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The Settlers of Zarahemla
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Store:  Strategy Games
Series:  Settlers of Catan
Theme:  Religious
Genre:  Trading, Civilization Building
Format:  Board Games

The Settlers of Zarahemla

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-90 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Uberplay Entertainment, Inspiration Games

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Product Description

This is the home of ancient American prophets such as Alma, Mosiah and Samuel the Lamanite.

Zarahemla, the Nephite capital, thrived as its people were righteous, and suffered setbacks to its enemies during times of corruption and moral decay.

It is your job to settle, unite and reinforce the freedoms of the land of Zarahemla.

Do this through savvy trading, establishing a righteous military of Stripling Warriors or by building a Temple for holy worship. But whatever strategy you choose, choose correctly, as your ultimate prosperity depends on your ability to grow this fledgling society more quickly than your opponents.

The Settlers of Zarahemla, based upon The Book of Mormon and created for the Latter-day Saint community, will be an instant hit with your family. Based on The Settlers of Catan which has sold 3 million copies worldwide, this game features social interaction, a bit of strategy and just enough luck to cater to everyone's personalities!

Product Information


  • 1 Fold-Out Game Board
  • 5 Hexagonal Strips:
    • 1 5-Hex Strip
    • 2 4-Hex Strips
    • 2 3-Hex Strips
  • 4 Sets of Playing Pieces in 4 Colors:
    • 20 Settlements
    • 16 Cities
    • 60 Roads
    • 4 Scoring Markers
  • 90 Resource Cards:
    • 18 Wood Cards
    • 18 Brick Cards
    • 18 Water Cards
    • 18 Wheat Cards
    • 18 Stone Cards
  • 40 Temple Stones, 10 in Each Color
  • 29 Development Cards:
    • 14 Stripling Warrior Cards
    • 5 Prophet Victory Point Cards
    • 2 Liahona Cards
    • 2 Bountiful Harvest Cards
    • 2 Round Building Cards
    • 2 Temple Building Cards
    • 2 Prosperity Cards
  • 4 Building Cost Cards
  • 3 Special Point Cards:
    • 1 Longest Road
    • 1 Largest Army
    • 1 Greatest Temple Contributor
  • 18 Number Tokens
  • 1 Robber Piece
  • 1 Rules and Information Booklet
  • 2 Dice

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.9 in 17 reviews

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by miibusybee
Our whole family loved The Settlers of Zarahemla!
July 17, 2014

We all loved playing this game! We lost some pieces and need replacements but they are very hard to find.

by W. Carpmill
Very Fun Game!
November 06, 2007

This is easily on our very top 5 list, of many many games we have. It looks great, but much more important, it is a blast to play. It is an updated version of Settlers, and offers a few extras that we like better. It is more visual, and adds some additional components, which improve the game.

One of the big advantages over the old version is that the tiles lock into place, and the board just plays more easily.

It is a fun game with a great balance of strategy and luck. That is the elusive balance that some games miss, and end up too heavy or without enough thought provoking action.

This is a great game, with so much going for it, and is different every time we play. very good for 3-4 players too.

Addictive game!
December 19, 2006

This one rapidly beat out our other games to become the number one choice, and first in the addiction list. This is a great play, with great strategy, a little hard to master, and some fun luck. The look of this board and cards is better than I remember on the old version of settlers, which I only played 2 or 3 times. This has some additional rules and pieces. But it looks A LOT better and is really fun. This is a must get on my list.

