Micons is a stocking-filler size small box children's game from Gigamic aimed at pre-schoolers but it's a game that older children and adults can happily join in to play with them.
Micons is played with double-sided cards. On one side the cards display an object, attractively illustrated by Elen Lescoat. On the other, the card offers a characteristic. The characteristic can be a shape, colour, sound, taste or smell. The 2–4 players each start with a row of five face-up object cards. In the centre of the table, a card is turned to its characteristic side and you will be trying to match up that characteristic with an object from your five-card lineup. That's usually quite easy if the characteristic is a colour. The shapes demand more careful observation. For example, one of the shapes is a triangle and children may not immediately spot that that corresponds to the segments of the sliced orange on an object card.
Find a match and you discard your object card. It flips to its characteristic side and that becomes the characteristic that the next player has to match. If you can't find a match, you draw another card and add it to your tableau. The winner is the first player to discard all their cards and exhaust their tableau.
There's no denying that, in Micons, Marine Faraguna has designed an easy-to-play and entertaining game with a strong educational element for the toddlers that play it. Young children will find some of the characteristics quite challenging - both in searching out less obvious shapes and in spotting more abstract associations such as 'nice smell' or 'spicy' - but that adds to the game's educational value.
Picking up another object card when you're unable to find a match introduces a catch-up mechanism because it makes subsequent matches more likely. However, the corollary is also true: each successful match reduces your tableau of object cards and reduces the likelihood of finding a match on your next turns. This can stretch the game out and make it frustrating for some youngsters unless they happen to benefit from good fortune when they are down to their last card.
We've especially enjoyed the discussion and debate prompted by Micons as children become increasingly inventive in justifying the association of objects with smells or noise. This is a game that pre-schoolers will enjoy and it's one where they'll certainly learn while playing.