In a new type of review, I talk about Happy Meeple in this article, a free to join website where you can play tabletop games online against other people as well as AIs. The brainchild of Nicolas Guibert, the website aims to introduce more people to modern tabletop games, which is something I highly encourage, by offering an easy way to learn these games, as well as creating a friendly, welcoming platform. Happy Meeple focuses on easy to learn games, rather than complex ones, which is another thing that I think is great and is vital if you don’t want to scare away people who know very little about modern tabletop games. The current list of games includes favourites like Circle The Wagons by Button Shy, Hanamikoji by EmperorS4 and Lost Cities by Kosmos, all of which are great, fun, little games that introduce people new to the hobby to various mechanisms, which allows them to discover even more games, which may be more complex.
All of the games come with a tutorial, which walks you through the first few turns of a two player game, after which you can either finish the game against the AI, or start a new game against other players or another AI. Games are grouped by difficulty level, and every game can be played against a number of AIs with different strengths, so that you can choose the right type of game and opponent to match your skills and enjoyment.
Once you’re ready to play against another person, you can either create a room that is open to anyone, or invite someone specific to play with you. As with all online gaming systems that allow you to play against other human players, there has to be a certain number of people on the site to make it easy for you to find someone to play with, unless you have your friends sign up for the site as well and join you for a game. I don’t know how many people Happy Meeple currently has on the website, or what their geographic distribution is, but depending on when you want to play and what game you want to play, you may still find it hard to find other players.
That is why the site makes such a big point about its AI players. So if you don’t find a human opponent, you can still play any game you want by selecting an automa player at whatever difficulty level that suits you. Even the easiest automated player is really good and will keep you busy for quite some time, at which point you can select the next difficult AI, if you fancy. It is really well done and is of course great for solo players as well.
Speaking of solo players, Happy Meeple is currently working on adding three to four solo games to the platform this year, which is great news, because solo players tend to be under represented in modern tabletop gaming. So a website who is planning to address the issue with a selection of games is always welcome.
Of course, even though Happy Meeple is free to sign up and comes with a good number of free games, there is a limit of how many games you can play in a certain amount of time. The website uses a virtual currency of food to stop the website from being overrun. You pay two food for a training game against and six food for a full game. Food gets topped up ever so often, so unless you want to play games all day, you should be fine. In fact, the site is actual a sort of meta game, where you have your own little map where you can place houses and fields to produce more food to more quickly top up your balance.
If you do still find you don’t have enough food, you can buy so-called magic potions to help you along, which is basically you paying for a subscription to get access to more play time. So if you like what you see, definitely consider setting up a paid subscription, to help the site grow. In the meantime, the website has adverts sprinkled around the website. Don’t worry, there are no ads that appear on screen for a few seconds before you can proceed. All advertising is on the margins of the pages and really doesn’t interfere with your game enjoyment.
So I can really see the potential of this website and can’t wait to see more games added to it. Happy Meeple is definitely worth checking out and trying for yourself, as well as recommending to your non-gamer friends, so we can get more people into modern tabletop games.
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