This is the Catan vs Pandemic game comparison showdown. Sure they are different games but they are both platinum album level greats. The big difference is that Pandemic is cooperative and Catan is not, but the gameplay is very different as well. Pandemic has you racing against time to stop something while Catan has you investing in time to grow something. We dive deep into both. Learn a little about the games then check out our Catan vs Pandemic notes and final verdict.
ABOUT THE GAMES
About Settlers of Catan (1995): You need to grow your empire. Each game is completely different because all the resource tiles and numbers on them are changed and randomized each game. These control everything. You need to build settlements and cities to gain resources that are going to let you build even more and ultimately lead to victory points for the win. Every turn starts with the roll of two dice and that number corresponds to one of five resource types on the board. If you have a presence on that tile (or tiles) you get that resource.
FOR MORE: Settlers of Catan Page | How To Play Settlers of Catan | Settlers of Catan Review | Games Like Settlers of Catan | Buy Settlers of Catan
About Pandemic (2008): 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 MORE: Games Like Pandemic | Buy Pandemic
CATAN VS PANDEMIC ANALYSIS
Theme: Pandemic is very rich in Theme. You need to stop a virus around the world in countries with unique traits using unique characters with unique abilities. Your race is grounded in an event that pulls you in. Catan has a cool setting, a whole not unlike our own in the medieval period, but since you have so many options and paths the theme does not really encroach too much.
Gameplay: Like you will continue to see in Catan vs Pandemic, there is very little, if anything at all, to compare. Catan gives you all the options in the world, while Pandemic makes you laser focused on what you need to do. Pandemic is more difficult, because it is less forgiving if you do not do something correctly, but they are both in the medium zone.
Mechanics: Pandemic is all about moving around an interconnected world map trying to extinguish a virus as it pops up. The trick is making your limited actions each turn count by working together as a group and using your special ability in the best way you can. There is no luck. Catan is the opposite, this is a resource management and engine building game that is about hedging luck by spreading out resources. Neither is better than the other in Catan vs Pandemic in this regard.
Time Commitment: Both games do a great job of guiding you to a set period of time instead of just having a task that needs to be completed at some point. Both will run around a tight 45 but both get credit for their effective time management to robust gameplay balance.
Player Count: Both are games that you are going to want to play with 3 or 4 players and are equally satisfying there. You can play with 2 in Pandemic but it is not the same.
Cost: These are both on par in terms of components, quality and prestige so it makes sense that they are both around the $40 price point.
Verdict For the Shelf: Catan (60% of the time) and Pandemic (40% of the time). As far as gameplay goes, as well as, iconic cultural and innovation added to board game world, these two are on the same level. Where Catan pulls way ahead is in replayability. Pandemic varies a little each new game but you are still doing the same thing. It will get old far before Catan will. If, however, you like cooperative gameplay at all, Pandemic is a must play.
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