots of fun gaming sessions with The Castles of Burgundy in your future!

Buy The Castles of Burgundy on Amazon

The 2019 edition of The Castles of Burgundy comes with eight expansions, so we recommend just going with the base game for now instead of buying expansions right off the bat.

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game switches up the game mechanics, so instead of dice you use card drafting to achieve your goals building and trading. Could it be up your alley? We’ll let you decide!

That’s a Wrap!

Settlers of Catan is a great game that remains popular 20+ years later! The game’s accessibility and fun factor keep it on Kallax game shelves everywhere. 

We broke down this classic game into five key pieces: tile placement, trading, network / route building, area majority / influence and worker placement.

You’ve read our top game recommendations for board games similar to Settlers of Catan that match each key component of the game. However, there are a ton of board games like Catan out there! It’s worth it to take the time to research and figure out which option best fits you and your fellow gamers the best, whether it’s your partner, your family or your board gaming group!

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a few honorable mentions that we also love!

Other Great Light But Strategic Board Games like Settlers of Catan:

7 Wonders is a quick, fun civilization building card game that plays out in just 30 minutes. Like Catan, it’s fairly easy to learn and teach but also has plenty of strategic depth. Get 7 Wonders Duel if you play primarily with 2 players!

In Small World, you’ll rapidly play through time (and various fantasy races and powers) as you struggle to gain control in a bright and colorful fantasy world that’s too small for everyone. Gameplay is simple and intuitive, but there’s a similar level of strategic depth as in Catan.

If you are looking for a light to mid-weight competitive game with strategic depth (not unlike Catan), Lords of Waterdeep is a great option. In this card drafting game, you’ll recruit new adventurers, construct buildings, earn gold or complete quests over eight rounds of double-dealing.

Great Medium “Next Step” Board Games Like Settlers of Catan:

Everdell is another great next step game from Settlers of Catan with more of everything- strategy and cuteness! You’ll hone completely different skills, including card drafting, worker placement and hand management. Although there are more layers, it’s still easy to learn and quick to absorb! 

If you like rolling dice in Settlers of Catan, Roll for the Galaxy comes with a whopping 111 custom dice (representing worker recruits) as you compete to settle worlds and build developments. This game features a little more complexity and snappier turns, as players play simultaneously, so you’ll find yourself moving at a quicker pace.

Five Tribes is easy on the eyes and also has a little more complexity. Every player has a different ability, as you work to “dis-place” workers to your advantage.

Advanced Board Games Like Settlers of Catan:

In Power Grid, players race to create the best power grid as you constantly work to prioritize your resources – do you upgrade your plants or save your wealth to expand your network? As in Settlers of Catan, you’ll work to expand your network. Can you create the best power network?

Gaia Project is another game that tops many game charts. As in Settlers of Catan, resource management and network / route building are key in this game.

Brass Birmingham is an epic game that tops Board Game Geek’s charts. As in Catan, you’ll develop, build and establish your network. The game features significant strategic depth, with specific industries (e.g. beer), types of network (i.e. rail and canal links) and much more.

Photo credit: Thanks, Yoppy! cc

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