Massachusetts, USA seems to be a hotbed of gaming innovation, so it’s no surprise that it was in this state that Alison Hansel used a term that would change gaming jargon forever. “Meeple” was first mentioned by Hansel online in November 2000. Short for “my people”, Hansel used the term to describe the anthropomorphic gaming pieces or “followers” used in the Eurogame Carcassonne.  Meeple was an instant hit, and it’s now commonly used to describe any pawn, bit or figure in a game, which might be a bit of a stretch, as it was originally meant to just describe the game bits that represented humans.

What about the Animeeples peoples?

Since 2000, many more Meeple related terms have cropped up – like Animeeples. This term refers to the animal shaped bits in games such as Agricola, a farming Eurogame that comes with over 300 wooden components. Meeples and Animeeples have now been joined by a wide range of other Meepleish terms, such as Cowboyeeples, Veggiemeeples, Foodmeeples, and even Resourceeples!

Meeple purists rule.

Many gamers are very particular when it comes to the quality of their Meeples and game bits, demanding they be constructed of materials such as wood or clay rather than plastic or cardboard. Many are so precious about this, that they won’t buy games unless the components are top quality. Some very creative gamers even opt to pimp their game bits themselves, or buy sets of pimped bits, to personalise their game components with something a little more unique.

Pimp your bits.

If some of you want a tad more realism or pizzazz in your games, why not look into pimping your board game pieces? Carved from wood or polymer clay, like Sculpey – which can be baked in your home oven – your pimped Meeples can be painted, polished then re-integrated back into your original game. Pimped Meeples can give your game a very special stamp of you-ness. There are even tutorials online if you need some tips. A quick search of Google images turns up some great examples so check them out, and if you’ve already created a Meeple, Animeeple or Anytypeofmeeple masterpiece, why not share it with us? I’d love to see them.