Microgames enjoyed popularity during the 1980s and have seen a revival with the popularity of tabletop games in the 21st century. The term generally refers to board games or wargames which were packaged and sold with instructions and maps or playing surfaces printed in a booklet format, or as one large sheet folded until it became "pocket sized" (approximately 4×7 inches). Game pieces (also known as chits or counters) were printed on one or more sheets of thick paper which the player sometimes had to cut for themselves. Other microgames had fully die-cut cardboard sheets like those included with most board wargames. Steve Jackson Games used the Pocket Box to package many of their games in this format.
While small scale wargames and board games, including Tabletop Games' Micro Series Games, had existed before they began publishing, Metagaming Concepts first used the term "MicroGame" when they released Ogre, MicroGame #1 in 1977.
Some publishers of microgames include:
- Alderac Entertainment Group, publishers of Love Letter
- Cheapass Games
- Dark City Games
- "Good Little Games".
- Game Designers' Workshop (defunct)
- Metagaming Concepts (defunct)
- Operational Studies Group
- Perplext, makers of the Pack O Game series of microgames.
- Simulations Publications, Inc. (defunct)
- Steve Jackson Games
- Task Force Games (defunct)
- "Tasty Minstrel Games".
- Tri Tac Games
- TSR, Inc. (defunct)
Nanogames are smaller than microgames and often consist of nine or fewer cards, with a few other components. While there is no firm definition of a nanogame, several games have been so labeled. . Coin Age, created by Adam P. MacIver has been marketed through Kickstarter and is available as a "print-n-play", as is "Orchard", which was sold by The Game Crafter and will be available commercially soon. Where Are Thou, Romeo, created by Crash Games as an add-on to their microgame Council of Verona, is a well-reviewed nanogame.
- While the exact definition of "microgame" is not fixed, many games have been so called, and Where Art Thou, Romeo? was the first self-styled "nanogame Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine". Johnson, Mark (October 23, 1999). "Microgame HQ FAQ: What is a microgame?". Microgame HQ.
- Brown, Peter (September 6, 2014). "Series 2 games - Micro Warfare". life in miniature.
- Scoleri III, Joseph (March 2, 2002). "The Metagaming MicroGame Games, Page 1". The Maverick's Classic Microgames Museum.
- "The Maverick's Classic Microgames Museum". by Joseph Scoleri III