The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Star Wars: Force and Destiny Core Rulebook
Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana
A Red & Pleasant Land
The Tomb of the Sea Kings
Tomb of Horrors
Gamma World Player's Handbook
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
Sorcerers of Ur-Turuk
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Cthulhu Dark Ages: Second Edition
Battle Scarred Veterans Go Hiking
Star Wars: Force and Destiny Beginner Game
The End of the World: Wrath of the Gods
The Cypher System Rulebook
Player's Handbook (D&D 5e)
Feng Shui 2
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls
Dread
Microscope
Madness at Gardmore Abbey
Numenera
Guide to Glorantha (Two Volume Set)
Princes of the Apocalypse
Larger than Life
Star Wars: Force and Destiny Game Master's Kit
Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars
Mythic Game Master Emulator
Gunslingers and Gamblers: Streamline Edition
Fiasco
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game
Baker Street: Roleplaying in the World of Sherlock Holmes
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game
Pirates & Dragons Core Rulebook
Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 5e)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Hell on Earth: Reloaded - The Worms' Turn
Eyes of the Stone Thief
Liberty
Dirty Tactics Toolbox
Wide World of 77
The Lone Wolf Adventure Game
Vampire: The Dark Ages (20th Anniversary Edition)
Desperate Allies
Worlds Numberless and Strange
Cave if the Cybersteed
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
Warhammer City
Shadows over Bögenhafen
Realms of Sorcery
Recommend
49 
 Thumb up
 Hide
38 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Microscope» Forums » General

Subject: Share A Game: Microscope rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Share_a_Game [+] [View All]
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Share a Game is an RPG Geek initiative in which knowledgeable users volunteer to spend a week hosting a thread about a particular game and answer any questions about that game. This thread will have a week in the spotlight, but will always remain active if you stumble across it later.

For more information, including volunteering to host a game yourself, or to request a particular game that you would like to know more about, see the wiki page: Share a Game. And in order to receive notifications when new threads are posted, subscribe to the GeekList: Share a Game


Hi, I'm Ben Robbins and I've been asked to talk about a game with all you fine folks. Hmm, let me see, what game do I know a lot about…

Microscope



Microscope In A Nutshell

In Microscope you outline a vast history and then zoom in and role-play the bits that interest you. You can create and play epics like the entire Dune series or the Silmarillion. Empires rise and fall, mankind conquers the stars, and so on. Instead of open collaboration, each player builds independently on what other people have already established, so you're constantly surprised by the details that emerge as you play.

First things first

Microscope is different from a lot of other role-playing games, so let's start off by eliminating some possible misconceptions. You don't have a single character. You'll play many different characters throughout the game. You may play characters other people played in previous scenes.

You don't play the game in chronological order. You build from the outside in, knowing how the history ends and then going back and exploring the middle. If in one scene the New Columbia sea dome is cracked by Soviet torpedoes, that story isn't over. You can always go back and explore what happened before it was destroyed. You might wind back and role-play the visionaries who built the dome, or dig into the sub commander's career at the academy to find out why he was willing to pull the trigger. You could play four more sessions and then have someone suddenly say "Oh, remember that Soviet sub commander from game one? I'm doing a scene from right before he fired the torpedoes."

What Do You Need To Play?

Three to four people is best, but you can go up to five in a pinch. People say they've had great seven player games but I can't imagine it. You can also play really great two-player Microscope games. You'll need a lot of index cards. I like the 2"x3" blank flash cards, but normal index cards are fine. Some table space or other flat space to lay out all your history cards (wind is the enemy). Pens or pencils. And you need the rules.

Setup: Thousands of Years in One Sentence

To start a new history, all you need is a simple summary like "mankind flees the dying Earth and spreads into the stars." That's your whole history in it's simplest form. Everything you do during the game will expand or explore that one line synopsis.

Next the group decides how your history begins and ends, establishing bookends on your story. That's right, you know how the entire history is going to end before you even start play. But you don't know the interesting bits, how and why it turned out that way. That's what you're going to discover in the rest of the game.

To make sure everyone's on the same page about the kind of fiction you're making, you then create a Palette of things you want to allow or ban from your history. You might make a fantasy setting but require all wizardry to be powered by mana drawn from the natural elements, or create a sci fi setting and forbid humanoid aliens. Then you're ready to start exploring your history.

