Minuscule is a two- to six-player race game by designer Juhwa Lee with art from the animated French film and television series of the same name. The game is for ages 7 and up and plays in about 15 minutes.
From Moonster and Asmodee, Minuscule has a suggested price of $14.99 and can be found for about $10.50 at online stores.
In Minuscule, seven bugs are racing to a sugar cube at the front of a line. This is a reskinning of the Korean game Dark Horse.
How it works:
Players get two goal cards, which they keep secret. They have a picture of a bug, so players will get points for that bug depending on which position it ends the race.
Players choose a bug in turn order, lining it up before or after the last one placed. Then the bugs are moved to the appropriate cards, from 1 to 7, which make up the race track.
Each person is dealt from five to eight movement cards, depending on the number of players. Movement cards are played in turn, and all of them must be played by the end of the game.
They have a number and a picture of one or two of the race locations or a bug. The player can moves bugs according to the card each turn. A couple of special cards allow for switching goals and moving the bug in third place to the end of the line.
Play continues all cards have been played. Then players reveal their goal cards and add up the points for their bugs. The person with the most points wins.
In an advanced version of the game, players can bet on the bug in last place, which is tracked with a black base. If it reaches third place or higher, players who bet on the bug get five points. But they lose three if the bug fails to make it to the top three.
Why you might buy Minuscule:
This game is a pleasure to look at. The combination of animated characters with real backgrounds comes through on the cards, and the production quality is fantastic.
Despite this game being marketed for children, it’s fun for adults, too. The strategy is in deciding when to play your cards, trying to make it look like you’re rooting for a different bug than you are, all the while trying to move your bugs ahead. And because there are multiples in the goal cards, more than one player might be trying to move the same bug.
The points system works well, and the advanced game adds an interesting twist.
Kids will love this game simply because of how it looks, but they’ll learn a lot about bluffing and trying to reach their goals.
The price is fantastic.
Why you might not buy Minuscule:
There are a couple of critical rules missing: what happens if you play a card that moves the player in first place forward or the player in last place back. You’ll have to come up with a house rule for this case.
While 7-year-olds could conceivably play Minuscule, they won’t be able to play as well as the adults. For very young players, you might consider making the goals public instead of secret until the get the hang of how it works.
This is a lovely surprise. It’s hard to find a children’s game that is really engaging and challenging for adults, and Minuscule succeeds.
Plus it’s just ridiculously cute without being obnoxious. For just over $10, this game is a win for any family.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of Minuscule from Asmodee Editions. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.