In 2021 MicroMacro: Crime City was the Spiel des Jahres game of the year winner. While I couldn’t find a copy of this award winning game last year, I did find the sequel MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House just before Christmas. This is a stand-alone game from Pegasus Spiele that doesn’t require knowledge of the original even though some of the stories carry over from the first. In this review, I’ll cover just the Full House edition of the game and not the original game.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, one of my favorite memories was picking up a new Where’s Waldo (or Where’s Wally in the UK) book from our local library. Searching for that beanie wearing, glasses clad man was only a small part of the joy I found in these books. MicroMacro elicits so many of the feelings that this book series brought to my young mind.
Players are tasked with solving 16 different crimes on a huge table-filling illustrated map. The 3-page instruction manual is a quick read and gives you a recommendation on the order to play these cases. Early on in MicroMacro Full House, you’ll solve the crimes anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. Later cases can take 20 to 30 minutes to solve. It was easy to jump into the game after the intro case. Playing these cases in the recommended order helped me to see how the crimes ramped up in difficulty.
Each case is made up of 5 to 10 cards with crime #16 having 15 cards. The first card of each case will point players to the location of the incident. Each subsequent card will ask players to find a piece of information that appears on the map. If a card asks “What business did ____ come from?”, players need to trace that character back to their last known location. Once you have the information, one player flips the card over to confirm the location is correct.
With a correct answer, players can move on to the next card in the series. If you don’t have the correct answer, the player reading the card should let everyone know that they haven’t found the solution. The player who looked at the answer should then sit out and maybe give a tiny amount of guidance depending on the group you’re playing with.
Crime Solving for the Whole Family?
MicroMacro Full House gives players icons that share what audience the crimes are suitable for. 7 cases are marked family friendly, 5 cases depict murders/corpses and 4 cases depict more adult situations. Even at its most violent, Micro Macro is both charming and creepy with its cute line art.
When my teenage kids play this with me, it’s an absolute blast. We have so much fun trying to solve the crimes and stumbling on crazy scenes along the way. There will be some cases that parents are going to skip playing with kids, but there is plenty of content here to keep you and younger family members busy for a couple hours.
Ready to Solve the Case
At the time of this review, I only have 5 cases left to solve. Playing 11 of the cases in the box has taught me a couple of things.
First, make sure you have adequate lighting. While the rulebook points this out, it became super clear when trying to play in a dimly lit cabin at midnight. We missed clearly visible clues until we started using our phone flash light. The giant map tricks your eyes, feeding you tons of small detail that shows up best in when in a well lit area.
Second, not every case follows the same pattern. Some cases will require you to think outside of methodology from the previous case. My brother-in-law and I ran into a case that really stumped us halfway through. We finally ended up looking at the answer on one of the cards to get us back on track. What seemed a little obscure in the moment actually made sense. I haven’t run into a case yet that felt like the designers tried cheap tricks or that a clue was unattainable.
Third, MicroMacro Full House is an excellent solo or small group experience. I’ve played this with my wife (didn’t like it), two of my kids (loved it) and multiple extended family members. The game is solid at up to 3 players. Once you get a 4th person around the table, it begins feeling a little crowded. I’ve actually been surprised at how much I enjoyed playing MicroMacro just by myself. Even though gaming is a social activity for me, I find myself unfolding this huge map and solving a crime on my own just because it’s so enjoyable.
Welcome to Crime City
I can’t say that MicroMacro Full House is for everyone. My wife Erin really didn’t care for it after digging into 2 cases with me. Gamers who don’t enjoy problem solving or trying to figure out a puzzle may not click with this game. For those who enjoy this style of gameplay, the world of MicroMacro is rich and full of life.
As I dig into the last couple cases of MicroMacro Full House, I’m excited to see more of this wild city that fills our dining room table. If I had any real criticism for the game it would be that the little flimsy magnifying glass could have been a lot better. You might as well grab one at your local dollar store, it will be a dollar well spent.
My experiences with MicroMacro Full House is such a fun experience whether you’re playing with friends, family or all by yourself. I’ll be a little sad when I solve that final case but I can definitely say that I’ve had a great time in the streets of “Crime City”.
MicroMacro: Crime City – Full House is available at your local game store or online through Amazon.
- The map is gigantic and filled with awesome detail
- Excellent variety of cases to solve
- Really enjoyable as a solo experience
- The 16 cases can only be played once
- Magnifying glass in the game is not great