The Games

Mine-Shaft Gap 

by Matt Nadelhaft

Mine-Shaft Gap simulates a battle for resources on, above, and under the
surface of a lifeless planetoid. Players must seek out valuable resources
and mine them, using the materials to feed their home planets, and inch
closer to victory, while at the same time allocating resources to maintain
or strengthen their forces and fortifications. Drill tanks tunnel beneath
the surface of the planet while drilling stations pound away from above.
Drilling stations are faster and more efficient, but are vulnerable to
attack from above and even capture by enemy troops.


My favorite Microgames were the tactical SF combat games with a twist... the
ones where combat took place in some unique environment. In Hot Spot, it was
the surface of a molten planet with floating platforms. In Black Hole, it
was around a donut-shaped asteroid with a black hole at the center. In Holy
War, it was on a three-dimensional map of space. In Ice War it was frozen
tundra. Now why wasn't there ever a microgame that took place both above and
below ground? It just seemed like a natural and strangely overlooked
setting. Since my two all-time favorite microgames, Rivets and Invasion of
the Air Eaters, also involved the struggle for and use of resources (but
not, thank Metagaming, to Eurogame levels), I thought there could be no
better explanation for drilling and fighting undergound than resource
extraction. Frankly, I'm still surprised that Metagaming never published
this exact game. or


 by Brian R. Train

In the game, each player adopts simultaneously two roles: the “Paranoid”, who represents a lone conspiracy nut who must struggle against obscurity, the machinations of external and hostile agencies, and his own weakening grasp on reality to unmask the plots of the other player or players; and the “Enemy”, who represents a network of real or unreal groups hiding a nefarious secret. There are two ways to win the game, and part of a winning strategy is attacking yourself!

PDrules.doc - The Rules
PRNDCHT.PDF - The Charts
PRNDCTRS.PDF- The Counters

The Microgames Design Contest 2006 (MDC2006)

A bit of history, there were contests in 1998 and 2002, both had some good games come out of them. You can find more info on these past contests at for the 1998 contest and for the 2002 contest.

The Microgames Design Contest 2006 Rules
(The rules are based on the MDC '98 rules. Much thanks to Joe Hartley and the crew of that contest for their great works from which the 2006 contest is built on.)

1. The game must in some way be tied to the Theme description outlined below.

1.1 You awake from a deep sleep covered in a cold sweat. A face looms over you, you can not put a name to the face but somehow you know it. The face speaks.......
"I will not rest till #23 is completed. Iran should have been ours, but noooo..."
The face shatters into a hundred small roughed edged squares. You let out a breath. Another face shimmers over your bed.
"Gobble Gobble . One page was all it took and he is still griping. With #23 the spirit can be put to rest, go do it please, I need that for eternity like I need a hole in my website. Give it that old kung fu hustle."
A shower of pyramids and eyeballs fall from the air as the face winks out. You hold your breath for a moment. Slowly you fall back to sleep. When you awake in the morning your bed is covered in empty zip lock baggies.
You move into action.
1.2 Your task here is to create a game that you would want Microgame #23 to be. Include an explanation for your reasoning with the game entry.

2. The game must conform to the following physical specifications:
2.1 The rules should not exceed 6000 words. As a rule of thumb it should be no longer than 6 8.5x11 sized pages using a 10 or 12 point font. You may use whatever page format you think would work best with the theme described above.
2.2 The map must measure no more than 4 8.5 x 11 sized pages. Color maps will be accepted. The format should be JPG or PNG
2.3 You may have as many counters as you wish, but all counters must fit within a 8.5x11 page. The counters may be double- sided, and may use color. Please allow for .05" gutter between counters.
2.4 For those who use a DTP program, assume 300dpi resolution.

3. The game may be submitted in PDF, MS Word,Word Perfect, Open Office, ASCII, RTF or HTML format. Other formats can be sent upon request, please email They will be converted to PDF for posting on the official MDC2006 website.
3.1 Graphics and illustrations may be included. Please included them in your game entry in the format you have chosen. This would mean that you would need to use a format that would allow for your graphics to be included. For example: If you are submitting a game in ASCII then the graphics would need to be in ASCII.
3.2 Graphics and illustrations should be counted in the overall length of the document (see 2.1)
3.3 The better the layout of your entry the better it will look as a PDF, if it has not been submitted as a PDF. I will do some changes to layout if the game so needs. A copy of the PDF to be judged will be sent to and accepted by you before it is released for judging.
3.3 Remember the theme outlined above.

4. All entries must be sent to Please send a separate email with the name of your game and a brief (50 words or less) description of the game for use as a blurb on the website.
This is the only address that accepts game submissions; submissions emailed to other addresses will be silently discarded!

5. There is no section 5

6. All final revisions of entries must be received by 11:59 PM (EST), Nov 1, 2006.
6.1 All games remain the property of the author(s). Permission is granted by the author(s) to use the game in conjunction with this contest.
6.1.1 This includes inclusion on the official MDC2006 web pages and inclusion in a future issue of Countermoves print and online zine.
6.2 You must inidcate if your game is releaed under a Creative Commons License, into the Public Domain, as a Copyrighted work or under another license type.
Please see for more information.

7. Judging will be done by a panel of judges coordinated by me. Anyone may be a judge, including contest entrants. Judges must agree to play some or all games and submit a short review of each game as well as a score for each game on a scale detailed below. The judges' results will be posted on the MDC2006 website, the Url will be announced soon, when all results are in.
7.1 Tentative deadline for judging submissions is 11:59 PM (EST), December 1, 2006.
7.1.1 The judging deadline may be changed based on the number of submissions.
7.2 Anyone wishing to be a judge should mail me privately at

8. The games shall be judged on the following 4 categories. Each category will be given a value of 0 to 10 by the judge. The scores for the 4 categories will be totaled and divided by 4 to determine the Overall Value. The Overall Values for each game will be added together and divided by the number of Judge Reviews it received, this will be the games Final Value.
The game with the highest Final Value will be the winner. In the case of a tie the game with the most Judge Reviews will be the winner.
(Note that the questions listed for the categories are suggestions for questions a judge might keep in mind when deciding on a value. They are not strict rules for determining that value.)
8.1 Mechanics
This category focuses on the strict mechanics of playing the game. How smooth is the turn sequencing? How well are conflicts resolved? How cumbersome is the record keeping?
8.2 Originality/Theme
This category is both for concept and how well it works with the theme outlined above. Does it feel like Microgame #23 ? Is it simply a rehash of what has come before? A game about a really big near futuristic tank not so original, but it may have a whole new approach to the genre or have enough of a new twist that it is fresh. A really large futuristic tank that is manned by leprechauns against the dreaded army of hive minded insects that have been uplifted, now that might be a bit more original.
8.3 Balance
In a 2-player game, either player should have an equal chance at winning. In a solitaire game, there should be a good chance of winning, but it shouldn't be guaranteed, not should defeat be inevitable.
8.4 Enjoyability
A real subjective category here; how much did you enjoy this game? Was it an easy playing game, but one that made you think about tactics all the time? Score it high! Was it such a drag that you couldn't wait for it to end? Score it low! Would you play it again after the contest is over? Does it stand up after 3-4 plays? This is where those features get rated.

9. A list of prizes will be posted on the Official MDC2006 website before the results are announced. If you are interested in donating a prize please contact me at thanks to those who do.

10. Have fun creating, playing and judging the games.