Other Buzz: Meeple Source

I’m not really into accessorizing my games.  There are people out there who will create custom components, intricately paint their miniatures, come up with more logical storage solutions, or things like that.  There’s even a monthly contest at BGG for people to share how they’ve pimped out their games (see the current contest here).  However, I was contacted by Cynthia at MeepleSource.com to see if I could talk a little about their current Kickstarter project, so here goes.

image from MeepleSource Facebook page
image from MeepleSource Facebook page

Meeple Source is a website run by siblings Cynthia and Chris Landon, and provides gaming accessories.  They have a wide range of products, including apparel, cubes, poker chips, money tokens, resource bits, and of course, Meeples.  Lots and lots of meeples.  Since 2011, they have been making character meeples, and that is what their Kickstarter campaign is focused on – they currently have about 30 designs, and they want to add 50 more.  So, first I want to look at some of their products (full disclosure – they did send me some product samples so I could talk about them), and then we’ll take a look at what you can get out of their Kickstarter.

Let’s start with the meeples.  If you are unfamiliar with a meeple, it’s basically an abbreviation for the term “my people”, though I prefer to say that it stands for “miniature people.”  Meeples are playing pieces that tend to be wooden and in particular shapes, such as humans or animals.  It can be used for a wide variety of pieces, but it is most commonly used to refer to the pieces made popular in the game Carcassonne:

image by BGG user wizardless
image by BGG user wizardless

This is the classic design, and is what you’ll see (generally) when people talk about meeples.  MeepleSource decided they looked too boring, and started making some meeples with character:

Meepline

These are just a few of the designs you can find (currently) at Meeple Source.  So along with cowboys, jesters, soldiers, mummies, Cupids, kings, brides, pirates, German girls, princesses, werewolves, and vikings, you can get German boys, green aliens, monkeys, nerds, vampires, Canadian flag meeples, monsters, ninjas, zombies, storm troopers, space explorers (aka Trekkies), astronauts, grooms, secret agents, cavemen, and bomb squad meeples.  A set of each type consists of eight meeples.  Why eight?  Because that’s how many you need to play Carcassonne:

photo 1

The meeples are very well designed, and definitely have a lot of character.  Which I guess is kind of the point.  The meeples also come in different sizes in case you want bigger or smaller bits.  A mega meeple for each set would help with playing Inns and Cathedrals.  Of course, there’s a ton of games out there that use meeples, and any one of them could benefit from having character meeples.  Specifically, I’m thinking of Rampage right now – I know the Essen release came with stickers you could apply on your meeples yourself to give them more character, but wouldn’t it be easier to have someone else do the work for you?

But it’s not just meeples.  Let’s say you’re playing a game, and need a whole bunch of corn:

photo 4

Meeple Source has you covered.  And it’s not just corn.

photo 3

As you can see, they have a ton of different items you can use to substitute for those little wooden cubes in games.  Or, if you’re a designer, you have ready made prototype pieces.  Again, this is only a small selection of what’s available.

Turtle

They also have some polymer clay pieces, and these are really cool.  Not only do they have cows, pigs, sheep, custom tokens for power grid, pirate ships, robbers for Catan, and so on, but they also have this little turtle.  What does the turtle do?  Well, nothing, really.  However, if someone is being really slow in your game, you can subtly pass it to them.  Look at it as a mark of shame.  I know Snow Tails has the Big Paws token that does the same thing, but it’s nice to have something that is not specific to one game.

Meeple Source’s Kickstarter campaign kicked off on this past Tuesday with a $15,000 goal.  The goal of the campaign was to fund 50 new meeples: a farmer, a sailor, a conductor, a rock star, a luchador, a spy, a chef, a clown, a policeman, a scientist, a nun, a grandma, a mermaid, Cthulhu, a centaur, a wizard, a rogue, a fighter, a cleric, a dragon, a minotaur, a fairy, an elf, a dark dwarf, a skeleton, a pharaoh, an archer, a monk, a Roman soldier, a cave lady, a devil, an angel, a surfer, a hula girl, a female warrior, a gangster, a sumo, a geisha, a mariachi, a cheerleader, a frog, and a duck.  That’s only 42.  There are eight more that are being voted on by backers – your choice is between a witch, a ghost, Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, an orc, a swamp monster, a yeti, a cyclops, a gargoyle, a Spartan, a hippie, a punk rocker, a cat, a puppy, a baby, and a DJ.

There are a number of different levels of backing, anywhere from $10 to get one 8-piece set of meeples to $575 for 100 sets.  One extra package they have is a 100-piece set consisting of 25 wizards, rogues, fighters, and clerics – exactly what you would need for Lords of Waterdeep.  Stretch goals that have been announced include female versions of the Waterdeep heroes, zombies, and backer chosen/mystery characters.

People always show up to RPGs with their own dice – wouldn’t it be cool just to have your lucky set of meeples?  Go check out the Kickstarter campaign – it’s almost funded already, and there are some really cool characters coming.  I’d like to thank Meeple Source for providing me with pieces to check out so I could write this article.  Thanks for reading!

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