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Subject: Game recomendation to play with few friends who love Settlers of Catan rss

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Grzegorz Czebreszuk
Poland
Warszawa
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Hi

I have few friends who do not play board games in general, but they fell in love in Settlers of Cattan when I introduced it to them.
Unfortunatelly, It's getting little boring for me to play Catan 10 times a week, so I would like to present them with something new they would like as well.

And here I need advice.

What I expect game to have :
1) Common game board, with as much info about player status on it as possible.
2) Preferably with area control, resource gathering and/or production.
3) Desirable "positive" player interaction like free trading, negotiations etc.
4) Little negative interaction - something to delay player development, but not eliminate them or push them back (too much).
5) Randomized game board (can be modular), some additional randomnes in form of cards and/or dice.

6) Not another Settlers of Catan expansion :)


Min 4 players, with game time about 30-45 mins max per player.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 
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Chris Mullins
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Check out Lords of Vegas. You're basically a developer making Casinos and parking lots etc. They did a Tabletop show on it:

http://youtu.be/bMdVs3eo7nk
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William Cody
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You didn't mention no cooperative games, maybe you should try out pandemic. Or if you are looking for a competitive game I think takenoko is a good one (not really a lot of player interaction but has a lot of the things you mentioned.)
 
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Ad Astra
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Eric Nolan
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Kingdom Builder has a lot of similarities (houses, terrain types) while being a totally different game. It does not have any negotiation or trading. Negative interactions are less than in SoC since all you can really do it block someones access to something they need by building in their way. This is quite like SoC if you take the Robber out of the game.

A lot of people seem to think it is too random but you can mitigate the randomness by clever play. In this I think it's quite similar to SoC as well.
 
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Steven Backues
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Ann Arbor
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I would consider Santiago. It is similar to Settlers in terms of length and complexity and the balance between strategic analysis and social interaction. Plays best with 4-5. I consider it to fill about the same niche in my game collection.

One caveat is that the interactions tend to be more negative than in Settlers. There are opportunities to cooperate, but also plenty of opportunities to hinder another player. There is no player elimination or anything, but at the same time, you generally need to be able to navigate the political dimensions in order to win.

Also, it's not really an economic development game the way that Settlers is, although it does have a farming theme and money management is important. It's an auction and tile placement game, with some politics.

It does have:
- A common game board, with fully open information about player status
- Some positional aspects: the game board matters. It's not exactly area control, but somewhat along those lines.
- It's a tile placement game, and tile draw is randomized, so I would say there is plenty of variability

A second recommendation, if they might be up for something a bit longer, is Power Grid. It's not too hard to learn (fairly intuitive); I think of it as sort of a stepped-up, more economic and less political Santiago. It doesn't have any "positive" interaction, but neither are the "negative" interactions particularly painful. It does have a central board, which you build a distribution network on, and mostly open information on player status. It has less randomness than Settlers and Santiago (and no modular board, but multiple expansion maps), but I think there is still enough.

And of course a third that I should throw out there, although it's not my personal favorite, is Carcassonne, a classic "gateway" tile laying game.
 
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Austin
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You may be limiting yourself too much too what Settlers of Catan is. There are plenty of games that have several of those features, but not all, while introducing new things.

Carcassonne has area control and mostly positive interaction (except in 2 player where it can be very vicious), everything is public knowledge. Randomized elements are order of tiles drawn. No resource collection or trading, different mechanic is tile laying.

Agricola has resource collection, lots of public knowledge, randomized elements in the form of card draws and order that actions come available. No trading, no direct negative or positive interaction, though it is far from solitaire. Different mechanic is worker placement.

San Juan is a game with lots of public knowledge, production, no trading or negative interaction, randomized card draws. Different mechanic is role selection. Short play time (though I only want to play with 4 players).
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Grzegorz Czebreszuk
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Warszawa
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Yes, I didn't mentioned cooperative games, because I don't play them : there is really no reason for me to board game there is no competition between players.

Kingdom Builder does not sound fun - without robber or trading it seems
ther is not much of interaction at all.

Carcassone : this game is ok, I often play it on my smartphone on my way to work, but it is really just area control - like Settlers but without resource gathering, trade and exploration (I forgot to mention we most often play Seafahrers scenarios with hidden lands).

All typical euro games like Agricola are not for us neither.

What I'm looking for is, perhaps, some ligth 4X game, without heavy focus on military conflicts. I will try Ad Astra as soon as I get a chance to play it, maybe this week.
Other than that, I'm still looking.
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James
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Cosmic Encounter

It is a classic for a reason. Before anyone calls me on it, I am breaking one of your criteria: no negative interaction. The players do have to out-swindle each other essentially. However, the game is so light and the confrontations are determined randomly; it shouldn't get too serious ever (or the group is not playing in the spirit of the game). Terrific, terrific game and chaotic fun for every player I've introduced it to, gamers and non-gamers alike.
 
