Lords of Waterdeep is a great game, but you know what really makes it better? Playing with AWESOME custom meeples.
One of the most common complaints I’ve heard about Lords of Waterdeep is that in the original game you are collecting color cubes and each cube is supposed to represent a cleric, warrior, wizard, and rouge. Themetically it makes sense for a D&D game but visually it’s really bland. Plus most players end up saying “can you pass me a purple cube” instead of “can you pass me a wizard.”
“I bought Lords of Waterdeep, opened it up, read the rules and decided right then that something had to be done about the cubes,” Danny Perello the creator of the custom meeples said. “When I first decided to make the figures I new I wanted shapes that were reminiscent of the classical meeple shape like those found in Carcassonne to keep a traditional Euro look to the game, but I also wanted them to be unique in their own way to be easily distinguishable from each other. I tried to think of which weapons and gear each character class was identified with and then tried to render them as simply as possible. This is why the Rogue is wearing a hood and is carrying daggers, the Wizard is wearing a robe and carrying a staff, etc. I actually am very happy with the overall design of the pieces.”
One of the nice things that Perello decided to do was to keep the meeples really small, almost the same size as the cubes. This means they still feel and handle like the cubes and fit easily into your player tavern but they also fit perfectly into the game’s box insert!
The process to get the perfect size meeple wasn’t easy for Perello who had to make local contacts just to get the right kind of wood.
“This is actually quite an involved process,” Perello said. “The first step, and the first hurdle I encountered, was wood. I wanted the pieces to be 6mm thick, about 1/4″, but the thinnest I could find anywhere was 25mm, 1″. I finally found a local family run sawmill that would custom cut lumber for me down to 9mm, 3/8″, for an incredibly good price.”
Using a laser cutter, Perello cuts a two foot piece of wood which creates about 15 to 20 sets of the meeples.
When they come out of the laser they have burnt edges which paint doesn’t bond to very well so they have to be cleaned,” Perello said. “I do this by washing them in bleach which takes about half an hour, but because bleach can be harmful to wood I then rinse and soak them in water for about an hour to be sure to remove any traces of the bleach. They then go on drying racks for a day or so in a room with very low humidity.”
Once dry, each group of figures is put in a bucket of paint, completely submerged and then strained. At that point they are hand sorted and laid onto a thin drying canvas.
“This process is very meticulous and probably the most tedious of all the steps,” Perello said. “When they are about half way dry I move each piece to ensure it isn’t sticking to the canvas. Once they are dry I do it all over again two more times until the colour is consistent, so each figure is painted three times.”
A set of Deeples includes a total of 108 figures, 27 of each color. For North American residents a set will only set you back a mere $30 and for everyone else it will cost $35 (USD). So if you are interested in really pimping out your copy of Lords of Waterdeep, you can send Perello a geekmail message on BGG or email him directly at dperello (at) vianet )dot) ca. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with these!