This Meeple Party review was made after playing the game six times. We were sent a copy of this game by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
What is Meeple Party?
Meeple Party is a cooperative puzzle game in which you need to take a certain amount of pictures at your house party before you and your roommates get too stressed out. The game was designed by Heather O’Neill and is published by 9th Level Games.
Meeple Party Gameplay
To begin a game of Meeple Party, everyone will get their own roommate meeple, a player board, two Photo Opportunity cards, and possibly a Disaster card (depending on the difficulty level). Then you’ll create your house with the room tiles, put all five of the roommate meeples in the house (regardless of player count), and you’re ready to go!
Your goal is to take a certain number of photos before all of the player-controlled roommates get three stress tokens apiece. For example, in the medium-length “Serious” party, you have to collectively take 18 photos.
There are six phases to each turn in Meeple Party:
- Welcome – At the start of every turn you’ll draw one meeple from the bag, add them to a room in your house, and then execute their action. The five main types of meeples all have their own actions, such as the Flirt pulling other meeples into their room and the Jerk pushing meeples away. When you draw the Surprise (white) meeple, you draw and resolve a Surprise card, which can do anything from moving meeples around to stressing the roommates out (giving the players stress tokens).
- Mingle – To mingle you simply choose one meeple at the party, move them to an adjacent room, and then execute their action.
- Check for Disasters – If you meet the conditions of the Disaster card in front of you (or the Communal Disaster if playing the easy or hard modes), everyone takes a stress token and the Disaster card is discarded.
- Take Photos – If you were able to fulfill the requirements of one or both of your photos – meaning that you put certain meeples in the correct rooms together – you’ll discard those photo cards and move the clock forward once for each photo you took. Whenever you take two photos in a single turn, you can remove one stress token.
- Check the Clock – If you took one or more photos, you’ll activate the current event on the clock. This could result in drawing a Surprise card, laying down a meeple, welcoming a new guest, adding more Surprise meeples to the bag, or even replacing everyone’s current Disaster cards with new ones.
- Restock – If you took photos or a disaster occurred, those cards are replaced.
You’ll win the game if your group is able to take the specified number of photos. You’ll lose if at any point every player has three stress tokens.
The game also includes two “Challenge” variants that change things up a bit, and “Party Upgrades” that allow you to add new items and/or pets to the party.
For more info on how the game plays, check out the Meeple Party rulebook (PDF).
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- I was hoping that the theme would come through… and it absolutely does. You really do feel like you’re throwing a huge party that gets tougher and tougher to keep under control as the night moves along.
- Meeple Party has a really good flow to it once you get used to the steps you need to go through each turn. You do need to spend a little bit of time figuring out where to move the meeples on your turn, but that usually only takes about a minute. No one in my group complained about downtime while playing this one.
- The clock mechanism keeps the game from feeling too repetitive and adds in a bit more tension. I really like that different events get triggered depending on the time and that the puzzle shifts a bit as you move forward in the game.
- It also has good replay value. You can set up the house however you want to, you never know which guests are going to show up, and the randomized photo, disaster, and surprise cards ensure that each game plays out differently.
- I like that there are multiple ways to adjust the difficulty. You can make the game tougher by starting with a communal disaster, by throwing a longer party, and/or you can set up the house in a way that makes it more difficult for the meeples to move from room to room.
- The card art is really nice and most of it is hilarious.
- It really doesn’t matter which roommate meeple you choose at the beginning of the game since you can activate any of the meeples on your turn. That’s odd to me and a bit of a letdown. I think it would have been great if each roommate meeple had its own unique power that you could use on your turn if you activated your own meeple.
- I’ve played two two-player games and two three-player games so far (one on Hard difficulty) and we won all four of those games pretty easily. It just isn’t that difficult to prevent your own disasters while also preventing other players from getting in bad spots. It seems much more challenging at the higher player counts.
- Quarterbacking could be a big problem for some groups. Since this is a puzzle game and all of the information is out there for everyone to see, it could be tempting for some players to try to take over if they think they see the ideal moves.
- I know that both “meeple” and “meeples” can be used as the plural form of meeple, but I really wish that they had used “meeples” in this game. This is obviously a minor issue that probably won’t bother many other people.
Everyone in my group has enjoyed Meeple Party so far. We’ve role-played it a bit – my flirt roommate was Joey from Friends in one game – which has made all of our games entertaining regardless of how they played out. It’s kind of like playing through a different college party movie every time it hits the table. I have to give the designer a lot of credit for making a game that has kept my group fully immersed throughout multiple play sessions since that doesn’t seem to happen very often.
If you like this theme and you enjoy puzzle-solving cooperative games, chances are you’ll have a great time playing Meeple Party.