Minuscule is a game about bugs, tiny bugs fighting for position on a track. Now that might sound a bit silly, but keep in mind you’ll be making all the moves that determine where the fly, snail, grasshopper, bee, ladybug, wasp and caterpillar end up, and you’ll have a vested interest in where they do. Players will get secret goal cards dealt to them at the start of the game that will inform them the position they want some of the bugs to end up. The closer to the front of the line they end up, the more points it’s worth!
Designed by Juhwa Lee and published by Bombyx and Asmodee, Minuscule is a kids game for 2-6 players. The rules are dead simple (as they should be) but there are mechanics that will teach deduction and achieving secret goals in an easily digestible fashion for younger players.
The game starts with each player getting two secret goal cards. That will determine which bug they want to reach the number one position when the race ends. The better your bugs’ position, the more points you’ll earn. The track is created by laying out the track cards 1-7 in order. Each track card has both a number and an object (like an acorn or stone) on it. Then one at time players will choose an insect to add to the board determining the opening positions.
Move cards are dealt out based on the number of players (which will also determine the number of rounds you’ll have). Most move cards feature a bug, for example the grasshopper, that will be moved forward or backward the indicated number of spaces. All the other bugs will shuffle along to fill in the gap. Other move cards might feature an object or objects, like the brick and the walnut. This indicates that whatever bugs are on those spots will move forward or back, but they both must go in the same direction.
There are some special cards that show up in Minuscule as well. Run For Your Life allows you to move the bug at the start of the line all the way to the back. Bad Encounter gives you the option of changing one of your goal cards or forcing an opponent to do so. If you feel like someone is having a particularly good run, it can really mess up their plans to have their goals rearranged.
The game ends when the last move card is played. Players reveal their goal cards and points are awarded depending on where your bugs finished. The player with the most points wins!
There is an ant variant to Minuscule, for a slightly tougher experience. After the opening positions have been established the bug in the last spot will have their clear stand replaced with a black stand. Then each player in turn will have the option of passing or taking an ant token. Once everyone has made their decision the game is played out normally. At the end of the game if the bug with the black stand is in one of the top three positions, anyone with an ant token will score an additional five points. If they failed to make one of the top spots then everyone holding an ant token will lose three points. It ups the ante a bit and gives everyone a bit more to play for.
The art in Minuscule is for the most part simple, but the bugs themselves are delightfully cute. I could see the whole gang starring in the next Pixar adventure. Everything is wrapped up in an awesome, tiny tin box. The perfect fit for a game about little insects.
Minuscule is a fun kids game that will introduce budding gamers to some concepts that they’ll encounter in more complex fare down the road. They’ll have to think critically to get their own bugs to the front of the line and determine which bugs their opponents care about. If you have a young gamer in your life or hope to convert someone to the hobby, Minuscule is a great introduction to our world.