Cowples are not Meeples

Something drives me crazy in this board game hobby of ours. Every time I see it, I want to reach through the Internet and smack the person. It is utterly ridiculous that we continue to use these words and that they are becoming acceptable terminology. When referring to little wooden cows, priests, aliens, or other wooden bits we should never be calling them cowples, preeples or alieples. It’s just plain wrong. Sure it may sound cute, when you say I need 4 cowples to put into my penples which is delineated by fenceples. But seriously, give me a breakples.

Courtesy of BGG
Courtesy of BGG

It all starts with the first term used to describe the wooden stand-ins for people in Carcassonne. People started calling them meeples, because, well they are “my people.” Technically the spelling should be meoples or myoples and the saying “Those are my meeples” is a bit redundant but that is a rant for another day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for combining words together to make ridiculous sounding new words, like a popsicle of crap would be a crapsicle or the real term describing a bred offspring of a lion and a tiger; liger. Those are funny, and I am a fan of them as much as the next person, but what I don’t accept is misusing the rules of word combinations.

Rules? There are rules to this? Yes, absolutely there are rules to this just like most things in life. Sure, I made the rules up, but after you read them you will see that they make perfect sense.

Rule #1 – The words being combined should have at minimum one letter from each word in the same position as it was in the first two words.

Ex: Lion + Tiger = L + iger

Rule #2 – The pronunciation of the words should stay as close to the same as possible.

Ex: Crap + Popsicle = Crapsicle (pronounced crap as in crap and sicle as in popsicle)

Um, that’s pretty much it and yet, people can’t seem to get it right. I constantly am seeing people refer to wooden pieces representing all sorts of things in the wrong way and I’m fed up. According to these simple rules if you say something like “cowples” you are saying “cow people.” Does that make sense? No, it doesn’t, so stop it, stop it right now!

Now I have heard of the game designing duo of Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle being referred to as Fleeples and that works according to the aforementioned rules. You take the word Fleet (the card game they designed) and add it to people and you get Fleeple. Totally acceptable, totally following the rules


I’m calling on all boardgame hobbyists to stand together and call them what they are. In order to do this I’ve created the following totally not complete list to help jump-start the meeple revolution.

Cows – mows (pronounced like cow, with a m)

Courtesy of BGG
Courtesy of BGG

Adventurer – madventurer

Wizard – myzard

Horse – morse

Sheep – meep

You could even switch things up a bit and not use my as the beginning word and instead to tiny or small, or mini which would give you a plethora of more options, like:

Wheat – meat (this obviously comes with its own problems), teat (also, not a  good choice), so maybe not too many choices with wheat, but smeat might work.

Wood – smood, tood or mood

All evil creatures – mevil, smevil, tevil

Basically what I am trying to say is, let’s have some fun with creating our own words that actually make sense. No more sentences that, if the words were taken apart, would read “Those are my my peoples” or “Can you hand me a cow people” Or “If only I had 2 more two more tree people (which only works when you are actually playing with tree people).”

I call for a moratorium on the misuse of meeple copycats and hope you will join me in this fight!

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