Catan is definitely one of those games that can cause all kinds of arguments, and you can definitely find groups of friends that have decided Catan is banned from their friendship group. However did you know that some entire countries have banned Catan? The ban isn’t always permanent, but there are some places where Catan has been banned and you can’t play Catan. Read on to find out more..
Catan has been banned in Iran
The ban on Settlers of Catan in Iran was a part of a larger campaign against Western culture and “harmful” influences on the Iranian society. In 2010, Iran’s National Foundation for Computer Games announced that the game had been banned due to its promotion of Zionism, which the Iranian government views as an enemy of the state. The Iranian officials accused the game of attempting to spread the ideology of the Zionist regime in Iran, and promoting a “destructive” cultural invasion from the West.
While Catan is not an explicitly political game and does not have any references to Zionism or Israel, the Iranian officials criticized the game for its themes of settlement and expansion, which they claimed were similar to the Zionist movement in Palestine. The officials also claimed that the game promoted a materialistic and capitalist lifestyle, which they saw as antithetical to Iranian values and Islamic principles.
The government has also banned other forms of entertainment such as satellite television, Western music, and some social media websites.
Catan has been banned in Saudi Arabia
In 2016, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, issued a religious edict (fatwa) against Settlers of Catan, claiming that it promotes gambling and is un-Islamic. The fatwa stated that the game involves dice-rolling, which is a form of gambling and therefore prohibited in Islam. The Grand Mufti also criticized the game’s theme of building settlements and trading resources, which he saw as promoting capitalism and materialism.
The fatwa was not legally binding, but it did have a significant impact on the public perception of the game in Saudi Arabia. Many retailers removed the game from their shelves, and some players expressed concern about the potential consequences of playing the game, including the possibility of being accused of gambling. The fatwa was also part of a broader campaign against Western cultural influences in Saudi Arabia, which have been seen as a threat to the conservative Islamic values of the country.
Despite the fatwa, Settlers of Catan has remained popular among some players in Saudi Arabia, who continue to play the game in private or online. However, the game’s availability and popularity in the country have been significantly restricted by the government’s stance, and many players have had to resort to alternative means to acquire the game.
Catan has been banned in Malaysia
In 2012, the Malaysian government banned Settlers of Catan, citing its “negative elements” and the potential harm it could cause to the country’s youth. The Malaysian government viewed the game as promoting values that were contrary to the country’s cultural and religious beliefs, and that could lead to negative effects on the youth’s mental and moral development.
The decision to ban the game was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which had the authority to regulate and prohibit activities deemed harmful to the country’s security, public order, or morality. The ministry stated that the game could lead to addiction, promote materialism, and encourage a competitive and individualistic mindset that was detrimental to the Malaysian society.
The ban sparked controversy and criticism from many Malaysians who saw it as an overreaction and an infringement on their freedom to choose what games to play. Some critics also pointed out that the ban was inconsistent with the government’s policy of promoting Malaysia as a center for creative industries and game development. In response to the criticism, the government later clarified that the ban was not a blanket ban on all board games, but only on Settlers of Catan and a few other games that were seen as problematic.
Despite the ban, Settlers of Catan remained popular among some Malaysians, who continued to play the game in private or online. The ban was eventually lifted in 2014, following a review by the government’s censorship board, which concluded that the game did not pose a threat to the country’s security or morality.
Catan has been banned in Belarus
In 2014, the Belarusian government banned Settlers of Catan, citing concerns that the game contained “elements of the ideology of neo-Nazism.” The government’s decision was based on a review by the country’s State Committee for Standardization, which had concluded that the game’s themes of territorial expansion and settlement-building were similar to the ideology of Nazism, which was outlawed in Belarus.
The government’s decision sparked controversy among Belarusian gamers and civil society groups, who criticized it as an overreaction and an infringement on freedom of expression. Some critics also argued that the government’s decision was based on a flawed interpretation of the game’s themes and that the ban was unjustified.
Despite the ban, some Belarusian gamers continued to play Settlers of Catan in private or online. The game’s availability in Belarus, however, was severely restricted, and retailers and importers faced fines and legal action if they sold or distributed the game.
The ban on Settlers of Catan was part of a larger campaign by the Belarusian government against the perceived threat of Western cultural influences and values. The government has also banned other forms of entertainment, including some video games and films, that it views as promoting values that are contrary to Belarusian traditions and national identity.
Catan has been banned in United Arab Emirates
In 2008, Settlers of Catan was banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), along with several other board games, due to their association with gambling. The UAE government views any game involving dice or chance as gambling, which is strictly prohibited in the country’s Islamic legal system. The ban was part of a wider crackdown on illegal gambling activities in the UAE.
The ban on Settlers of Catan was lifted in 2010, after the government’s review found that the game did not involve real money or encourage gambling behavior. However, the game remains relatively unpopular in the UAE, partly due to the lingering perception that it is associated with gambling.
The UAE’s strict stance on gambling has limited the popularity of board games in general in the country. Many traditional board games involve elements of chance, such as backgammon, which is a popular game in the Middle East but has been subject to restrictions in the UAE. As a result, many board game enthusiasts in the UAE have turned to online platforms to play games with players from other countries.
Despite the challenges, there is a growing interest in board games and tabletop gaming in the UAE, particularly among expatriate communities. Some specialty stores and cafes have opened in recent years, catering to board game enthusiasts, and there are also regular gaming events and meetups organized by local communities.