Meeple upon meeple

A recent addition to my hooks list says, "Worker placement + balancing.  Workers get put onto spots and can be balanced on top of those already there.  If you knock over (any of) the pile, everyone gets their workers back from that pile."

I've been thinking about this more than I probably should, and have partly been dwelling on how to do this, and what sort of pieces would be best to use for balancing.  Well, I decided that as I have a good supply of meeples in my stash, they would be a good thing to try.
Meeple balancing could become the next big thing.

Now, as an aside, balancing games are a nightmare for me.  I have what is known as an essential tremor, which in my case means that I have shaky hands.  Normally this isn't a problem, but it means that I can only really carry one drink at a time (getting a round in at the pub can involve a lot of ferrying unless I get a tray) and I absolutely suck at Jenga.  Trying to design a game that prominently features balancing things on top of each other classes, for me at least, as the dumbest idea since I tried to create an asymmetric game in under 24 hours.  Ah well...

So it was time for a feasibility study: would meeples work for a game where you need to stack them? And how high would the stacks be likely to get?  It took me a little while, but I managed to get a stack of 5 meeples, but lost control on the 6th.  I'm sure that more coordinated people should be able to get at least a couple more on.  My long-suffering wife had a go and, after quite a few attempts managed to get up to 8 in a pile, which looked like it might be very close to the limit.  All good data.

At the moment, the idea is that I could have a simple resource-conversion game with worker placement...
  • Place a meeple on a spot and you get to gain or convert a resource.  
  • If you are not first to the spot, balance your meeple on top of the one(s) already there and if successful you gain a larger benefit.
  • If you are unsuccessful in placement and you knock one or more meeples over, everyone on that pile gets their meeples back and you get to place your meeple instead at the bottom of a new pile and get only the basic benefit.
That's about it.  All I need now is an actual game to use that mechanism, though I think that it needs to be something very simple: trying to add meeple balancing to a game like Agricola would just result in a more frustrating Agricola.  I'm thinking at the moment of having monkeys collecting (say) bananas, mangoes and coconuts for some reason.  I'll work on this.


  1. Sounds a bit like cheerleading to me!

    1. Actually, that sounds like a possible idea for a game: one player reads out a "cheer", while another player arranges their meeples into an appropriate stack. How could that not be fun?