What's a "meeple" you ask? It's a wooden follower piece from a fun game called Carcassonne. My friend Chris is really into games (understatement). I, on the other hand, am not. Or at least, I didn't think I was. My experience with games is short: Pictionary, Monopoly, Risk, Clue... that's about it. None of which I've placed since the 8th or 9th grade. I think that when I expressed my general disinterest in games, Chris took this as a challenge to find a game I'd enjoy. So, last night after work I hopped a train down to his neck of the jungle and found myself standing in front of his collection: A shelf full of intriguing games. Heading into the next room he slapped me on the shoulder and said "Just pick out whatever looks good; I'm interested to see what you pick." I stood studying the boxes with their creative font, design and packaging and began noticing the little icons on the sides of the boxes indicating number of players, average playing time etc. I saw that some boast receipt of gaming awards... I couldn't decide. I'm just not into games. I hadn't made a decision by the time Chris came back and so he pulled a few off the shelf.
We sat down with Carcassonne. Chris informed me that it was a winner of the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001 (German game of the year). It's a tile based game where players draw tiles and place them on the table to create a landscape. Castles, Cloisters, roads and farm areas are established. The players compete for ownership of the establishments by placing a "meeple" on the road/castle/cloister etc. Points are scored by tallying the amount of land or establishments owned when all of the tiles have been placed on the table. Its a lot of fun; I actually found a game that I like! We played a few games in which I was slaughtered, quite mercilessly but I think I'll be able to give Chris a run for his money the next time we play. I've been fiddling around with the Carcassonne iPhone app on and off today.