Good game for 2 or for several players
July 16, 2006

This is one of our favorite games. We love the play as it is easy to play a lighgthearted game, or take it more serisouly and to get very competitive. It is nice to have a game that can be player either way. We have played this with serious players as well as very very casual occasional game players, who loved it! This is the better version, and we have this and the plain Settlers. Just get this one as it is a better play. The ancient temple stones add a good aspect and help balance the outcome a bit. The game board is very attractive. Lot of fun. Our other favorites are Acquire, Lost Cities, and Puerto Rico--all good games!

by A Gamer
Lots of Fun.
July 11, 2006

I had heard of this game, but couldn't find it. Finally we found it and bought it. This is a very good game. I had only played the original Settlers of Catan a time or two and it has been a while. But I think this one is better. If you bump this board, which is so easy to do, it doesn't move around, as I remember the older version did. The colors are great on this one. It is certainly a fun game to play, and I am convinced it will become and remain one of our favorites. Take the time to find this version, as it is much better to play and look at than the original. Whoever came up with the original creative idea of Settlers is brilliant. Good things are always simple, but imaginative. This is an exellent game.

One of the best all around games to have!
June 19, 2006

This is a modern classic, already reborn and perfected. This is an even better version of Settlers, which was already a great game. This ads a new dimension, great graphics, and a better board to work with. We love this game, and highly recommend it. It is a great balance of strategy and fun, with just the right amount of luck. I think this is the best game of its type that we have played. Get this one, and you will not be disappointed.

This is a very fun game!
March 10, 2006

We had played the original Settlers at some friends house, and stubmled upon this one, which we like even better. Even if everything else were exactly the same, the fact that the board tiles lock into the handy frame piece is worth buying this version over the original. This is much simpler to deal with. I like the additional stones you build, which adds another element. It doesn't change the original play much in this version, but just fine tuned a few little things, so the outcome is a nicer, easier, and better graphic filled game.

this should be the best seller of the future!

Great game!!!
March 02, 2006

i had played settlers at a friends house a few times, so looked for it online. i bought this version, which is even better than the original. now my friend is jealous and wants to trade me games. the board is much better, and the extra nuances improve the game play slightly. i highly recommend this Zarahemla settlers, over the other original version. it is important to note that this is still made by the origianl company and is not a knock off. it is an improved play, and adds to the fun of an already excellent game. a must have!

Best version of Settlers
February 13, 2006
We love to play Settlers, and now have 2 versions: Settlers of Catan, and Settlers of Zarahemla. Now, we always play the Zarahemla version, as it is a better, improved game, even though it is mostly the same. There have been some small things, corrected, and made better on the Zarahemla version. It is made by the same company, but I think this new version will take over the original in popularity with time. The board is much easier to use, since the tiles don't slide around. The new temple stones add a third area to balance the others, and improve scoring. The over all colors, and look are much nicer as well. This was an almost accidental find, and one that we are very happy with. I would highly recommend this new and improved version by the makers of the original. It makes it even more fun to play. Overall, Settlers is a truly enjoyable game, that is fun to play over and over.
by A Gamer
Even better than Settlers of Catan
February 02, 2006
This game took the basic Settlers of Catan, and without changing major areas, made it more creative, added a couple fun things, like building ancient temple stones, and drastically upgraded the graphics. This looks much more intrtiguing, and colorful, with great cards, board, etc. they also fixed the board issue, with a nice way to lay the tiles in place. This has become our favorite game, and we have had other friends and family run out and buy it after playing this with us. If you want to buy Settlers, then get Zarahemla. It is still made by the original Settlers, but just an improved version that is more fun, and looks much better. You will love this one!
Great Game!
March 09, 2004

I got this because I played settlers of neurnberg. That is a great game as well but in German. I enjoy that Zarahemla is challenging as well as dynamic. My kids love the game as well. they are both smaller kids but have caught on well. If they can understand the rules than anyone can play.

Great strategy fun
October 29, 2003

Settlers of Zarahemla is a variant of the popular game Settlers of Catan. I got this game mainly because of its claim that you can play with 2-4 players, not just 3-4 players as in the original Settlers of Catan.

The graphic artwork in the game is high-quality. Game pieces are wood rather than plastic. Other pieces are of quality, thick cardboard stock. The game includes a frame, in which you build the game board. The board is different each time you play, which adds to the game's replay value.

