Back in my post about packaging your game, we talked a bit about how to show off the fun, unique pieces of your game. Distinct pieces can do lots of things for your game:

  • They can be a selling point in a retail environment (so be sure to show them on the back of your box design!)
  • They are fun, easy-to-understand stretch goals in a Kickstarter.
  • They add to the table presence of your game, ensuring that when it gets pulled off the shelf at a get-together, it’ll be fun and memorable enough to play again.

It’s interesting, then, that in a world where we can 3-D print and injection mold player pieces, we come back to the humble wooden meeple so often.

What is it about meeples that we like so much?

In graphic design, we turn to abstraction to broaden the appeal of a work; we don’t have to worry about limiting our audience when we use the meeple. They’re also a little more practical to produce. And there’s an authenticity to the wooden piece that feels rich and comfortable to us, perhaps bringing us back to the simplicity of wooden building blocks.

Here’s a collection of some of my favorite meeples, both classic and obscure. Can you name the games they’re from?

Christina Major

Artist/Designer at Whirling Derby

Christina does freelance graphic design for board game publishers with her husband Mark Major, is the wig-wearing half of Whirling Derby, and draws/authors a webcomic over at sombulus.com

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