This year’s game of the year, one of the most coveted awards in the board game industry, goes to MicroMacro: Crime City. The awards were announced live on Monday on social media.
If you’re a fan of board games, you’ve probably heard of them by now Criminal city. It’s the designer’s job Johannes Sich and the small team of Hard-core games, distributed here in the US by Pegasus games. The game has made waves in the tabletop world since its release last year, with many openly wondering if it even qualifies as a board game. Nobody can doubt its popularity; Editions have been sold out again and again in the past eight months. Right now the $ 29.99 game is scalping Amazon
So what is MicroMacro: Crime City? Inside the box is a black and white map showing a busy cartoon city that is nearly three feet wide. The box also contains a set of 120 cards that describe 16 different crimes. It is up to the players to look at the complex scene with the magnifying glass provided and to solve the secrets in the process. It’s basically the physical representation of a hidden object game, a genre of video games that has been popular for years. It even seems to mimic the very popular black and white style Hidden people. Given the derivation of the concept, the success is somewhat surprising.
I think a lot of the popularity of Criminal city has a lot to do with how tabletop gaming fans had to adapt during the pandemic. While services like Board game arena and Tabletop simulator have proven to be great ways to find harder games online, sometimes you just want something to put on the table at home – something tactile, an anchor activity that takes you sitting in a room for a few hours or days at a time can. It’s the same kind of niche that puzzles have filled in the past year and a half by providing focused, almost meditative experiences for one or more people at the same time.
MicroMacro: Crime City is an artifact that will instantly pique the interest of everyone at the table. You can play it alone, in a small group, independently, or work together on the same crime. It’s an experience that adapts to any situation and almost any setting where you can find a big enough table.
Is MicroMacro: Crime City a great game? I really don’t think so. But at least in a table setting, it feels different to arouse curiosity. I think the most important feature is how simple it is. Most board games require some methodical study and then some type of performance where you teach others what you know. Here, the cognitive load required to get going is effectively zero, and for many people that is all they can muster right now.