The 28 page rule book explains the rules pretty well, although even more illustrations would have been nice. The manual does contain some repetition and also apparently a couple minor omissions, which is a little annoying. There will apparently be an online tutorial at the publisher's web site, but I could not find it there right now.

For its theme, this Settlers variant uses names and places from the Book of Mormon. This book is believed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the 'Mormons') to be an ancient book of scripture that is a companion to the Bible. However, in this game the Book of Mormon theme is all just 'chrome,' and the game does not deal with Mormon doctrine or much of anything religious. You can play Settlers of Zarahemla without knowing (or learning) anything about the Book of Mormon or the Mormon church. (Zarahemla is a city-state that figures prominently in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that an ancient group was led by God from Jerusalem to the western hemisphere, where they built a civilization and ultimately were destroyed by their pride and their turning away from Christ. An ancient prophet named Mormon compiled some of their writings to create the Book of Mormon.) Besides people, place names, and some cross-references to the Book of Mormon on some cards, the only mention of anything Mormon is a reference in the credits to a web site where you can get a free copy of the Book of Mormon,

The basic game play in Settlers of Zarahemla is similar to Settlers of Catan. Each turn you gain resources randomly, depending on the die roll. Some areas of the board produce more resources than others, so you try to place your pieces strategically for the best odds of gaining resources. You spend resources in order to gain points, by building things like roads and settlements. You can also purchase development cards, which give points or resources or some other advantage. The game encourages you to spend your resources and penalizes hoarding, since whenever 7 is rolled all players with a surplus must discard half of their resources. There is a robber piece that can be used to restrict another player's resources. Many other game elements are also identical to the Catan game. The first person to get 12 points wins the game.

Like Settlers of Catan, Settlers of Zarahemla is very fun to play and has a great replay value. This is due to the many things that keep you involved: strategic planning, player interaction, multiple paths to victory, resource management, a different board each game, a random element to add serendipity, great artwork, etc. The game keeps you involved, even when it's not your turn. There's opportunity for player interaction during every turn, since another way to get resources is by trading. You also have a chance to get resources on every player's turn.

Settlers of Zarahemla differs from the original Catan game in the following ways: Obviously, instead of Catan the game is set in Zarahemla, which as already mentioned is a place in the Book of Mormon. (Although the 'setting' is pretty irrelevant to game play.) The hexagons you use to set up the board are not loose individual hexes but are joined together. There is one 5-hex strip, which goes down first when setting up the board. Then you place two 4-hex strips, then two 3-hex strips. This makes the board setup less completely random than in Catan. But one assumes the designers did it this way to reduce 'weak' board setups. After the hex strips are down, you place number counters (for die rolls) on the hexes -- this part will be completely different each time you play.

In keeping with the theme, most game elements have names from the Book of Mormon. Settlers of Zarahemla has a Gadianton Robber, which in the Catan version is simply called the Robber. Likewise, there are Stripling Warrior cards (the Catan 'Knight'), Bountiful Harvest cards (Catan 'Discovery'), and Prosperity cards (Catan 'Monopoly'). Other victory point cards carry names of Book of Mormon prophets such as Mosiah, Alma, King Benjamin, and Samuel the Lamanite. In addition to the Longest Road and Largest Army bonuses, a bonus goes to the player who contributes the most to construct the Zarahemla temple.

Some resources are named differently from the original Catan game. There is Stone, Water, and Brick instead of Catan's Ore, Clay, and Sheep. Purchase costs are as follows:

Road: 1 Brick, 1 Wood

Settlement: 1 Brick, 1 Wood, 1 Water, 1 Wheat

City: 3 Stone, 2 Wheat

Temple building block: 1 Brick, 1 Stone

Development Card: 1 Stone, 1 Water, 1 Wheat

Regarding this game being playable by 2 players: The rules do give special instructions for a 2 player game: When you start the game, both players get 3 roads and 3 settlements, instead of the usual 2 of each. Also, for the number of settlements when setting up the game, the first player places 1, the second player places 2, the first player places 2, then the second player places 1. We played the 2 player version, and it works well. Although I think the game is even better with more than 2 players. (The box mistakenly indicates the game is for 3-4 players, even though the rule book describes 2-4 players.)

