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The bizarre Jewish version of The Settlers of Catan: 'The Settlers of Canaan'

Pray before playing

The bizarre Jewish version of The Settlers of Catan: 'The Settlers of Canaan'
Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

If you’ve ever tried a board game outside of the classics Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, there’s a good chance it was Settlers of Catan, already a modern classic that has been on the shelves of 32 million homes since 1995. That’s saying something. Around the resources (wood, wool, wheat, clay and ore) unfolds one of the most popular games in history that has had a handful of frankly impossible versions.

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Alcatel settlers

Perhaps the first thing that catches our attention is the licensed versions: Catán is a game so easy to launch with any theme that from Alcatel (‘Communications of Catán’) to ‘Star Trek‘ or ‘Game of Thrones’ have had their own games. It has even had a novel and several videogames. But its most curious version is one that was made exclusively for Hebrew gamers: ‘The Settlers of Canaan’.

So a priori it seems almost a joke of ‘Family Guy’, but the truth is that it was published in 2002 in a very serious way by the company Cactus Game Designs, which licensed the game in the United States from Europe. Players will be in control of one of the tribes of Israel and, although at base it is exactly the same (spend resources to expand the land and disarm their opponents) there are details that make it a fascinating game.

For example, the fact that players have to build the “wall of Jerusalem”, in the desert of Canaan, where there can be up to 28 stones: the one who places the most will win the King’s Blessing and will earn two victory points plus the possibility of exchanging any of his resources for double. The cards have also been renamed, and are now called “The Ten Commandments” or “Stairway to Heaven” and change the alchemist for a prophet and the soldier for a priest.

In addition, it has two unique and exclusive cards with obviously Hebrew themes. “Korah’s rebellion” allows a player to take away another player’s priest card and put it in the deck and “Deborah’s song” makes everyone take a resource from the bank, regardless of the turn. In the German version of the game the wall of Jerusalem was removed but 13 hero cards were added that would generate god’s help. A curiosity for the biggest fans: Do you consider yourself a Catan expert? It’s about time to prove it.

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Randy Meeks

Randy Meeks

Editor specializing in pop culture who writes for websites, magazines, books, social networks, scripts, notebooks and napkins if there are no other places to write for you.

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