I was almost disappointed when I learned that this intriguing, cute little word, pimp, had so much to do with prostitution and criminal abuse. To the point that some gamers hesitate to use it. That’s a shame.
Pimp has been an English word for quite some time, but a French one for even longer. One probable hypothesis is that the former derives from the latter. That its origin is related to appearance, clothing, fashion, and not prostitution.
Regardless, the word is widely used today, although it is seen as very informal language, or slang.
One thing is for sure, there is something flamboyant, glitz, about pimping. Some excess, even bad taste, that terms like customizing, upgrading, decorating, blinging can’t seem to render.
Pimping up, or pimping out a game is not limited to outrageous or excessive modifications (painting components, creating custom stickers or 3-D printed game pieces). A gamer will use the term to describe any customization done to a game, its components, its box; even simply adding specific accessories to it is pimping.
There is practical pimping. Like replacing paper money with poker chips. Or changing the original box insert of a base game for a larger one capable of accommodating its expansions.
But there is also the real, the outrageous pimping. Like the deluxe editions that reboot periodically the sales of certain games considered classics. Or some serious labor of love done by dedicated and talented gamers.
A game pimper is a gamer who systematically (or uncontrollably?) pimps his games, who doesn’t mind investing a lot of money or time in pimping.
Game pimping is creating a small parallel industry, or an aftermarket. Laser cutting and 3D printing are becoming more and more affordable and widespread. The best game pimpers share their tips, and offer their products or services on their blogs. Publishers themselves often sell separately pimped out components of their games. A lot of stretch goals of board gaming Kickstarter projects amount to pimped out components. And more and more small companies specialize in producing upgrade kits for specific games.
Some like pimping their car at least as much as driving it. Pimping their game at least as much as playing it. I guess the real fun is going wherever your skills take you, whatever they are. This is guaranteed fun. Of the highest order.
Pimped out Boomerang
It appears that pimp is itself a pimped out word. French-speaking gamers use the English word (along with its English prononciation), sometimes without realizing that they are in fact using the pimped up version of an old French word.
The boomerang words, that leave one language for another, before coming back to their original language after several centuries, are quite rich in history and meanings. They are like explorers returning home with filled coffers.
Flirt is a good example.
A long time ago, in France, behaving in a seductive manner towards someone without serious intentions was conter fleurette, which could be translated to something like telling flowery tales (fleur means flower). It was jumping from flower to flower, fleureter. English has imported that word from the French, adapting the prononciation, so that fleurete became flirt. And that is how the boomerang came back to France, much later, keeping the same meaning. Frenchmen don’t fleurete anymore; they flirt.
The same goes for pimp.
The English word was borrowed from the 16th-century French word pimper (French prononciation) that meant to adorn, to decorate. To be pimpé was to be smartly dressed. Pimper disappeared, but pimpant (attractive, gracious, vivid and lively) is still very much alive in French. Then the boomerang came back. The exact same word meaning the exact same thing, but with an English prononciation. After three centuries.
So nowadays, both in French and English, when a gamer wants his game to be more pimpant, he pimps them up.
- The Broken Token
- Pimp My Boardgame
- Meeple Source
- Board Crafting
- Broken Egg Games
- Board Games Pimping
- Laser Cut Board Games
- Constructing a 3D Settlers of Catan Board by Dan Becker
- Pimped Out Catan
- Pimped Out Robinson Crusoe, by Rom Brown
- Pimping Contest on Boardgame Geek