MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House once again ensures cooperative search image fun. Author Johannes Sich has simply added new cases to his detective game - that alone provides entertainment, because the basic idea is terrific. Nevertheless, there are deductions in the B grade, because the second part is no longer really innovative. After all, that was a great strength of the Hidden Object debut in the board game segment.


Crime City, a city full of crime and criminals, is the setting for an unusual detective adventure for up to four players. Already in the predecessor MicroMacro: Crime City of almost the same name, it was about solving crimes in the black and white metropolis. The suffix “Full House” now indicates: There is work for the investigators again.

Contrast hidden object for detectives

The game designer Johannes Sich remains true to the trade: after La Cosa Nostra, he has already made the leap into the ranks of designers who have been awarded the Game of the Year. With a “minimal set of rules”, the game packs the basic themes of jealousy, deceit and resentment as sweet as sugar in tongue-in-cheek drawings that are lovingly detailed. This is the verdict of the jury of the Spiel des Jahres eV in its description of the debut that won the red pawn in 2021. 

The new part MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House is now supposed to build on the success of its predecessor with 16 cases and increased complexity. Symbols are now used as parent markers for the possibility of pre-sorting. In this way, younger investigators can also benefit from solving age-appropriate cases. 

The fact that this title was given a successor is no coincidence and no surprise either: with well over half a million sales, translations in 31 languages ​​and awards in several countries, the MicroMacro brand has long been a worldwide phenomenon. There was no reason for major changes to the game concept: Once again, players have to work together as a team to solve cases using question cards and search the game board for clues. The investigators' talent for combination is strongly required.

MicroMacro Crime City Full House review

Introductory or minor cases in the sequel? Take some fun for experienced gamers. Photo: Volkmann

It was announced early on that there would be a successor. At the end of the summer the second part appeared, which is likely to have found its way under the fir trees many times over the Christmas period. Rightly so, so much can already be revealed at this point: MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House is an easy-to-understand, but extremely entertaining game for fans of cooperative or tricky titles. If you want, you can approach “Full House” as a solo detective again, but it is much more fun with support.

There is no innovation 

As with other sequels, there are reservations with MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House: does it need the second part? Do you need more of the same? Did you go out of the way to twist the concept in order to develop the gaming experience? 

The second part isn't really that innovative. Rather, it exists because the cow can be milked. The publisher and author are allowed, because as uniformly as “Full House” may play in the shadow of its predecessor, it is once again a fun experience for the whole family. The creators are now focusing on the aspect of the family game through the assigned symbols: Parents can sort out topics that children cannot or should not start with in advance. Clever. 

MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House is only partly an adult game. Most of the tasks can also be solved with young investigators. The reason for this is simple: You only have to understand the individual (search) actions and not be able to grasp and understand the overall picture of a case.

There is a reason for criticism in the similarity between parts one and two, because based on the experience you have gained, you can make much faster progress and get along better with the Crime City game plan. It is designed in the same way, but shows a different section from the city of crime. And because you have now sharpened your detective eye, you often make discoveries that are relevant for later cases. This cannot be avoided, was already part of the gaming experience with the debut title, but it is a shame because it further lowers the level of difficulty. 

The idea of ​​adding new entry cases to the successor, of all people, is incomprehensible. Experienced players worked through them quickly. In MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House, the game principle is already showing signs of wear and tear, at least for those players who have plowed their way through the first part, which was still felt to be innovative. Whoever gets into the row with MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House has neither one nor the other problem. Nevertheless, the second part actually seems to be intended as a sequel, as the new map section suggests. Anyone who expects crisp challenges after completing the "basic game" could be partially disappointed, but not bored, because the idea takes effect again if the game does not disturb you. 

Both games should therefore probably be viewed as independent. It is not a real continuation; at best, improvements can be recognized at all. So let's pretend that the predecessor never existed. How good is MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House then?

