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Subject: Settlers of Catan Alternative/Successor? rss

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Brett Bond
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Okay so, this is a question I've had for awhile. I enjoy Catan. I've played it a number of times and had fun - it's trading and building, not too complex or long and fairly easy to get into. But I often hear gamers, particularly on the geek, podcasts etc. say that other games have eclipsed it thesedays and I was curious which ones?

I've heard Ad Astra mentioned but it seems to have its own set of pros and cons which take it out of the running imo - too complex, too long for what it is.

I'd love to hear any games that for you have taken the place of Settlers of Catan or games that you think do what it does better. Cheers
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Derry Salewski
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I've taught people Endeavor after Settlers a lot, and it ususally goes over well.

Not sure it really replaces anything about it, but it's seemed to work well as a next step.
 
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Dylan
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Bondy034 wrote:

I've heard Ad Astra mentioned but it seems to have its own set of pros and cons which take it out of the running imo - too complex, too long for what it is.


Hi there! I purchased Ad Astra for very much the same reasons. It has succeeded in some ways and failed in others.

I find that the game does scratch alot of the same itches for me, and I'm really glad it does away with the dice mechanic ( I hated the random results and skipped turns of Catan.) IMO Ad Astra is fun, it's interactive, and it has a good balance between tactics and strategy.
I also like all of the different ways to score points, but that you can't focus on one area too much.

On the downside:

I find it a lot more of a challenge to teach. There are more building types, theres some iconography, and the action queue board seems difficult for non-gamers - it usually takes people a round or two at least to catch on, during which they can get frustrated.

The spatial element is also gone with the way the planets are setup, which was something I enjoyed. The playtime is about the same as Catan too which I wish was a bit shorter.

Overall I really enjoy it, prefer to play it over Catan, but can't break it out with just anyone.

I'm still searching for a Catan killer myself, so let me know if you find one!

I'm in Melbourne too, so if you want to play Ad Astra we could meet at Eurogames @ the royal standard or Cafe games sometime!
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Z. Martin
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Lords of Waterdeep--easy worker placement game.
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David B
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I do not like player trading/negotiation very much so when I look for a game to replace Settlers, I do not want to find a game with that particular mechanic. That said, I do enjoy using dice to generate resources and using those resources to build things. In that regard, Stone Age, to me, is much better and far less frustrating than Settlers. There are very few turns in Stone Age where you don't get something.

Another game I enjoy that uses dice to build is The Castles of Burgundy. I enjoy that one much more than Settlers because there is always something you can do with your dice regardless of the roll.

And finally, if you want a 2 player Catan experience, Rivals for Catan is really good. I actually think it is far superior to regular Settlers
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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pfctsqr wrote:
Another game I enjoy that uses dice to build is The Castles of Burgundy. I enjoy that one much more than Settlers because there is always something you can do with your dice regardless of the roll.
I'm surprised that I don't see people connect Castles of Burgundy with Settlers of Catan more often. They have a similar aesthetic, and both have good (though different) methods of eliminating downtime.
 
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Brett Bond
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Hmm some interesting suggestions, I've a copy of Lords of Waterdeep on the way but I feel like its a totally different beast, Settlers isn't really worker placement, though I understand the suggestion (settlement placement?)

Castles of Burgundy is an interesting one i've thought about though I have one concern though - have you found it substantially heavier and harder to teach than Catan? Not that it would defer me from playing but I guess a lighter style euro is probably one of the key criteria for a Catan replacement/alternative.

Keep up the great suggestions, plenty to think about. Of course its possible the game has yet to be designed... any designers reading at all?
 
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Brett Bond
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Thanks for sharing those thoughts decomp1 - really helpful , i'm intrigued that you found the playtime similar to Catan, cause that's been one of my assumed problems with it based on other reports... hmmm

And indeed, we should meet up and play it some time! I've messaged you.
 
