I think it was the year that Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain for the Oscar that I really gave up on the Academy Awards. Sure, Best Picture winners are likely to be good movies, but are they really the best of the year? Can anyone say that about something so subjective? Now when I see that award on a film, I take it with a grain of salt.
The same can be said in the world of board games and the most coveted award, the Spiel des Jahres. Winning is a great honour and can result in thousands of extras copies sold, but is it the true best game of the year? I look at those winners with a critical eye, understanding the level of politics, campaigning, and history that goes into awarding the red pawn every year. Sometimes they nail it and award a game that really deserves it. At other times, the winner can be a real head scratcher.
So when MicroMacro: Crime City won the SdJ this year, I didn’t feel the need to rush out and buy it. That need came right after I played it for the first time and saw just how deserving this game was.
I’m a big fan of innovation in gaming. When someone finds a new way to deliver a mechanism of invents an all new mechanism, that gets me very excited. It opens up a world of possibility. That is what I feel Johannes Sich has done with MMCC. Although in many ways the concept is not new, the game-ifying of it is so smart.
MMCC is essentially a giant (and I do mean giant) map of a bustling city full of activity…and crime it seems. Throughout the streets, parks, businesses, and homes there are a number of different mysteries to solve. Brilliantly, you can get the core concept of the game right from the box cover. The first mystery is laid out for you; who killed the Hamburger vendor? Now, this is a pretty simplified version of the mysteries you’ll play in the game, but it gets the point across and it’s enough to make you want to dive into the box and explore the game further.
One of the things that sets MMCC apart from say a Where’s Waldo type of image, is that it shows the city at different times of day. You can follow the progress of a subject through the town or trace their actions backwards to gain more information.
So, Crime City seems to be just that; a city filled with a number of crimes taking place all over. Included in the game are a number of different cases that you need to solve. Some involve murder, some are robberies, and some are just silly adventures you can follow along with. There are 16 different cases included in the base set with different levels of difficulty.
Also included is a ‘magnifying glass,’ but I’m going to go ahead and recommend you supply your own or even a few. The included one leaves something to be desired and you can really use some supplemental help making out a lot of those small, important details.
Now there are going to be some people who ask, is this really a game? To them I say, shut up goober. Let people enjoy this awesome experience without having to definitely label it one way or the other. MMCC has been a hit with everyone I’ve taught it to. It’s so appealing that there is already a sequel out, MicroMacro Crime City: Full House.
I highly recommend this game. It’s one of the SdJ winners that really deserves the victory. It’s innovative, fun, and will appeal to a wide audience. Just the sort of thing you want as an award-winner in our hobby.