Updated: Sep 29
Packaged in a 3" by 2" tiny tin box just over half an inch thick, Nikita Sullivan's Mini Memory Mischief certainly has no difficulty justifying the first part of its title: this is one of the smallest small-box games we've seen.
Open the box and you'll find small player boards, fold-up shields, some conventional six-sided dice and a bag full of 26 tiny A-Z letter cubes: the square beads used to thread children's name bracelets. The idea of the game is that you start each turn with four letter cubes behind your screen. You can take an action as shown by the roll of a die, plus a free action of your choice.
The Push action lets you place a cube out on the next position on your stack. It doesn't have to be the next letter consecutive to the last one placed but, to score positively at the end of the game, it has to be beyond that letter in the alphabet. If, perhaps due to Mischief (more on that anon) you end up with a letter out of sequence (an E after a Y, for example), it'll score -2 points at the end of the game, tho' of course it may have opened up more opportunities to lay down letters on subsequent turns.
The Pop action lets you take the letter at the top of your stack and pop it out of the game. It's a way, in the example above, of getting rid of a Y on which there is only one letter you can play without scoring negative points.
If you were wondering about the Memory part of the game's title, it comes in as the Peek action. No prizes for guessing that Peek means you can peek at the letter cubes screened behind your opponent's shield. Since you draw up to four letter cubes only at the start of your turn, a Peek action will mostly give you sight of only three letters (four if the player previously only used a Pop and/or Peek actions) so the Memory requirements are never going to be unduly onerous. Indeed, they are so slight that we'd hesitate to describe MMM as a memory game.
On the other hand, there's certainly plenty of scope for Mischief - the fourth action. This is the 'take that' element of play, allowing you to Push a letter on top of your opponent's stack or Pop a letter off the top off their stack.
Taking any action generally blocks that action from being repeated on your next turn, so there's strategy in deciding when to take a specific action having regard to the plays that your opponent has open to them on their next turn...
Notwithstanding our reservation about the Memory element in Mini Memory Mischief, this tiny tin box game will be a welcome buy or gift for anyone looking for a quick two-player game. You can expect a game to take just 10 minutes, so, coupled with its size, this really is the ideal compact travel game. What we've shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype. The version being launched on Kickstarter will have better printed card and paper components but the core components will be similar. Click here to check out the KS and to back this pocket-money price game.