MicroMacro: Crime City - In-Depth Review

Board's Edge Guest Geek Reviews MicroMacro Crime City

5-Second Summary

Pros

  • Fun!
  • Lots of player interaction - I loved sharing all the cool things I found on the map
  • Unique gameplay
  • You already know how to play - no Youtube guides required!
  • Difficulty scales well

Considerations

  • Best at two players
  • Awful name for a great game
  • Map can be easily destroyed

Full Review:

MicroMacro: Crime City is a giant Where’s Waldo game with a huge body count. The map, a monster that will take up a decent portion of the table, displays the city at multiple points in time simultaneously. It only sounds confusing. Most scenarios involve tracking victims and murderers through time to figure out the cause of death or motive.

The name is terrible. The name should be Grand Theft Waldo. I was skeptical about trying it. I thought any team that greenlit the name MicroMacro: Crime City had absolutely no creativity. Turns out they spent all their time packing the map with cool things and didn't give a second thought to the name. There is so much stuff to see and share with another player!

The best thing about this game is you already know how to play. Don’t believe me? Check out our product page. There is a scenario on the image of the front of the box. Slanted but playable! The rulebook is about two pages long, and actually has all the information you need to play.

Instead of a board, the game uses a giant map for all scenarios. It took up most of our table. You are guided through the scenario by a series of cards you reveal in order. The questions are straightforward, like: where's the body? How did he die? Who killed him? Where did the killer get the murder weapon? Once you can answer a question, you move onto the next one. The back of the question card has the answer as well as the location on the map. This helps to move the game along if you ever truly get stuck. It didn't happen to us, though there were a few questions that took us a while to answer.

The map is not laminated. If your dog jumps up on the table to join game night, he will rip the map. You have been warned.

The stuff on the map is small. The game comes with a magnifying glass. (Only one! Yet another reason this game shines at two players.) We only use it when we need to see something inside the buildings. Or when I magnify something unrelated and point it out when I’m trying to get the other player out of my way. Victory is mine! (Cooperative games are a bit of a fuzzy concept in our house.)

The first 5 scenarios are introductory (I would call them tutorials, but they are fun to play). The first one takes place in a very small area of the map, then the next increases in distance and complexity. The game naturally increases the details of the crime you are looking for, the distance between clues on the map, and the logical steps you have to go through to solve crimes as you go along.

The player count is a lie. This game is only worth playing with two players. There is a ton of cool stuff to look at on the map, but most of the time, all of the players need to be looking at the same thing. At two players you only have one obstacle (I mean, fellow player...) to maneuver around or distract. Any more than that would be logistically difficult to manage. One player is technically possible since you have unlimited access to the map. Problem is, there is no one to point out the cool stuff on the map to! Most of our player interaction involves showing each other cool stuff loosely related to the mission or pointing out fun red herrings.

If you play with Monica from FRIENDS ("I know! I know!"), or anyone who behaves like Monica, you will not have a good time. To avoid the Monica syndrome, our family established some ground rules. If I find the clue, I can't immediately shout it out and point at it. I wait until the other person finds it. However, I immediately point out cool things that are unrelated to the mystery, and that's totally allowed.

Playing with younger kids is not recommended. The body count rivals Brokenwood, not to mention how easy the map is to destroy. Our game version includes the developer’s rating scheme for each scenario. Most scenarios fall into the "parental guidance advised" or "play through the scenario first to see if it is appropriate" category, which makes it tricky for youngsters. If you're interested in exploring Crime City with a younger audience, we recommend you check out MicroMacro: Crime City - Full House first. The publisher pegs this one at Ages 12+.

The game ends. There are 16 scenarios to play through, and that's it. I don’t get 16 plays out of most of the games on my shelf, so I’m not too worried about it. I hope it sells enough copies to spawn a series so there is more to explore, but this game itself isn't replayable.

I don’t own anything else like MicroMacro: Crime City. It is a cooperative game that is filled with positive interactions with the other player (no competition over resources, no waiting for forever for your turn, no fights over who gets to be which character, no rage over the terrible decision that the other player made that lost you the round). The map is so detailed and fun to explore. It is easy to get to the table, simple to learn, and a true joy to play. I can see why it won the 2021 Spiel des Jahres!

Remote Play

Not recommended for remote play. The Guest Geek has spoken.

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About the Author

Becky the Guest Geek has been specially appointed by the Board's Edge Team to give you the inside scoop on our hottest games. Part review, part how-to, part snark - check out her in-depth reviews.

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