The objects above are "meeples", which is short for "my people". They are the generic icon for Board Game Playing Piece... you know, the little object that you move around the board. Monopoly has a shoe or a racing car, but a German game called Carcassonne uses these meeples.
I spent Labor Day weekend near Los Alamos, NM, playing boardgames with some nuclear physicists I know. It's a 96 hour orgy of gaming geekiness. We rent a youth hostel out in the middle of the desert that can sleep up to 50 people. Entire families come - parents, kids, pets - with the only requirement that everyone pitches in on chores and has fun.
If you haven't played a boardgame in years, now would be a good time to check them out again. In the last 10 years, there has been a renassaince of wonderful, beautiful, and expensive games imported from overseas. In Germany, boardgames are so popular that the newspapers run reviews of new games next to the movie and CD reviews. Luckily, there is an active following of fans here in the US who translate the game rules into English.( Collapse )