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Designers games for the Utah market

When BYU graduates Matt Molen and Jeremy Young were introduced to the board game Settlers of Catan, they saw more than a good time; they saw a business opportunity.

The pair founded two companies, Uberplay Games and Inspiration Games, in Issaquah, Wash., and devoted their products to so-called designer games, often adapted from popular European titles. The Inspiration Game segment of the company markets specifically to members of the LDS Church and sells an adaptation of Settlers of Catan — called Settlers of Zarahemla.

Molen said the company targeted Utah because of its high number of board-game players. "We market there specifically, for that reason, and we did that by picking out a game that reflected the culture of a large percentage of the population there," he said.

All of Inspiration/Uberplay's games involve some strategy as well as some luck. They have a bit of a learning curve to begin with. But once players catch on, the games move quickly. And due to differences in setup, they are different each time, which adds to the interest.


Players: 2-4

Ages: 10 and up

Time: 60-90 minutes

Patterned after the best-selling German game Settlers of Catan, this board game involves trading, settling and expansion. Players gather resources that allow them to build civilizations, roads and temples around a grid comprised of colored hexagons. They also have to beware of the Gadianton Robbers, who will occupy their lands and steal essential resources.


Players: 2-5

Ages: 8 and up

Time: 30-45 minutes

Based on the Carcassonne, the 2001 game of the year, this tile-laying game allows players to develop the Promised Land by herding sheep and building roads, cities and temples. Extra points can be earned for taking along the Ark of the Covenant. Watch out for the wolves.


Players: 3-4

Ages: 12 and up

Time: 60-90 minutes

A new design, and named Games Magazine's game of the year for 2003, New England allows players to build shelters, raise animals and grow crops through clever bidding, buying resource and development cards and laying of tiles. Along the way, they must manage ships, pilgrims and barns to add to their holdings. The winner is the one who achieves the greatest prosperity in New England.


Players: 2-5

Ages: 10 and up

Time: 30 minutes

The one with the most toys wins in this bidding-and-bluffing card game. Players bid to secure the most lavish and luxurious possessions, but they have to beware of the tax man and a gambling habit, which can force them into financial ruin.