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Moe45673
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Smarf wrote:
Check out Lords of Vegas. You're basically a developer making Casinos and parking lots etc. They did a Tabletop show on it:

http://youtu.be/bMdVs3eo7nk


This. Does everything you ask except the modular board. I also find it way more fun than Catan. Your problem might be they get too addicted to this one!
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Bill Eldard
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If you can find a copy, try Chinatown. It doesn't have a variable board, but I think it meets your other criteria. It's also very different from Settlers of Catan. It's the best trading game I know of, and the components are outstanding.
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Nick Lazzaro

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Hmm, maybe try Merchant of Venus (second edition). Looks to have most if not all of what you're looking for although I wouldn't draw a direct analog to Catan. Or maybe Suburbia.
 
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Grzegorz Czebreszuk
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Just watched Merchants of Venus review and game looks nice, but I'm affraid It could be too complicated for my friends taste - too many tokens and numbers.

Still it may be good pick for myself, I will try to borrow a copy and check it out.

Cosmic Encounter : played, like it, maybe I'll buy it. But it feels too short and fast to replace Cattan.
 
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Robert
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I was worried about Merchants of Venus as well. I just played a game of the classic version a few days ago. It was surprisingly simple.
There are many chits and tokens, that's true.
Despite being a simpler pick-up-and-deliver type of game it's surprisingly fun to play.
 
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Sascha Klein
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Play oddville, awesome light game , with nice Arts And you have to Build and its about Getting Ressources. My wife Loves the game !
 
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Grzegorz Czebreszuk
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Just played Ad Astra. Didn't like it much.
Everything Ad Astra does Settlers with Seafahrers does as good or better.
Exploration, resources, building and trading are basicaly the same, while
Ad Astra map lacks depth, and it has this programming mechanics I really don't like as it introduces too much luck factor into action order.

I suppose I will search for ociasion to try Kingdom Builder next.
 
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Craig Hallstrom
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The first game that came to mind on this list was:

Troyes

Neat twist on the use of dice. You can use your opponents dice - but the price can be high. Some knocking of opponents but also with some threats that must be met together. Great mechanism for mitigating the luck of die rolls.
A great game - though if you play Catan 5-6 players Troyes only goes to 4 (and should only really be 3-4).

Chinatown and Suburbia are also great suggestions.
 
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Chad Steward
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While some of the elements you are hoping for are not in this game, I feel like 7 Wonders fills a similar role and is usually a hit with the same players. 7 Wonders I feel like is almost the spiritual successor to Catan, it even has a "Catan Wonder Board"! Besides, if you are tired of Catan, but want to play Catan, why not just play another version of Catan?
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Max
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Fuquay Varina
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Alien Frontiers has 1,2 & 5. As for number 4, its only as bad as you the players make it, so if you're group isn't terribly mean, you won't have a problem and as I re-read number 4 I notice that you don't say no negative actions, and it would take a lot of concerted effort from all players (while also not caring about their own position in the game) to effectively eliminate a player (there is no actual elimination). There are a few expansions for it as well, which some people swear by (Factions), but my group personally doesn't care for it. If I've peaked your interest, check out my review for more info!
 
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Dan
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Titles I'd recommend you check out for this situation, based on my own experience with blending gamers and non-gamers:

Village
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Small World
Santiago

Each has some of what you describe and will definitely give you some nice variety without delving into anything too heavy or complicated.
 
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Daniel Zhou
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Cyclades. It doesn't have modular board, but each time you get different cards to add randomness. It meets all your other criteria.
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Nick Lazzaro

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Just realized that it may be confusing... If you do decide to try it, the second edition of Merchant of Venus (second edition) comes with two games in one (one on each side of the board). The "Classic Game" within the second edition would probably be the one based on the qualifiers that would be my recommendation.
 
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Steve Mccabe
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you say you want something other than catan, but then your seemingly strict requirements on what your looking for pretty much limit you to catan.

try Lords of Waterdeep. it's another great game for people still kinda new to the hobby. it introduces a new mechanic that settlers doesnt have called worker placement, which is a common one across modern board games.

it has little negative interaction. really the only negative thing you can do is take a space someone else wanted (which they can get the next round), or give them a "speed bump". not big setbacks.

it has a common board that everyone plays on where you gather... "resources" lets say.

it does not allow trading, but there are times when a move you make helps out someone else as well.

the board is not random except for the 3 buildings you can buy. you do get random quest cards and intrigue cards though. no dice at all.

give it a try, it may not be exactly what you're looking for, but i'm pretty sure your friends will like it. most people coming from "catan only" world do.
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Lane Taylor
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If the trading is what they like about Catan, I would highly recommend Bohnanza. It's not quite short enough to be considered a filler game, but it's great fun with constant wheeling and dealing, sometimes even begging people to let you give them something for free! cool

 
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Paul Ang
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Stone Age has resource management and all information is open on a common board. There is no "positive" interaction, and only a little "negative" interaction.

Ginkgopolis has resource gathering and a modular common play area.
 
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