Play: Zooming In & Out, Jumping Forward & Backward

Play is simple. On your turn you get to create a piece of history. You can make one of three things: either a Period (a large swath of time in the history), an Event (a specific thing that happens inside a Period, like a city being sacked or a soldier coming home from the wars), or a Scene (role-playing to find out what happens in a particular moment in an Event). It's a three-level outline: Periods contain Events which contain Scenes. You put down a card for each thing you make to keep track of the timeline.

You can create new Periods, Events or Scenes anywhere in the history, jumping backward or forward or zooming in and out however you want (q.v. you will not play in chronological order). To keep everyone's contributions connected, players take turns as the Lens, the person who picks a particular Focus that play will center around. So if the current Lens decides the Focus is going to be the magical sword Durandal, then for that round each player must make history that somehow relates to that sword. One player might make an Event where a warrior carrying the sword meets his wife, and another might jump back to a much earlier Period and show the sword being forged by ancient druids. So long as it relates somehow, it's okay.

If it's your turn, you have nearly unlimited authority, so long as you don't contradict anything we already know about the history. But because you can only make one thing on your turn, and you can't make a zoomed in piece of history without something to contain it (a Scene has to be inside an Event, etc.) more often than not you're building on something someone else created. If you want to role-play a Scene, you're probably setting inside an Event someone else described, which is itself inside a whole Period another player invented. So you're simultaneously independent and dependent on what others have made.

(there are other interlocking mechanics I'm not touching on, like deciding whether history is Light or Dark or adding Legacies)

We Role-play Together

When a player makes a Period or Event, they have absolute power to make whatever they want. There is no veto and coaching is forbidden.

But when someone creates a Scene everyone role-plays together to decide what happens. The player making the Scene poses a Question about the history (like "can the seventh rune of power destroy the very gods" or "did Captain Falkes know his wife was cheating on him"). That Question is the agenda for the Scene and we play until we learn the answer. The current player frames the scene (where is it, what's going, where does it fall in the Event), then everyone picks characters they want to role-play. Characters can be people we have already heard about in the history or people invented on the spot. Different players may have different ideas of what they think the answer should be and you choose characters that let you push the answer you want.

How does the game end?

It doesn't! Since you can always go back and add more detail, you can play the same history as long as you want. It's a fractal game. You stop playing a particular history whenever you think you've done enough, or when you're out of time to play. But you can always pack up the cards and come back to it later.

Where's the kaboom?

So everybody has vast creative power and no one has a veto. How can that possibly work? It sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it?

There are a couple of critical factors that make it possible. The freedom to jump anywhere within the history means that if someone makes something you don't like, you just don't build on it. In a linear (normal) game what happens now determines what must happen next (if we attack the king, that irrevocably changes the plot). In Microscope it doesn't at all. Also, because you know how the history ends from the very start and have overviews of how Periods and Events end when they're first described, everyone is working within common boundaries. You can't stray too far off because you know where you need to wind up. Add the Palette synchronizing expectations, and it means you can give everyone vast creative authority without having the game explode.

World Building, or "Look on my works ye Mighty and despair"

When you're done, you've got a game world that everyone in the table has deep ownership in, because you made it together through an iterative process. The stuff that got built on and expanded was what everyone liked. Nine times out of ten, someone will say "Wow, I want to break out [d20/GURPS/FATE] and play a campaign in this world!" Which you absolutely can. In a way the entire process of playing Microscope brings the fun of being a GM and building a world to the table and makes it part of play.

I've played almost 70 games of Microscope with a lot different people, from veteran gamers to people who'd never role-played before. We playtested it for two years (and five separate versions) before arriving at the final rules. There's not a lot in Microscope that's accidental or hasn't gone through a lot of examination

Any questions? Ask away.
50 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hans Messersmith
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
flag msg tools
Freder: It was their hands that built this city of ours, Father. But where do the hands belong in your scheme?
badge
Joh Frederson: In their proper place, the depths.
mbmbmbmbmb
I really, really need to get this game. Thanks for your excellent summary, Ben!

BTW, shouldn't these threads be tied back to the actual RPG's and RPG items somehow?
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
He played in water with his son and daughter and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
flag msg tools
admin
Support comes in many forms: community involvement, forum posts, submitting data, running PbF games, word-of-mouth advertising, financial donations... All these are vital to this site, and you have my sincere thanks for participating in any of them.
badge
Currently: suffering from a lack of time; I think it's a chronic condition.
mbmbmbmbmb
skalchemist wrote:
BTW, shouldn't these threads be tied back to the actual RPG's and RPG items somehow?