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Josh Morgan
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For my wife 7 Wonders is the replacement. She is definitely a light gamer and doesn't like games with a lot of rules. Though the mechanics are very different they both have a similar feeling of gathering resources (heck many of them are the same: wood, stone, clay) and building things with these resources.

We typically play with 5 players. She likes Settlers and will still play it, but prefers 7 Wonders. The main reasons are:

* The time it takes to play. In an evening we can easily play 3 or 4 games of 7 Wonders so the chance for winning at least once goes up.

* In 7 Wonders you always have resources available on every turn. No frustrating dry spells where an 8 hasn't been rolled in 15 turns.
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Tyler DeLisle
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Bondy034 wrote:
Castles of Burgundy is an interesting one i've thought about though I have one concern though - have you found it substantially heavier and harder to teach than Catan? Not that it would defer me from playing but I guess a lighter style euro is probably one of the key criteria for a Catan replacement/alternative.

Keep up the great suggestions, plenty to think about. Of course its possible the game has yet to be designed... any designers reading at all?


I dunno about Castles of Burgundy as it was described. Feels much different to me. Castles of Burgundy there is no resources collecting, you're just buying what your rolls allow you buy that turn. As such, it doesn't feel that rewarding to me, you're just trying to setup for some pretty obvious combo's. i.e. When I play this building it lets me place another building for free, and that building lets me grab another building afterwards.

I feel like it's a relatively simple game, but it's a bit cumbersome to teach. First you have to get over the dice-as-workers hump, which sound simple if you've been exposed to gaming, but new players struggle to grasp that concept. Then you have to constantly remind people what every building does, and have to keep referring to the rule book.

I also don't agree with the "same aesthetics" remark. Castles of Burgundy looks very dull and uninteresting, a sea of mauve and an imposing amount of tiles. Settlers of Catan looks fun with all it's bright tiles and resource components.

I'm still catching up on board games, but I haven't really found a game that feels similar to Settlers, and is as accessible, but with a better design. I'm sure there it's out there though. You're really just looking for a light-weight Euro with territories and resources.

There are a lot of different Settler's takes as well, if you want something similar with added dynamics, Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails is one I'm interested in trying. Or just get some of the expansions for the base game. These are short term solutions at least.
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Matt Brown
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fortyfive wrote:
For my wife 7 Wonders is the replacement. She is definitely a light gamer and doesn't like games with a lot of rules. Though the mechanics are very different they both have a similar feeling of gathering resources (heck many of them are the same: wood, stone, clay) and building things with these resources.

We typically play with 5 players. She likes Settlers and will still play it, but prefers 7 Wonders. The main reasons are:

* The time it takes to play. In an evening we can easily play 3 or 4 games of 7 Wonders so the chance for winning at least once goes up.

* In 7 Wonders you always have resources available on every turn. No frustrating dry spells where an 8 hasn't been rolled in 15 turns.


This. To me 7 Wonders is Catan done right. No randomness of the robber. Card draft makes it feel there is a certain balance in what cards you are getting. You still get the trading aspect going on with your neighbors.
 
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Glenn Martin
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Catan is a light/medium weight game so you may want to look at games that are rated medium. Puerto Rico is certainly a very good one. If you like that sort of economic game there's also Goa, Princes of Florence, Glenn More, St Petersberg, Steam (basic but you'll want to switchup to standard after one game).

Does anyone know if you can peruse games on the Geek by weight rating?
 
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Hardy
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Bondy034 wrote:
I enjoy Catan. I've played it a number of times and had fun - it's trading and building, not too complex or long and fairly easy to get into. But I often hear gamers, particularly on the geek, podcasts etc. say that other games have eclipsed it thesedays and I was curious which ones?