So why buy this game, rather than Setters of Catan? Well, it does offer an interesting variation on the Catan games, including the additional temple-building victory points. And based on what I have heard, the game components in Settlers of Zarahemla are much higher quality than the English-language Settlers of Catan produced by Mayfair Games. It's true that the Catan game offers expansions, and this game presumably will not any time soon. But I have enjoyed playing this game a lot. My wife likes that it's not a 'fighting' game, although you can 'hurt' other players somewhat with the robber (this is a competitive, not a cooperative, game). Whenever we finish a game, we always want to immediately start a new one. Because of its chrome, this game is obviously directed to the Mormon market, but I recommend this game to anyone who likes strategy games. Whether or not you have played the original Settlers of Catan, Settlers of Zarahemla is a fun game.

by Alan
Great Fun
October 07, 2003

We saw this version of Settlers of Catan and had to buy it. It turns out we made a good decision. The game is very enjoyable 'light' strategy that the family can play together (younger than 10 might have problems). So far I've only played with four players, so I'm not sure how it would be with only two. The playing time is closer to three hours for four players, but the game moves along pretty quickly and doesnt drag.

Build and defend a mighty Mayan empire!
October 07, 2003

When the FedEx package arrived in the mail, I could hardly wait to open it! The children anxiously tore off the plastic shrink wrap and were pleased to see the beautiful game inside. Settlers of Zarahemla includes a gorgeous board that you set up for a unique experience each time you play. The hex tiles are cleverly attached together in strips so they're never lost, but can can be reversed and swapped to give you many unique game boards. It all sits neatly in a frame which firmly holds the pieces in place. If you've ever played 'Settlers of Catan', you'll really like this improved layout!

We opened the instruction booklet and began laying out the tiles and cards. Within a few minutes we were selecting locations for our settlements and roads. Choosing prime locations at the start of the game is very important because you'll gather resources and expand your empire from your chosen map positions. Since there are many ways to obtain victory points, we each came up with different strategies to win. My wife and her sister led with the high score most of the game, but the tide turned quickly as my strategy came to fruition. The game allows you to trade with other players and exchange resources at the market. This becomes a key aspect of a winning strategy since the Gadianton robbers will occasionally confiscate some of your needed resources. Using a timely trade, I was able to link two roads and acquire the points for Longest Road. In the same turn I bought enough temple stones to combine with my investment card and complete the temple!

Settlers of Zarahemla is fun for beginners and experts alike. You may learn the rules in a few minutes, but you'll have to use a new strategy every time you play!

Great Sunday Afternoon Family Activity!
November 27, 2006

We happened upon this game shortly after being introduced to the original Settlers of Catan. It has been every bit as much fun. I found it in a Mormon bookstore, which was a pleasant surprise. I usually have to go online to find decent board games because most stores don't realize that Americans are smart enough to play good board games.

My only regret with this game is that you can't expand the game to include more than four players. If we want to introduce a cousin or a friend to the game, we end up having to play in pairs.

We play this with our sons who are 7 and 9 years old. They love it. We limit certain activities (like TV and video games) on Sundays, so this has become a favorite alternate activity. They actually have to think a little bit, which is good for them! And it's a great opportunity for all four of us to interact and do something we enjoy - for free!

We already enjoyed some of the children's games like For Sale and Blokus - but it's been nice to graduate to more of a strategic game. My 7-year-old still struggles a little bit to stay interested all the way through, but my 9-year-old is all over this game. We play a pretty benign game - trying to avoid cutting each other off and making other players mad. But when we play with other adults, we step it up and get more competitive. Overall, it was definitely worth what we paid for it.

