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Dr. Microbe is a dexterity puzzle game that is fun and quick for the whole family. I can’t keep my five-year-old away from it long enough to get pictures for my review.
In the game are four different microbe shapes (I nicknamed them Pickle, Sponge, Snake, and Suitcase for description purposes). Each microbe comes in three different colors: red, blue, and green.
|The four microbe shapes.|
These viruses come in a single Petri dish with multiples of each virus and color. Players use the provided tweezers to place the viruses into their own divided Petri dishes. Each player dish contains four areas. The first area is half the dish and is reserved for the superbug, and the other three areas are equally sized and homes for individual microbes. A completed dish requires one of each shape in each of the four areas, and the three microbes in the smaller areas cannot match the color of the superbug.
|A completed dish; all four shapes with no color matching the superbug. (The superbug is the red sponge.)|
Players compete all at the same time. A card is drawn that shows a matching Petri dish with 1 to 4 specific microbes shown. Players attempt to complete the dish in any legal way with the shown microbes. The player who finishes first collects a number of cards to represent their score based on how many players there are and where they finished compared to the other players. Once a player reaches a predetermined number of points, they win.
Let’s start with the rules. The rules are easy to follow and easier to explain. They come in a quick, complete, and thorough format that is clean and easy to follow.
Setup is a snap. Each player takes their supplies and the game starts. Cleanup is just as easy.
This is definitely a dexterity game, but it adds a little bit of a puzzle component by allowing players to complete their dish in a way that follows the rules. I like that aspect because it takes more than being fast with your hands. Since there is a limited supply of microbes, finding the right one can take a little bit of time, so being able to think about all of the options to complete a puzzle when you fill in a blank becomes a valuable skill.
The doctor or lab theme seems to be complete in the game. There is nothing really out of place as far as theme goes.
The gameplay is quick and simple to follow and provides a quick filler game useful for family time. Players can control the game length by deciding how many points to play to.
The components have lasted the abuse of my five children, so that deserves some kind of quality award. The box is well packed and allows for fast setup and put-away.
The Good: The game is quick, clean, easy and just a touch deeper than most dexterity games.
The Bad: Old dad fingers don’t have quite the dexterity of 10-year-old fingers. Sometimes I can outwit them, but rarely can I keep up with placement when the cards come out with more microbes shown. As far as the game itself, for the role it fills you can’t say much bad.
Final Thoughts: I like Dr. Microbe as a family-friendly, quick-to-learn, quick-to-play filler game that requires a little brain power. We found that differences in age (above 8) didn’t really have much affect on the balance of the game.
Players Who Like: Jenga, Slapjack, Operation, and other fast paced family games will love Dr. Microbe.
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Dave Merrell is a Professional Structural Engineer who specializes in Zip Lines and Challenge Courses. When he’s not swinging in the trees (or sharpening his pencil) he’s playing games, most often with some or all of his 5 kids. Dave lives in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.