What is Microbiz?
Microbiz is a little simulated economy, “Business in a nutshell.” It’s a hybrid cooperative / competitive game for 3-6 players. Farms and factories make things. Cars, trucks, and boats deliver them. Contract cards provide a way to sell goods to off-board buyers, bringing new money into the game.
So where’s the excitement? Cooperation. Making deals! You need each other. Many factories need each other’s output to create their own products. Everyone needs food. Goods need transporting. The lone wolf usually loses. So the dealing never stops – and any deal is legal! Everyone is trying to get the best of the deal, and with multiple players jumping in to make a better offer, it sometimes comes to shouting! (Watch the video, right in the middle are some great examples.)
This little board game turns out to be really realistic! So much so that all kinds of real-world business situations naturally arise, just in the process of dealing: joint ventures • joint or community ownership of property • loans at interest • pay in advance, pay on completion, pay when I get paid • noncompete agreements • and more.
- Properties are factories: they allow you to make things.
- Contract cards create opportunities to sell goods and make money.
- Use cars, trucks, and boats to move around the board and deliver those goods.
- Invest profits to buy more industries and build your business empire.
- Players are interdependent, even while competing. Industries need each other!
- Make deals among players — any deal is legal! Anything you hold can be sold.
- When the dealing’s done, the richest one wins.
Watch the video!
How it works
Properties give you the power to make things. Properties need each other’s products. Example: wood from a farm is needed to make a boat. So you often need to order goods from other players.
Contract cards create opportunities to sell goods and make money. Deliver the goods to the destination to get the payoff. Free-for-all cards create a public opportunity, a race!
But those are only the mechanics. The excitement begins when the dealing begins – and that’s almost immediately. You need each other – you have to deal – and everything is up for grabs! Will I pick up or will you deliver? Pay in advance or pay on completion? In what time frame? Oh, and just as we’re about to close the deal, a third player jumps in with a more competitive offer! The shouting can get heated!
And that’s only the beginning. Complex, multi-part deals happen: I’ll get you these three commodities, you produce those two, and together we’ll split the proceeds of a big free-for-all that just came up. Need a little extra money to buy that business? Oh, just propose a loan at interest. Someone will do it, if the interest rate is attractive.
Oh, and accidents happen! You can get a flat tire. Pests can reduce your food supply. And if you run out of food, starvation! You will be disabled until you can persuade someone to rescue you…which they will, if the price is right! And that may completely change the course of the game.
Microbiz, as well as being fun, teaches real business skills! Consider it for use in homeschooling and education.
“As a homeschool Mom as well as an avid board game player growing up, I cannot say enough good things about this game of Microbiz. We’ve hosted several MicroBiz games in our home and have NEVER seen a group of teens having more fun making deals and interacting so enjoyably–so much laughter–these kids as well as adults are actually learning the ins and outs of business while having the BEST time.
“Growing up I thought Monopoly was the best game out there–but it truly pales in comparison to Ken Brook’s most wonderful new game of MICROBIZ!!!
“The several hours it takes to play this game is not just several hours of silly laughter and fun….It’s several hours invested in learning how to deal, how to grow a business, problem solving, and so much more! I have heard my kids say many times “This is the BEST game out there! It’s Genius!”
– Robin Overstreet, mother of 2 teens, early purchaser of Microbiz
“This is the most fun I’ve had all Christmas!”
– Heidi Palethorpe, age 15
Contact us! microbiz at sparklight.com