MicroMacro: Crime City remains on the road to success: The cooperative detective game series is being expanded by at least two offshoots, as revealed by author Johannes Sich. An app is also planned - and maybe more. 

Hundreds of thousands of copies are of MicroMacro: Crime City and its successor MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House sold; the hidden object game has won prizes around the world and has been translated into over 30 languages. MicroMacro is far from over, as game designer Johannes Sich has now revealed. There are plans.

MicroMacro should come as an app

The innovative hidden object board game has been well received by fans and critics alike. In addition to the "Game of the Year 2021" award, the Hard Boiled Games studio and the publishers Edition Spielwiese and Pegasus Spiele were able to win numerous other prizes. In any case, they want to ride the wave of success a little longer. It quickly became clear that MicroMacro would become a whole series of games. The cooperative detective game was already a sales success even before it was awarded the “red pawn”.

Even if the basically simple game with the oversized black and white poster makes the impression that it could have been developed almost overnight, there is a lot of work behind it. Game designer Johannes Sich revealed this in an interview.

MicroMacro is a team project, “Jojo” clarifies at first. "I developed it together with my two colleagues Daniel Goll and Tobias Jochinke". The three are hard boiled games. This bed game was only possible because game design, illustration and product design were developed in close cooperation.

It was not clear from the start that players would now be dealing with a gigantic hidden object on the table. The connection with the search images known from B video games or the TV newspaper came about more by accident: "Actually, the idea of ​​a hidden object was not at the beginning," says Johannes Sich. “We wanted to make a game where you have to find very tiny pieces of information in a big picture and use them to solve puzzles. We thought crime was a fitting theme for a puzzle mechanic.” It then turned out that a large image with a lot of detail in the crime genre could best be realized by looking at a city from above. "Then we developed the mechanics that the information to be found is actually scenes from a chronological story, and that the puzzle is the uncovering of a crime story," explains the author of the making of MicroMacro: Crime City. Only when the prototypes were finished and tested and the city filled with more and more details did the creators realize that the designed concept looked like a hidden object.

Technical aspects as a challenge

A bit of black ink on a white background. Finished. It wasn't that easy to produce MicroMacro: Crime City: "There were numerous challenges, for example the purely technical aspects," reveals Johannes Sich. The creative minds were faced with numerous questions: How fine can the lines be printed in the offset process? Which paper do you have to use? Which printing company can even produce something like this? How big do the figures have to be so that you can still recognize them? How big does the card have to or can it be? "All of this had to be checked and tested," explains Jojo Sich.

MicroMacro novelties

Creating the cooperative search game with its many details was a challenge - also of a technical nature. Photo: Volkmann

The same applied to the criminal cases: these also had to be tested. "MicroMacro is about stories that players must intuitively understand and understand through tiny images," says the author. "It happens very quickly that the puzzles aren't exciting enough or misunderstandings arise, then the players don't have fun". So the creators kept testing and tweaking, testing again and so on. The game board is huge and contains thousands of details and objects - this is a difficulty from a designer's point of view: "Sometimes an entire district has to be rebuilt if a problem is revealed in a test game," explains Sich. “To ensure that you can constantly make corrections and produce new prototypes, this complex image must be dynamically editable at any time. It was perhaps the greatest challenge to develop the appropriate workflow solutions and file structures.”

Crime again: why?

If you look at Johannes Sich's short but successful board game author's CV, the topic of "crime" literally catches your eye. After the highly acclaimed card game La Cosa Nostra and its expansion, crime is once again the focus of the gameplay in MicroMcro: Crime City. One could assume that the author has a passion for the subject, but it's actually completely different. "I'm not a big crime fanatic, I'm also interested in many other genres," says Johannes Sich. At MicroMacro, the topic arose more inevitably from the mechanics. "Well, and a game in which you really are a detective yourself and actually have to uncover a crime, I've always wanted to do that,"

Johannes Sich received the “Game of the Year 2021” award within a few attempts. As an author, the native of Cologne, meanwhile from Velbert and Düsseldorf and today's Berliner by choice seems to be doing something just right. But there is no magic behind his ideas. His two previous games are "very different". La Cosa Nostra is extremely interactive and competitive, it's all about being as unscrupulous as possible against your fellow players.

“MicroMacro is almost the opposite,” says Sich. "It's completely cooperative, nobody can win, you play together and solve crime puzzles together, it's very simple and accessible."

But: “If there is one thing in common, it might be immersion,” explains the author. "With both games, it was important to me that the players could really experience and empathize with the theme." With La Cosa Nostra, the interactive and aggressive game mechanics created the feeling of really being a powerful mafia boss. With MicroMacro, the cooperative game mechanics - working together as a team to find clues and evidence - and the focus on case-based puzzles made for the experience of really "doing real detective work".

In any case, the jury of the "Spiel des Jahres" association was convinced by the concept, as were other critics and award institutions. The joy at Hard Boiled Games was great, albeit surreal: "It felt completely unreal," says Sich. "A part of me still can't quite believe it."

After the nomination, they were already aware that "we could definitely get the award," they just couldn't really believe in it. "And we didn't have much time to think about it, because we were already in the work marathon for the second part of MicroMacro". It was published in the summer of last year, as is well known MicroMacro: Crime City 2 - Full House and "extends" the game as a stand-alone version with a further 16 cases that play on a new map section.

MicroMacro: There is more to come

The end is far from over after the second spin-off, the story of the deeds and their motives in the "City of Crime" is far from over. Johannes Sich and his team are currently working "at full speed" on the third part of MicroMacro: Crime City. After that it will continue.

"Crime City is a series," says Johannes Sich, "there will be four parts altogether." "And then maybe other things, we'll see." They are also working on a MicroMacro app. The creators obviously have a lot to do: Johannes Sich works full-time on the series. "Designing the game is extremely complex and we are constantly working to deliver new content on a regular basis," says Sich. "Which is really great fun."

The reason for the good sales of MicroMacro: Crime City is not just the award as Game of the Year 2021, but the general boom in the board game industry due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is obvious to game designer Johannes Sich why people play more: “Well, you just sit around at home a lot more”. After the holiday season, many families are likely to be sitting around and brooding over the cases in "Crime City" together - the combination of awards, global phenomenon, Christmas and the pandemic should have boosted sales of MicroMacro: Crime City significantly.


Last updated on 26.01.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API