Settlers of Zarahemla: A Mormon touch to a classic game.
February 22, 2006

Released by: Inspiration Games
Designed by: Klaus Teuber
3 - 4 Players, 1 1/2 hours
Review by: Greg J. Schloesser

As the name suggests, the game is based on the 1995 Spiel des Jahre, Settlers of Catan. Like Ark of the Covenants' relationship to Carcassonne, this version of Settlers bears much in common with its ancestor.

This new version uses a theme that is tied to the Mormon religion. I am sorry to admit that I know very little about their faith and beliefs, so I really cannot comment on how accurate the game reflects their beliefs or invokes the "feel" of their faith. I do understand that Zarahemla is the fabled city of the Mormons and was supposedly located somewhere in South America. The development cards are the primary items that make an attempt to inject Mormon lore into the game system. The only other aspect is the building of the temple, which is actually a feature lifted directly from the Settlers Cheops Historical Scenarios edition. Other than these few features, the game is essentially identical to the original Settlers.

As opposed to having individual hex tiles depicting the various terrains, Zarahemla uses a board with a large cut-out in the center. This cut-out holds the terrain tiles, which are not separate, but attached in five separate strips. These strips are double-sided, so it is possible to construct several different board configurations. The remainder of the board depicts the temple and spaces upon which the resource and development cards are placed.

The actual artwork on the board is quite attractive and evokes a "brooding jungle" atmosphere. I had the pleasure of meeting the artist, Alvin Madden, at last year's Gathering of Friends. He is quite talented and it shows here.

Game play follows the familiar Settlers pattern. On a turn, a player performs the following actions:

  1. Play one Development Card (optional). Development cards are purchased with resources and can either allow a player to perform special actions or grant victory points. Normally, a player may only play one Development Card per turn. Victory point cards, however, are the exception and can be played in multiples. However, they should be concealed and only be revealed at the end of the game to claim the victory.
  2. Roll for resource production. Two dice are rolled and the tiles matching the result produce resources for players possessing settlements or cities bordering that tile. Resources are the same here as in the original.
  3. Trade, build and purchase cards in any order (optional). This works in a fashion similar to the Settlers of Catan expansion. Players can trade and/or purchase cards and build in any order. This does give players a bit more flexibility than regular Settlers.

In addition to roads, settlements and cities, players may also use resources to construct the Zarahemla temple. The surrender of one brick and one stone allows the player to add a stone to the temple. The player who has constructed the most stones in the temple, with a minimum of three, receives the Greatest Temple Contributor card, which is worth two victory points. This card can only be lost if an opponent constructs more stones in the temple than the current holder of the card.

The game continues until a player wins by accumulating 12 victory points. The increase over the normal 10 points required in basic Settlers is due to the addition of the temple mechanism and the points that can be earned in its construction. Even with the increase in victory points required, the game still plays to completion in about 1 hours.

Settlers of Zarahemla doesn't really add anything new to the series. However, it really wasn't designed to do that. Rather, the idea was to graft a religious theme onto the game so that it would appeal to those of the Mormon faith. According to Jeremy Young, founder of Inspiration Games, Mormon families tend to play more board games than the average American family. Thus, the idea of introducing them to quality games that possess a faith-based theme should prove popular and successful. I think he is correct, and applaud his efforts at introducing new segments of the population to the wonderful world of board gaming.

Zarahemla takes the cake!
May 11, 2004

My two gaming buddies and I are always looking for excellent three player games, and Settlers of Zarahemla takes the cake! We have enjoyed multiple lead changes in the times we have played, usually with all three players leading at some point in the game. The dynamic that makes this a better three-player game than the original Settlers is the construction of Temple Stones. Whereas in the Settlers of Catan the players vied for the Longest Road or the Largest Army, now they can also compete for building the greatest number of Temple Stones. In most of our games these victory point categories are split evenly amongst the three players, with the winner being the first who can surpass his competitors in one of the other two categories thus giving him enough points to claim victory.

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