You'll see that Ben linked to Microscope at the top of the thread, and when the spotlight moves on to another game next week then this thread will be moved to the General forum of the Microscope RPG.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jules
Belgium
flag msg tools
Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
badge
Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
mbmbmbmbmb
How do you play out a scene? The session reports I randomly clicked on only mentioned the scene questions and framing, not the actual play. It seems to be only a small part of the game?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall Miller
United States
Malden
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
I could see groups getting into ruts of either having lots of back to back scenes, lots of back to back events/periods, or the same players always choosing either scenes or events/periods. How much does this come up?

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Morningstar
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks, I've played and enjoyed Microscope. It does a lot of cool things that feel really innovative to me.

Ben, have you played in "fractal mode" much? That is, creating a timeline, playing through it, and then returning to play again with a new timeline that exists between individual nodes in the previous timeline? Basically zooming in with greater detail in concurrent sessions.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rishi A.
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey Ben - thanks for visiting our little corner of the RPG world! I've gotten a chance to play Microscope face-to-face (and started up a PBF game of it which ultimately died). Cool game.

So, I'll start with some basic questions.

1. How long do you typically play? In the four-player face-to-face game that I played, we played so that each person got to be the Lens once. This seemed to be a fairly good length. What's the longest game you've played (including games where you may have continued a previously-built world)?

2. What are your favorite genres to play? Is there anything you tried that didn't really work? Also, I think that Microscope seems particularly suited to mash-ups (mixing genres that normally don't go together) - has this been your experience as well?

3. In the rulebook, you talk a little bit about the development of the game, but what were your influences in creating the game? It seems so different than anything else I've played that I find it difficult to trace the lineage.

Thanks again for answering questions, Ben!
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Owsen
United States
Redmond
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This is an interesting game. I've only played it once, but I'd like to play again.

I was wondering if you've ever had a game fall apart during the intial palette setting exercise? For example, if players just couldn't agree on the parameters for the universe. Unlike most RPGs, you know at least generally what genre of world you're going to be playing in (ie, Fantasy, Sci-fi, etc), but with Microscope you could go in wanting to play a serious sci-fi game, but end up with someone who wants silly fantasy.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lowell Francis
United States
South Bend
Indiana
flag msg tools
explanation does not equal excuse
mbmbmbmbmb
Microscope re-energized our group. It's a significant rpg tool as well as being a dynamite game on its own. Everyone who has played it, even those seriously skeptical at the start, has enjoyed it. We've tended to use it as a campaign builder, rather than as a session alone, but we have.

*I can't imagine starting a new campaign without using it- unless I had a really solid linear idea at the start. I don't think you can underestimate the player buy-in you get from using Microscope to build the world before playing. GM's may resent some of the loss of power- the what you gain will be immense: energy and excitement from the players. As well, you reduce your own workload and prep time by going this route. And a GM can always add in their own ideas later and spin player concepts in a new direction.
*One thing Microscope does better than most other games I've played is to offer a voice and input to those players who might otherwise not get heard. Quieter players or those at a table with stronger voice may not speak up. Microscope gives them the space to speak- and empowers them. It means keeping the other players from kibitzing while they take their turn (best accomplished by having snacks ready). In a couple of cases, we had usually shy players come up with some of the most amazing stuff.
*When you write up a session, you'll be amazed at how much material is actually generated.
*If you're using the flash cards, watch out because usually one side's glossy and can smear.

I do have a couple of questions:
1. How much of a session do you usually find is devoted to managing scenes?
2. What's the logic behind the "legacies" mechanism?
3. Does the game feel any different when done as a series of histories?
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anthony Friedman
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Where does one find/buy this game?
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
He played in water with his son and daughter and his name was
United Kingdom
Redhill
Surrey
flag msg tools
admin
Support comes in many forms: community involvement, forum posts, submitting data, running PbF games, word-of-mouth advertising, financial donations... All these are vital to this site, and you have my sincere thanks for participating in any of them.
badge
Currently: suffering from a lack of time; I think it's a chronic condition.
mbmbmbmbmb
Stix_Remix wrote:
Where does one find/buy this game?

http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/product.php?produc...
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Scenes: What You See Is What You Get
Juleske wrote:
How do you play out a scene? The session reports I randomly clicked on only mentioned the scene questions and framing, not the actual play. It seems to be only a small part of the game?