Well, not really.
There's definitely games, which are more balanced, more original, or more versatile in the building/expanding part. Yet those games usually miss the trading part of Catan. So if you like and want that, too, I don't think there's a game which offers all that Catan does, but better.
Mare Nostrum is a bit like Catan and has a nice trading part, but it takes much longer and is more difficult to teach, and only works well with 4 or 5. And it's oop.
7 Wonders is a good game, no doubt, but it also has no real trading part like in Catan.
So this, or other games like Stone Age, Egizia, Power Grid or Thebes are good games you could try, but not a replacement of Settlers, just something different.

P.S: I think you should try Power Grid (2 hours) and 7 Wonders (45 min).
 
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Glenn Martin
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You may also want to look at some of the expansions for Catan.
Seafarers actually restores something that was part of the original game and the demand for wool for ships actually balances demand for that resource. It does extend the length of the game.
Traders and Barbarians is basically a collection of variants for vanilla Catan that should offer a lot to explore.
Knights and cities adds a third development level to settlements a second tier of resources and another threat in the form of raiders that can reduce your cities. It's my favourite variant but it plays to 14 points. Some people have said it feels like a new game and, as such, would make a great 'next game' for you.
The new pirates and Explorers expansion reworks Catan like C&K does with a very involved variant. It's been getting good reviews.
These are all hefty additions, costing about what the original game did. You might prefer trying the cheap $5 scenarios. Frnemies of Catan basically gives you token for certain acts that benefit opposing players. These tokens can be traded for certain advantages which can help you. I think this idea is brilliant as you'll naturally choose to help the player in last place as he's less competition for you. A catch-up mechanism joined with an alternate strategy for getting ahead!
Oil Springs adds oil as an exploitable resource to some tiles. It can really give you a boost at the risk of a growing threat to other resource production and the possibility of everyone losing the game. This sets up a nice dynamic that should make for interesting plays.
Fisherman of Catan adds chevron shaped 'fishing grounds to the edge of the map. They produce 'fish' tokens for neighbouring settlements when their numbers are rolled. These tokens may be traded for various advantages. This is nice because it makes settling on the coast a more productive option. It also makes the production of resources a little faster which should speed the game. This was bundled into the Traders and Barbarians expansion but should still be available in some stores.
The river of Catan adds a special three-tile piece which produces gold chits for settlements along it. These can be traded for victory points.
The Harbourmaster is a card in Traders and Barbarians but it's picture is in the files on Catan on BGG. You get an extra two victory points if you've built three harbours. This works just like the Longest Road/Biggest Army cards. This makes a great alternate strategy. Many games end up with two players in particular vying for longest road and splitting the other two players settlements so they can't compete. This gives them an alternate way of scoring bonus points.
One variant that won't cost a thing is the welfare variant. I don't play without it and I would never consider Seafarers without it.

THE WELFARE VARIANT: Every turn you don't get a resource and the robber hasn't been rolled you get a token unless it's the robber
blocking your production instead of bad luck.
Tokens can't be stolen, traded or halved. On your turn you can trade in a number of tokens equal to the number of victory points you had at the start of that turn (no VP cards, longest road/biggest army count) for one resource of your choice.
The better you do, the less help these tokens give.
This speeds up the game, especially at the beginning,gives you more choices
(you can afford to build to block instead of maximizing production) and greatly reduces the effect of luck.
 
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Moe45673
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Game that killed Catan for me: Lords of Vegas

Watch this video about it. It's what sold me, and what sold Catan (out of my collection)

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/3309/lords-of-vegas/dice-...

 
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Brett Bond
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Hmm thanks guys, plenty of suggestions to think about.
 
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Garcian Smith
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Ad Astra is a fantastic game. I actually busted it out a week ago and I can't wait to play it again.

It's not terribly difficult once you get going. Instead of rolling two dice, you just reveal cards to generate resources. There are score cards in the game that score things... icons are on the helper card. There then are the trade and build cards and the movement cards.

The biggest thing is that all cards besides build and trade have two options to choose from once you reveal. It's a good game and a good amount of strategy, yet not too complex like other games.
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