[Avodah] Settling Catan on Shabbos

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Tue May 15 15:45:56 PDT 2018

R' Mordechai Torczyner (CC-ed) gave 3 shiurim (chaburos?) on koseiv and mocheiq
this past march. Including #2, available here
<https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/898034>. He raises an
interesting (to me, at least) question:

Catan, formerly The Settlers of Catan, is a game with a board that changes
with each play. The board is tiled from hexagons (and played on the edges
and corners between them), where each hexagon has a picture on it denoting
a kind of terrain, and by implication the reasources one can get from
that terrain. This honeycomb is then held in place by a hexagonal frame,
which is assembled from 6 pieces, each of which has jigsaw-puzzle-like
edges at the join to hold the whole thing together. See

RMT cited in shiur SSJ 16:23 (source #5 on the resource page attached
to the YUTorah recording). He says you can play a game with letters or
pictures IFF one is placing letters or pieces of letters or pictures or
their pieces next to eachother. But not if they are made qeva or put
in a frame. And only if they do not attach or stick to one another.

So, here is RMT's question... Catan's hexagons do not combine to make
one picture, but they do combine to make one "message" -- a usable game
board. Is assembling a Catan board mutar on Shabbos?

And if not, I wish to add:

What if the game is played on a pillow, making it hard to keep the pieces
interlocked, and the players agree to end the game before Shabbos? If
the assembly is neither made to last nor is there intent for it to last,
would it then be mutar?

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Today is the 45th day, which is
micha at aishdas.org        6 weeks and 3 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org   Tifferes sheb'Malchus: What is the beauty of
Fax: (270) 514-1507               unity (on all levels of relationship)?

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