Everyone is familiar with the board game Monopoly. I assume that everyone is aware that there are numerous fill-in-the-blank-opolies to appeal to alumni of some universities, residents of come cities and states, and so on. They make great regifts! By which I mean, they’re popular gifts that nobody really wants.

Right-winger Michelle Malkin and left-winger Scott Keyes both apparently love the German board game Settlers of Catan. So apparently, do a lot of people:

Last Christmas, I tore the wrapping paper off a rectangular box, expecting at best I’d see an iPad, at worst a Kindle. Instead, I was staring down at a board game: Settlers of Catan. In an era of Xboxes and Wiis, my gift ranked just above a framed photo of the gift-giver and just below nose hair clippers.

But multiple marathon gaming sessions later, Settlers of Catan stole my heart.

I’m not the only one. Over the past few years, Settlers of Catan has transformed from an activity enjoyed by a small niche of gamers into a mainstream hit. With sales nearing 25 million copies worldwide, Settlers of Catan is becoming the most popular board game since Risk and Monopoly.

After Settlers was first released in 1995, a small but passionate following emerged. It wasn’t until a decade later that the game’s popularity began to blossom. “The start of the tipping point was 2008,” said Bob Carty, a spokesman for Settlers manufacturer Mayfair Games. “Settlers is three to five years away from being a household word.” Last year alone, the game’s sales grew 35 percent. Carty said that the game is mainly played by families, but it’s also popular on college campuses and as a team-bonding activity at companies.

I’ve never played Settlers of Catan before. However, as with Fill-in-the-blank-opoly, there is a Mormon version that I did play once: The Settlers of Zarahemla. Zarahemla being the name of a prominent location in Mormon lore:

Zarahemla was once a great city located somewhere on what is know as the American continent. Probably it was located in or near what is now called Chiapas, Mexico. Zarahemla was the capitol city of a great ancient culture. Actually it was a point of merging of two ancient cultures. It was the home of prophets of God. It was also the home of wise and honorable statesman. It was both a battle ground and holy ground.

Long-time readers of this site will recognize the name. When I started the blog, I scanned my Book of Mormon for the names of the early cities to use for Deseret. If I recall, I found most of them in the part of the book where the cities were being destroyed. But don’t quote me on that. It’s been a while.

Anyhow, unsurprisingly there is a version of Settlers based on the Old Testament, as well.

Incidentally, Mayfair Games (who distributes Settlers) also created DC Heroes, the only dice-rolling RPG I ever played. Since it’s the only one I ever played, I have nothing to compare it to with regard to how good or bad it is. Mayfair lost the rights to DC properties at some points and some no-name company (Pulsar Games) picked it up and ran with it, releasing Blood of Heroes, only to discover that they didn’t actually have the rights to it, either. Which is a shame, because Pulsar actually put a lot of work into creating an elaborate superhero universe with some impressive work (albeit with 6th grade editing). Apparently, DC Comics owns all the copyrights thereto and since they have since released another RPG, they have no reason to even try to negotiate or settle with Pulsar.


Category: Theater

About the Author


9 Responses to Catan, Zarahemla, & Metropolis

  1. Peter says:

    The picture looks like the narrow part of Mexico.

  2. trumwill says:

    My understanding is that’s where they believe the settlements were. Chiapas is in southern Mexico, near the Yucatan.

  3. Abel says:

    The LDS Church takes no official position on where the settlements in the Book of Mormon were located. There’s lots debate where they were with the southern end of Mexico being the most popular. However, there are also those who believe that they were farther north or farther south. Truth is no one knows for sure.

  4. Abel says:

    I should also add that I was given Settlers of Catan as a Christmas gift about 7 years ago. It’s a fun game. Problem for me is finding others to play it with.

  5. web says:

    Apparently, DC Comics owns all the copyrights thereto and since they have since released another RPG, they have no reason to even try to negotiate or settle with Pulsar.

    This is a great argument for the change of copyright to be an “either you are doing something with it, or you give it up” basis requiring constant renewal filings rather than a “copyrighted by default” basis.

  6. trumwill says:

    Web: I completely agree. Abandonware is as valuable a concept for other sorts of intellectual property as it is for software.

  7. Mike Hunt says:

    the only dice-rolling RPG I ever played.

    I am shocked you never played D&D…

  8. Brandon Berg says:

    When I was a kid, I briefly experimented with playing D&D by myself, because I thought it sounded like fun but didn’t have anyone else to play with.

    …My nerd scale goes to eleven.

  9. trumwill says:

    I am shocked you never played D&D…

    I actually find my lack of interest in it a bit puzzling, to be honest. It seems right up my alley in so many ways. My guess is that since I discovered Bard’s Tale first, I got my fill playing that.

    When I was a kid, I briefly experimented with playing D&D by myself, because I thought it sounded like fun but didn’t have anyone else to play with.

    I didn’t start making friends with D&D people until high school. I didn’t even really know what it was, other than a Saturday morning cartoon. Then, when I discovered it, I’d already played BT back and forth.

    I found RPGing to be a little unsatisfying. I was a lackluster player, and as a GM I would get frustrated when people wouldn’t do what I wanted them to. On the other hand, we created a pretty good superhero universe, between us. I may find something to do with some of the characters at some point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.