When I first laid eyes on Meeple Towers from WizKids Games, I immediately thought: Oooo, a new stacking game… gimmie! I mean, my love of dexterity games (or “sport games” as my friends on the east coast call them) is well documented. While I was a tad bummed to realize it wasn’t a game that required eye-hand coordination, only stacking, that didn’t diminish my enthusiasm for giving this builder a try. I mean who doesn’t love building towers and scoring points. And that just what you do in Meeple Towers.
The goal in Meeple Towers is to score the most points by placing meeples and floors onto the structure. Each turn, a player must decide if they want to “Play” or “Plan”.
To Play, you choose one of your cards and take the associated action. These involve placing supports, meeples, and floors onto the board. Supports are used to elevate floors, which need to be supported under specific squares. Meeples will score you points by either being covered by floors (and then removed, earning you a random VP token) or at the end of the game based on what floor they are sitting on. When you place a floor, you will earn points for the floor, and any player with a supporting pillar under the floor will earn bonus points.
If you decide to Plan, you simply take all of the cards back into your hand and play passes to the next player. The game ends when either a player has placed all of their supports, a family of floors runs out, or all of two types of bonus tokens are claimed. Players earn the end game bonuses for their meeples described above and the player with the most points is the winner.
Meeple Towers is a fairly light game that is really easy to get to the table. Most of the cards are fairly self-explanatory, and we were able to get playing in this one with only a few minutes of rules explanation. The play or pick up system has been used in lots of games before so experienced gamers will most likely be able to hit the ground running with this one.
Each turn you’ll need to decide between placing a floor, meeples, or supports, each of which are their own cog in this big wheel. They also score you points in their own way, meaning there are rarely wasted turns. Supports my not be exciting, but as you score points for each of them when a floor is placed, they can add up quickly, especially when combined with your own floor.
Speaking of floors, there is an interesting decision to be made when placing them. Players can choose either side of the floor, which not only has different placement options for future items, but also different scoring. One side will score more points for the floor but less for supports, while the other side adjusts those numbers some. That means that you’ll be calculating the best way to use a floor when placing it depending on if you have lots of supports or if your opponent does.
Now when it comes to your opponents, Meeple Towers has a surprising amount of “take that” in the game… which may be good or bad depending on how much you enjoy that mechanic. It was not uncommon in our games for players to screw with their opponent’s plans. You might be going for a big, 4×4 floor, only to have an opponent drop a meeple right where you need to place a support, ruining your plans. I’ve also seen players drop a single floor on an opponent’s support, stopping them from using it to score a bigger floor. Some of our players really didn’t like this kind of interaction in the game, so be forewarned if your group doesn’t gravitate toward take that mechanics.
Finally, one of the more interesting mechanics of the game was how the meeples are used. At the start of the game, you’ll try and get them under as many floors as possible to score the bonus tokens. Yet as the game progresses, you don’t care about that. At some point you’ll need to shift your strategy to getting them on the higher floors. It’s an interesting dynamic as players needs to time when to start grabbing high floors versus using your meeples to earn bonus tokens.
Meeple Towers is a solid, lightweight game that works great as either a family game or a longer filler type game for your regular group. There are some nice scoring opportunities, and the modular game board should help keep things fresh between plays. However, be aware that the game can be a little mean at times, so players will need to have a thick skin and be ok with people ruining their plans. Yet if your group can handle “take that” mechanics and enjoys stacking and scoring, Meeple Towers is worth a checking out.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A fun stacking game that where every piece can score in some way.
• Modular board helps replay value
• Easy to learn, quick to get to the table
• Looks neat when the tower gets built up
• Lots of ways to score points
• Pretty easy to mess with other players plans…which might not appeal to certain groups