Those that regularly visit and read my reviews will know that last month I have played more Ganz Schön Clever than any other game. Had I not just written a review entering it into the coveted Board Game Review Hall of Fame, I might be talking about it here. Yet, I am not. The immediacy of Ganz Schön Clever in being quick to pick up and play is why it keeps getting to the table. However, a roll and write will struggle to void the desire for unfurling a piece of cardboard or laying some tiles. Thus, Meeple Land gets the monthly accolade for March.
My son’s Christmas present, Meeple Land, had been languishing on the shelf of opportunity for too long. An Instagram challenge from @saggyhead (Hannah) to get #anothergameofftheshelf saw me rip the shrink off nine games last month and get them to the table and played. Meeple Land was one of them.
It is a tile placement game that is dripping in a theme park theme. I think one of the reasons I like it is the striking resemblance to old school favourite computer games, like Theme Park World and Roller Coaster Tycoon. In Meeple Land you are building attractions in the hope of enticing meeple visitors to your park when they arrive by coach at the end of each of the four rounds. Visitors bring income which allows you to buy new rides and earn points at the end of the game. Meeples waiting at the gates of your park at the end of the game are unhappy and will lose you points, as will paths with dead ends. The more variety in your park the better.
Your plot quickly fills up and ensuring a good flow around your park is vital, especially as some rides have to be beside specific utilities to tempt more valuable meeples to try them. As a result analysis paralysis will be present for some. It can be difficult to assess and optimise the opportunities presented to you. Balancing a variety of rides with maximising income, and housing the influx of visitors to your park while making the jigsaw of tiles fit, can render one’s brain into the sort of slush puppy you would find at a theme park!
It had more strategy than the box gave it credit for. While it has one of the most irregular box inserts I have seen in a long time, that hasn’t taken away from some very entertaining evenings playing Meeple Land.