A Place at the Table Blogs 2

A Place at the Table: Say What?

Looking back on my journey through board games, one of the things that proved difficult at the beginning was deciphering all of the terms that the veteran board gamers used. A new board gamer may find themselves slightly intimidated if they sit down at the table and hear something like this: This game is gonna rock. It’s a worker placement game, but it is heavy on resource management. I wonder what the meeples look like?

As a new gamer, you may be thinking to yourself what on earth is a meeple, and what does a meeple have to do with board games?

For this installment of A Place at the Table, I will break down some of these terms for you in hopes that you will have a basic knowledge of what the veteran gamer is saying.

Let’s start with the simplest term I’ve listed so far: meeple. A meeple is the playing piece that is used for certain board games. In many cases, it will have a human like shape. You will most often find meeples in worker placement games. Meeples come in a wide variety of colors. You can even order specialty meeples for things like wedding favors. MeepleSource is one such place where you can purchase custom meeples and extra meeples. You could say that meeples have become an unofficial mascot for board gamers around the world. I’ve seen meeple cookie cutters, jewelry, and t-shirts

The famous Meeple

How do I know that you can find bride and groom meeples? Because I’ve done my research for unique wedding favors that my Number One and I could use when we renew our vows. Board games fill a pretty significant portion of our lives, so it only seems fitting to hand out bride and groom meeples.

I digress. Back to defining terms.

The Bride and Groom Meeples

Here is a random term that you may hear when someone is going over the rules or a game: orthogonally. Generally, the rule is that you can place things orthogonally. In Sagrada, your dice may not be the same color or number orthogonally. This just means up or down and left or right.

Flavor text is text that helps enhance the theme of the game. You will often find the flavor text on the cards of the game. Flavor text is generally anything that isn’t vital to winning the game. Flavor text doesn’t always have to be actual text, either. For instance, in Terraforming Mars, you will see pictures on the cards. Many of these pictures are actual pictures from NASA.

An example of Flavor Text at the bottom of this card from Mistborn.

I’ve already mentioned worker placement games in the meeple definition. A worker placement game is going to be any game where you place your meeple on the board to claim the right to do an action or claiming a spot. In most cases, you have a limited number of workers, so you will have to plan ahead and adjust where you can place your worker. Generally, once a worker has been placed in a spot, no one else can go there. There are exceptions to this rule in certain games, but should that ever come up, the person teaching you the game should explain it to you.

The Lords of Waterdeep: A classic example of a worker placement game.

You also have games that will be marketed as party games. These are games that are meant to be played by at least 4 people. Party games often don’t require the same time investment that other heavier games will.

Is your brain overloaded yet? I’ve got another post lined up that will help define some of the different styles of games. Happy Board Gaming, folks!


  • Reply
    Next Time Noller
    Feb 13, 2019 2:24 am

    Lords of Waterdeep is one of my favorite games ever! Maybe the first worker placement game I ever tried.

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