You have discovered the board game hobby through the amazing Settlers of Catan and now can’t help but ask what now, what are the board games after Catan? The Euro-Strategy title released in 1995 has shown millions of people that board games can be so much more than just Monopoly of Chutes and Ladders.
Now that you have played and love Catan, you are ready to find another title that captures that same love and smooth strategic gameplay. And almost every game here has either won or been nominated for the prestigious Spiel De Jahres award. This is our list of the 10 board games after Catan you should experience.
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#10 | Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars makes the list of board games after Catan because while it is a completely different game, this is your opportunity to jump into a very intense engine-building board game, that was also named board game of the decade. This is what you should choose if you love the intense back to back Catan sessions and want something very big, long and intense to jump into.
You are a corporation working with other corporations to make Mars inhabitable, but not in a co-op game way, you are very much trying to defeat others and be the best. You have six resources you can build up and you have countless options you can take and which path to victory you want to strategize toward. The overall goal is to get the most points. Raise the life conditions (oxygen, water, temp), mine, settle, focus on science, focus on nature, many options. For 1 – 5 players, games take 1.5 – 3 hours.
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#09 | Azul
As far as games on the list off board games after Catan goes, Azul certainly pumps up the head hurting math but if you can get over that, it is the best abstract strategy board game out there right now. This is broad but generally refers to games that are puzzles within puzzles. It is a bit of a stretch but this is just a great 3 or 4 person game that will tell you a lot about what you like in board games.
In Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they’ve placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets. For 2 – 4 players, games last 30 – 45 minutes.
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#08 | Pandemic
Pandemic is a tough one for the list of board games after Catan because you might hate this game. It completely changes everything, you are a team racing against the clock instead of pretty much the complete opposite. The reason this is here is because it is still the gold standard of the light to medium intensity cooperative game genre. Maybe you like Catan because you specifically do not have to go after the other players. This game will help you figure that out.
Several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. You need to stop if before it is too late. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 45 minutes.
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#07 | Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is another gold standard board game on the list of board games after Catan that is someone easy to play but with many roads to victory, impossible to master. In this case, Puerto Rico is the king of the action draft game which combines a lot of Catan with a drafting mechanic. This is where people take turns choosing from a variety of choices that will then affect everyone. This is a great next step forward from Catan if you feel very lost and are not sure where to go next.
In Puerto Rico you are a colonial governor on the island of the same name. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings. You get your own player board with spaces for city buildings, plantations, and resources. Shared between everyone are three ships, a trading house, and a supply of resources and doubloons. For 2 – 5 players, games run 90 – 150 minutes.
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#06 | Stone Age
Stone Age makes the list of board games after Catan because it is in the simple yet robust category but in this case, the game would be your wonderful introduction to the world of worker placement. This is counter to Catan because you are constantly fighting over the same things, but you are still trying to fight to collect and manage resources in order to build your civilization.
Players live in this time as historically accurate as possible. You collect wood, break stone and wash your gold from the river. Important tasks include trading freely, expanding your village and achieve new levels of civilization. With a balance of luck and planning, you compete for food in this pre-historic time. For 2 – 4 players, games run 60 – 90 minutes.
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#05 | 7 Wonders
Over and over again on this list of board games after Catan you are seeing and will see games that have many paths to victory but not too much to manage or weigh you down at one time. This is the secret to a good game because it makes it accessible and satisfying. 7 Wonders certainly checks all those boxes bringing card drafting and civilization game. It is also a great solution to how do you play a strategy game with more than 5 people.
This is one of the best drafting games out there. Over three eras, players pass around cards and take one from a stack turn after turn to take actions that help either build up your empire and resources or help construct your specialized wonder of the world. For 3 – 7 players, games last about 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: 7 Wonders Guide | How To Play 7 Wonders | 7 Wonders Review | Games Like 7 Wonders | Buy 7 Wonders
#04 | Dominion
Dominion makes the list of board games after Catan because it is another relatively simple to learn trailblazer. Dominion invented the deck building genre which is where all players start with pretty much nothing and they need to buy things to add to their deck to eventually draw and do bigger and better things. If you want to discover something new that also falls into that nonconfrontational strategy, this is a good choice.
In Dominion, a new set of 10 action cards each game and the standard treasure/victory cards are available for purchase. Everyone starts with the same basically nothing and has to buy cards and build up a deck to draw more and more powerful cards to get to big victory points. The game ends once any three piles are gone and whoever has the most points in their deck wins. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 30 minutes.
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#03 | Splendor
Splendor is just like the top two titles you are are going to find on this list of board games after Catan. A clear theme is that the game is simple and you do not have many choices to make, but because there are so many possible choices and roads to victory, it is incredibly intense and satisfying. This is one of the easiest engine builders out there to play and very fun.
You are a gem trader in the Renaissance starting with nothing in hopes to build up an amazing empire. You need to acquire different goods and services to do this in the form of cards you buy and in turn give you bonuses. There are five different types of gems and turns are very simple, you either take them or you spend them. Buying cards gives you higher gem counts which will let you buy bigger and better cards. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 20 minutes each.
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#02 | Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride is a great board games after Catan choice because it also captures that thing that makes both games great. It is very simple to learn and play, with your only thing to do is choose 1 of 4 options each round. But there are huge strategic implications with both long term and short term strategies needed to win.
You are a train tycoon with your sites set on building a great rail system across the United States. Players sit around a board of the US, with many empty possible routes connecting cities across the country. Each game everyone has a secret route they need to complete and only you know what you need to do. Each turn you can either take different colored train cards or build routes using them. Complete more goals and build more impressive routes for victory. For 2 – 5 players, games last 30 – 60 minutes.
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#01 | Carcassonne
Carcassonne takes the top spot on the list of games after Catan because it is about the easiest game to learn how to play but has deep strategic implications. This is another euro-strategy game that mostly leaves you to set up your own kingdom as opposed to attacking other players.
This may be one of the easiest games to learn and play which is probably why so many people use it as a gateway game (something you start with to get people into the hobby). The board starts with one tile and turn after turn players draw a tile and lay it somewhere on the map that makes sense. Then you choose whether or not to claim something you just started with you limited workers. For 2 – 5 players. games last about 30 – 45 minutes.