The spark of nostalgia

Anyone who comes into contact with the MicroMacro concept for the first time will notice the grandiose basic idea: Mixing deductive board game elements with hidden object fun from the eighties is refreshingly new to the scene. On 75 x 110 centimeters there is black and white city life in all its facets - and therefore also with numerous crimes. 

Game test MicroMacro Crime City Full House

Better with a magnifying glass: The game comes with a visual aid, but it is only marginally enlarged. Photo: Volkmann

Instead of a game board, a poster is at the center of the action. The residents of Crime City scurry around on it, go about their everyday life, with all the legal and illegal actions that one knows from life. The “city map” is full of it - and 16 cases revolve around the most informative acts. Questions are printed on the cards that reflect the course of the crime. Anyone who has MicroMacro on the table for the first time is impressed, no, thrilled, by the simple idea of ​​combining the charm of worn-out hidden objects with a board game. And then there is still a bit of nostalgia: The thought of a day with your grandparents comes up, you sit on the sofa, leaf through the TV newspaper and look for a bird in a colorful bustle on the last page. One likes to remember. 

Anyone who expects a colorful search game for children from MicroMacro is wrong. The stories and motives behind the crimes have grown up. Players can solve the cases by clever combinations. Searching the game board is motivating, you have a lot to discover - especially as a complete newbie. MicroMacro presents itself as a special feature: hardly any rules, little “real game”, a lot of innovation with a cool look. Somehow a work for nerds, but also not, because children are magically drawn to the idea. 

Older investigators fail in the cases not because of a lack of combination skills, but because of their poor eyesight: recognizing every detail on the black and white poster is more difficult than expected. Searching for radio light is a challenge. Basically anyone can play MicroMacro, but somehow not either - for purely physical reasons. It is unusual for a board game to be selected in this way, but it also indicates the rarity of the idea. It is not a game for everyone, but a work for many. MicroMacro entertains, motivates and encourages exchange. In short: it ensures many shared moments at one table. Typical parlor game and thus a valuable experience that you wouldn't want to miss - no leap in quality or not.

Infobox

Number of players: 1 to 4
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 15 to 30 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: low
Genre: Cooperative board game
Sub-genre: Search board game
Core Mechanisms: Deduction, Search, Missions

Authors: Johannes Sich
Illustrations: Daniel Goll, Tobias Jochinke, Johannes Sich
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele / Hard Boiled Games / Edition Spielwiese
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Language: German
Cost: 18 Euro 


Summary

MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House is a sequel that isn't a real-life one. The concept is too close to its predecessor for that. Yes, there are some “Quality of Life” improvements, but they don't make a leap in quality. The second part is therefore not quite as grand as the debut - at least if you can use the predecessor as a yardstick. Anyone who inadvertently encounters MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House, plays the second part as an introductory title, will feel the magic of this refreshing board game. 

In the end, the concept is not as flat as the idea sounds: It is about serious topics and motifs that one knows at least from crime films and from hearsay from real life. Despite the comic-book look, MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House is not just child's play. It's definitely not colorful. Not everything presented is even suitable for children. After all, the publishers have incorporated symbols here to identify this directly. This is at least as clever as the game idea itself.  

The cases are never unsolvable. Always fair, logical, sometimes associated with a search effort. It's fun and motivating. It is not uncommon to find yourself away from the “crime scenes” to see what is going on in the city of crime. 

The great strength of MicroMacro is retained in the second part: You can spend time together, discuss, experience success - in a purely adult group, with children, moderating in a children's group, across generations. MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House remains a small phenomenon, but the idea is already dull. Since Johannes Sich is already working at full speed on the third part, it is to be hoped that the creators still have enough creative tricks and innovations up their sleeves to spice up the gameplay. It would be desirable for the series, which has only really been able to gain momentum since it was awarded the Game of the Year Pöppel. The game didn't need it, it is already enormously successful. Still, you don't want the hidden object board game genre to die out before it's really started to live. 


Author

Last updated on 25.09.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API