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Micro Game Publishers?

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ruy343
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I've recently had an epiphany while designing a micro game and I was wondering where I might look to find out more about the micro game segment of the board game industry. Specifically: are there any publishers that focus on micro games? And do micro games have a shot in the marketplace?

The Odd Fox
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Micro Games

The popularity of micro games goes up and down. It used to be a big thing and really seemed to be ramping up then it kind of died off again. That's not to say they don't still hit the market. 3 Wishes is a micro game that did relatively well last year and was even on one of the hot lists from GenCon 2016. They've just fallen out of favor in general.

I love micro games and most of what I design seems to fall in this space. I hope to see an upward swing in the market for these kinds of games because many of them are really well done.

Button Shy Games only does micro games and has a lot of cool ideas. They even do contests occasionally.

Gabe
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Button Shy Games specializes

Button Shy Games is the main publisher I know of as well.

Here's a contest they're running right now:

http://buttonshygames.com/pages/button-shy-wallet-game-contest

ruy343
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Dang!

That publisher looks perfect, but I just happen to have double the number of cards that they're asking for, and I don't think that I could get away with doubling them up (upside-down from each other)... Gonna have to find another route...

At what size is a game considered a micro? 18 cards or less?

questccg
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That's um some kind of contest alright...

Are these contests designed for kids? Because $100 is not going to get anyone very far ... I just dropped $200 on "Faction Bios" and "Intel Reports", all part of our "World-Building" initiative for "Tradewars - Homeworld".

But they do offer the option of "possibly" being considered for Publication. That's something interesting (to all designers)!

I dislike designing with "constraints". My designs are mostly a "creative endeavors" that are linked to thought and inspiration (comes from all kinds of sources...) I can't say "only X cards" or "only Y pages of rules". That's not how my design process works. I'm probably in the minority...

Gabe
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questccg wrote:Are these

questccg wrote:
Are these contests designed for kids? Because $100 is not going to get anyone very far ... I just dropped $200 on "Faction Bios" and "Intel Reports", all part of our "World-Building" initiative for "Tradewars - Homeworld".

Yeah, no one's entering these for the money. Considering the opportunity cost of the amount of time it takes to create even a micro game would make that $100 not even close to worth it.

But as most of us do this for the love of the game (so to speak), the $100 is a nice bonus.

Also, for a contest like this, I wouldn't dare spend a dime on art or anything like that.

radioactivemouse
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I think...

The Odd Fox wrote:
The popularity of micro games goes up and down. It used to be a big thing and really seemed to be ramping up then it kind of died off again. That's not to say they don't still hit the market. 3 Wishes is a micro game that did relatively well last year and was even on one of the hot lists from GenCon 2016. They've just fallen out of favor in general.

I love micro games and most of what I design seems to fall in this space. I hope to see an upward swing in the market for these kinds of games because many of them are really well done.

Button Shy Games only does micro games and has a lot of cool ideas. They even do contests occasionally.

I think micro-games are up and down because a good micro-game comes out and everyone thinks they can design one so the market floods with micro-crap that the "trend" goes down until another good micro game appears.

Marketing also helps too...

It's the same trend that's happening with Cards Against Humanity...everyone and their publishing brother is coming out with "dirty Apples-to-Apples" games that many aren't being original...just re-skins of other games.

ruy343
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Nail, meet hammer

I agree, Radioactivemouse; micro game popularity likely comes and goes as a result of one or two microgames that make it, followed by copycats trying to make a buck off of quickly-designed garbage.

And frankly, my designs are likely not far from there... but I'll keep practicing...

After reading your responses, I've taken a good, hard look at what I'm putting into my game as it stands, and I realized that my game could be trimmed down to the card constrains given by Buttonshy.

That said, what would make you buy a microgame? Would it be art? Packaging (like the cute Love Letter bag)? Price Point (<$10)? Player count? Play time? What is it about microgames that makes them tick?

The Odd Fox
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What makes them tick for me

ruy343 wrote:

That said, what would make you buy a microgame? Would it be art? Packaging (like the cute Love Letter bag)? Price Point (<$10)? Player count? Play time? What is it about microgames that makes them tick?

When a micro game is done right then all the fluff is taken out of the game. It's been stripped down to the core mechanics. I love to see how the designer overcomes obstacles to keep the card count to a minimum. Avignon and Ahead in the Clouds are both games that do this very well. Ahead in the Clouds is a euro style game that has a lot of depth for being nothing more than a few cards. Art and theme can be important as well and may cause me to look at the game in the first place, but I won't invest money unless I see that there's a unique and well thought out experience through the mechanics of the game.

lewpuls
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I'd call these "super-micro"

I'd call these "super-micro" games. "Microgames" used to be games with a board and quite a few pieces, looks like all of Buttonshy's published games are cards only (changed for latest contest, coins added).

Micro (of whatever kind) succeeds because $12 or so is not much more than a movie ticket (or two at matinee), not much more than many meals out. People don't think much about spending $12, compared with spending $60.

radioactivemouse
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Good micro-gsme?

ruy343 wrote:
I agree, Radioactivemouse; micro game popularity likely comes and goes as a result of one or two microgames that make it, followed by copycats trying to make a buck off of quickly-designed garbage.

And frankly, my designs are likely not far from there... but I'll keep practicing...

After reading your responses, I've taken a good, hard look at what I'm putting into my game as it stands, and I realized that my game could be trimmed down to the card constrains given by Buttonshy.

That said, what would make you buy a microgame? Would it be art? Packaging (like the cute Love Letter bag)? Price Point (<$10)? Player count? Play time? What is it about microgames that makes them tick?

Price point shouldn't be a primary reason people buy a micro-game, it should ALWAYS be gameplay and other factors. People are already assuming that something so small is going to be cheap, just don't come to the table with an 18 card micro-game that sells for $30.

To me, it's two things: theme and gameplay. The theme has to get people at least hooked in to playing the game and the gameplay is what should keep them coming back.

I think a game of that size should bring something to the table that no other game has brought (or something so different from what anyone's seen before). Technically, a micro-game should only be 18 cards, though you don't have to adhere to that standard.

However, an example of a micro-game I played where I was impressed by the components is Anachronism, but I what got me to play this game was the theme and the gameplay. Looks and components ARE important, but it shouldn't be the primary like i said in the beginning.

larienna
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It's true that the definition

It's true that the definition of a micro game is pretty vague. Some consider coin age to be a micro game (1 card with coins). Other consider love letter or microcosm to be a micro game (12-18 cards). Other consider a 1 sheet game to be a micro game.

Still, with the increasing price of game, I suspect that there is now better reasons to design good game that are very small and use little components. Because pieces, space and shipping is expensive.

But it's not because it's micro that it has to be a fluffy party game. I think designers should still try to make deep games with very few pieces.

It's a challenge I am imposing to myself that I am finding very interesting because you are using all the pieces of your game at maximum capacity which justify the presence of every component in your game. It tends to make more elegant design and force you to be more creative there fore making you create more unique mechanics.

RobtheCramer
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AEG has been consistently

AEG has been consistently publishing microgames, so that is one I would definitely check out. They've imported microgames from Japan, but have also published original designs.

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