MicroMacro: Crime City
Genre: Map-based Deduction
Player Count: 2 – 4
Play Count as of Review: 19
- MicroMacro: Crime City is a deduction game based almost entirely on one large map (29.5 inches x 43 inches). There are sixteen standalone cases that will help guide you around the map and direct the players to what crimes they are supposed to be solving. The game includes one magnifying glass to help players better view the scenes that unfold in front of them. The unique pitch that MicroMacro has is that the map is showing the past, the present and the future simultaneously. It’s an incredibly interesting dynamic and while it will make people say “how?”, the tutorial/first case will walk players through it perfectly. There is a demo case available online if you are curious about how the game works. Simply put, MicroMacro is basically a crime-filled Where’s Waldo?.
- The box says this game is for up to four players but I honestly wouldn’t go higher than two. While the map is big, you won’t necessarily be utilizing the entire map for every case and leaning over each other will get old fast. Playing with two, we routinely had one player looking at the map from the correct orientation and the other looking at it upside down and I struggled to think how we would fit another adult around the table. The magnifying glass also wouldn’t be helpful to player counts higher than one and while it was a nice inclusion (my partner exclusively used it), I would recommend a real magnifying glass if you needed assistance viewing the map. I played without it and it wasn’t an issue.
- I used the word ‘adult’ in the past point because while this game may have cute cartoonish artwork, this is an adult game at heart (it is called ‘Crime City’ after all). Even in a cartoonish manner, the game deals with heavy subjects such as death, murder and more. I would not be comfortable exposing the game to children or even adults that may have triggers due to traumatic events. While this is a game, it did take these subject matters seriously and nothing ever felt trivial.
- The map itself is black and white and absolutely dripping with life while not being cluttered at the same time. It can be daunting on first look, staring at the portrait of figures in front of you but players will get a distinct feel for each district in the city and will recognize characters as they pop-up over the map. It is incredibly well designed and I just cannot give enough credit to the designers and artists that worked on it. The entire game hinges on the map and they absolutely nailed it.
- The cases get gradually harder, from one star to five stars and I will admit, the cases do feel considerably harder as you progress. We were concerned that the cases would just be additional steps (which is what the difficulty level felt like when going from two stars to three stars) but we found ourselves agonizing over the map and deducing possible motives and ideas between the two of us. We’re also true crime junkies so we may have gone a little overboard. In addition, while the cases may have dealt with similar crimes, each one felt unique on its own and I never felt like we were rehashing our steps.
- There is also an advanced variant where players only get the first clue and need to solve the case using that. After playing through every case, I do believe that would make things significantly more challenging but not insurmountable. I would be interested in trying this variant with an expansion now that we know the real flow of the game.
- MicroMacro has almost zero replayability. Once you have been through the cases, you’ll know the outcomes. You can either frame the map and hang it as something cool to look at on your walls or pass the game along to another friend/couple for them to try their hand at it. There are additional cases online and in the back of the rulebook but there will be a time when you have exhausted the game. The developer has said that this game is one of four and each map will be a district in the city. I don’t know if the maps will combine for some epic cases but I wouldn’t just chuck this game into the garbage bin once done.
- While there is zero replayability for the cases, there is still a vibrant cityscape unfolding on the map. There are Easter eggs planted all over the artwork and there are characters who are not integral to any case but have routines that you can follow throughout the city. I followed a woman and her dog around the entire map thinking she was an important suspect until I realized I was just canvassing a woman walking her dog for fifteen minutes.
- I’ve played a lot of detective-style board games and what MicroMacro does better than almost all of them is remove the bullshit logic jumps that are needed to solve a case (looking straight at you Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective). I never once felt like my intelligence was insulted because I didn’t make a deductive leap that made zero sense to those that didn’t make the game nor were there any errors on the map or case cards that sent me running a fools errand.
- That being said, I believe MicroMacro is worth every penny, replayability be damned. We had an absolute blast looking at the incredibly detailed map and while we finished the game in two sittings (which was probably around five or six hours total), we were fully invested and enjoying ourselves with each case. For the cost of seeing two movies in theaters, we got much more entertainment value for our money.