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Microgames: Small, Quick, Cheap...Played?
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Microgames! They're small -- only a few cards or tiles! They're cheap -- buy 'em by the dozen! They play quickly -- great for fillers! I know they predate Love Letter, but that seemed to be the one that kicked off the most recent microgame craze.

Most of us have one or more of them. They promise inexpensive gaming on the go! But do they get played? That's the question.
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1. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:220]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Popular enough that it's bred branded spinoffs and a demand for Seiji Kanai's other games, it may not have invented the genre, but it stands as a pretty good defining example of it.

Does it get played? My copy does, from time to time.
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2. Board Game: Coin Age [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2939]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Very clever area control game using only a card map and coins.

Does it get played? Not by me, though I have a copy. There just isn't any situation where I'm somewhere with this, a pile of coins, and the desire to play a game that isn't something else.
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3. Board Game: Cypher [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4724]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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On the heels of Love Letter, this is a very similar "few cards" game with cyberpunk theme.

Does it get played? No, sadly. I like it, but it plays best with four and even when I have it with me the situation doesn't come up. Plus, I'd always have to teach it.
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4. Board Game: Burgoo [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:7298]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Miniature tile game about making soup. I went for this on Kickstarter.

Does it get played? Nah. This was a case where we didn't care for it, so I got rid of it.
 
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5. Board Game: BraveRats [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1866]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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Another Kanai design, this is essentially 2-player Love Letter. Cute and clever.

Does it get played? I liked it, but as with Coin Age, there just isn't a situation where this is is going to get played. I don't own it anymore.
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6. Board Game: Kobayakawa [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2302]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Coin Age got dethroned by Love Letter.
Love Letter got dethroned by this.

15 cards & a stack of chips (coins, tokens, meeples, any counter really). Terrific gameplay with 3-6P. Feels like a micro- Cockroach Poker in some ways.

Does it get played? 11 times this year ain't bad.
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7. Board Game: 6 nimmt! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:594]
Gabor B.
Hungary
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Fully fun-packed, and easily introduced to new players.

Does it get played? Maybe my most played micro.
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8. Board Game: Maxi Yatzy [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:15615]
Hanne Beate
Norway
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An old classic I play with our 6 year old son. He likes to roll dice and this also helps his addition skills.
 
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9. Board Game: Where Art Thou Romeo? [Average Rating:4.97 Overall Rank:16144]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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A very light social deduction game. Juliet is trying to find Romeo, other characters are trying to get her to pick right or wrong.

Does it get played? Nope. Backed it, sold it. Don't think this one ever got a single play.
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10. Board Game: This Town Ain't Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:3547]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Light tile-placement majority-control game.

Does it get played? Not really. Backed it, played it a couple of times, sold it.
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11. Board Game: Province [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2467]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Light two-player worker-placement resource-management game.

Does it get played? Not really. Backed it, played it a couple of times, sold it.
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12. Board Game: In Security [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:8338]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Can't remember much about this one other than it's about using dice from a pool to fuel actions.

Does it get played? Not really. Backed it, played it a couple of times, sold it.
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13. Board Game: GEM [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:4873]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Clever little game of auctions and set collection.

Does it get played? Not really. Played it a couple of times when I got it, but hasn't been off the shelf yet this year. Hasn't been sold off yet, but probably will.
 
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14. Board Game: Tides of Time [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:882]
Dave Lartigue
United States
Springfield
Massachusetts
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I guess this counts, even though the cards are large. It's a neat drafting game, with some decisions to be had in it.

Does it get played? It has, and my wife didn't seem to mind it, but it hasn't come out in a while, and I'm not sure how many plays there are in it anyhow.
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15. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1049]
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
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You kids nowadays. laugh



Originally released in 1977, Ogre, by Steve Jackson -- yes, *that* Steve Jackson -- was the first of several "hex and chit" wargames in a pocket-sized line of wargames called Microgames, by Metagaming. Ogre's the only game that's survived 30+ years, although my favorites are Chitin (a bug-based wargame) and Rivits (a B-grade robots wargame). (Two other Microgames by Steve Jackson, Melee and Wizard, would later return in another form as his GURPS RPG.)

Ogre has returned in its original format for $3, and is an excellent introduction to "hex and chit" wargames. Kids will get a kick from playing the single humongous Ogre cybertank against Dad's puny forces!
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