Where do meeples come from?
We’re thrilled to have ticked over to the next milestone on our meeple journey: we are now 200% funded! Our bamboo meeple looks like it was shining twice as bright in the Cactus Garden at Singapore Airport, en route to Switzerland. Stay tuned for more snaps from Mark and Penny’s #meepleholiday in Europe.
Here's the story of how the meeples that you are backing (all 150+ of you - thank you!) happened. It all started when a hard working young meeple accidentally fell out of its Carcassonne box and into Power Grid and was bitten by a radioactive energy cube - no wait, that's not it.
It all started when we were making metal prototypes for a Cheapass Game. The reason Cheapass Games are so incredible is because James Ernest knows what works and what doesn’t, and he doesn't stop until he gets it right. In this case, alas, we couldn't get the pieces to do what he needed them to, but we did discover one thing: we can make really, really, really thick coins. Interesting…
We always debrief at the end of Gen Con, and one year Andre gave a sudden cry of "Meeple coins!". We then totally forgot about that, until we accidentally made really thick coins... like the width of a meeple... and that’s when the radioactive energy cube bit us.
So, who to design meeples? We immediately thought of Daniel Solis. We’ve worked with him since his wonderful Island Siege coin designs for APE Games, and he has since made our beloved Heart coins and our delightful Geek & Sundry TableTop coins which feature, you guessed it, a meeple.
Daniel is not just a superb game designer, he's also a superb graphic artist, and knows how to blend them to perfection. “Make us a meeple!”, we cried. We knew from our 13th Age Icon project that we wanted to use translucent colour enamel over patterned metal, as the results have such amazing depth.
When not making gorgeous metal coins, Andre is also a Japanese restauranteur, so we settled on a Japanese wave pattern as the perfect expression of both his interests. (Did I mention that Carcassonne is his favourite board game? Now it all makes sense, right?)
Daniel nailed the design, and we duly made it.
We were so pleased with how solid and appealing the first little meeple was. This sample is plain metal, next to the original artwork. (Please accept our apologies for the photos here, they are under harsh fluro light with a dodgy camera. It’s the meeple equivalent of a bad hair day.)
We made a batch with green enamel to show around Gen Con. Shout out here to Chris Hanrahan, of Evil Hat and EndGame Oakland fame: Mark gave him a little preview over breakfast, dropping them into his hands without warning. We kid you not, he lost his mind. We’re onto something, we thought…
(And, double shout out, Chris was a Day One backer! What a champ)
So, the next step was to experiment with different enamels and metals. We knew that each meeple needed three points of difference: colour, pattern and metal, so this tested two of those. Behold, the Great-Grand Meeples.
We were pleased with the results, so now we were ready to start designing the different patterns.
Stay tuned for more of the meeple story next time, as we forge onto our first stretch goal – velvet bags at AU$12,500. Until then!
Jackson, Andre, Mark, & Penny