I suspect scenes are mentioned less because they're not the novel part of the game. Heck, you role-play scenes in lots of games, but how often do you get to jump forward in time a thousand years or invent whole empires in one stroke? Mathematically, since each player gets to decide for themselves whether to make a scene, there should be exactly the ratio of role-playing that suits the people at the table. But I suspect new Microscope players might get caught up in the sheer power and initially make a lot of Periods and Events, just to try it out.

When I play Microscope, I play a lot of Scenes. I think those are the real payoff: framing the big picture of history feeds into the personal moments where you really see how things happened and what it means to people.

Role-playing scenes is pretty straightforward: you just say what your character does, says and thinks, like any game. The odd bit is that on your turn you had vast unilateral powers to shape the game world, but now you're all on equal footing and you're just playing one person. But you still might want or need to establish things about the game world. So how do we balance in the moment role-playing and still let people make broad world building statements?

The solution is that players can describe anything they want about the world, so long as they describe their character perceiving it and reacting to it. When you perceive it, it's true ("what you see is what you get"). So if you want an earthquake to happen during the scene, you say "Doctor Walker feels the ground shudder and sees the skyscrapers twist sickeningly. He shouts 'Oh no, it's an earthquake! We've got to get Elaine out!'"

But you don't have unilateral power during a scene, so if another player objects to something you perceive about the world around you, they can Push an alternative. It's resolved by a quick voting system (aka "the finger vote"). But in my experience Pushes are pretty rare, which is great. Pushes are intended to resolve disagreements, not something you should be trying to make happen.
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Broad or Narrow Focus
Mease19 wrote:
I could see groups getting into ruts of either having lots of back to back scenes, lots of back to back events/periods, or the same players always choosing either scenes or events/periods. How much does this come up?

I don't think any of the things you describe are bad, if that's what the players want to do. Allowing people to choose to make simple or complicated things, big or small, intentionally gives people an out. It's part of the creative safety valve. Sometimes people fall back into thinking in chronological order ("oh, that just happened so I'll make my scene right afterwards…") but that's perfectly okay. It doesn't hurt play.

The Focus influences pacing/scale a lot. If there's a tight Focus, play will often cluster in a particular Period or even around a particular Event, which is usually pretty great because we get to learn more about those characters and see how their lives go up and down. It's actually very rewarding to sketch out a huge history and then do a lot of play in a very small chunk of it. Even when you don't bring in the big history, the stuff you know about the rest of the timeline casts shadows over what you play.

And again, after a round we have a Legacy to give us a break and then a new player gets to set a new Focus, so we can jump to something completely different if we want.

jmstar wrote:
Thanks, I've played and enjoyed Microscope. It does a lot of cool things that feel really innovative to me.

Ben, have you played in "fractal mode" much? That is, creating a timeline, playing through it, and then returning to play again with a new timeline that exists between individual nodes in the previous timeline? Basically zooming in with greater detail in concurrent sessions.

Thanks, Jason! I talk a bit about doing that in the book, but we've never tried it. But that exact thing happens in play all the time, without being planned: you spend a whole session digging into one Period or even one or two Events.

I suspect it happens more when you know you're going to play the same history for multiple sessions, because you know you'll have time later to explore other parts. You aren't in a rush. We agreed at the outset that we were going to play our Quake-pocalypse history for several sessions, so just about every game we dug in and zoomed in pretty tight. The same thing happened in other multi-session histories.

Like just about everything with Microscope, I think it's better not to try to artificially constrain the players or make them do a particular thing. If the players are interested in a chunk of history, they'll keep coming back to it on their own. It'll happen, but you can't make it happen.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Rishi wrote:
1. How long do you typically play? … What's the longest game you've played (including games where you may have continued a previously-built world)?

Our longest was our seven session Starcraft-analog history, and the Quake-pocalypse game I mentioned earlier was six sessions. We were still using full sized index cards in the Starcraft game and by the end we had to abandon the table and lay out all the cards on the floor. That was a fantastic history.

edit: Meant to add that most games are around four hours. That's a pretty normal chunk for indie games.

Rishi wrote:
2. What are your favorite genres to play? Is there anything you tried that didn't really work? Also, I think that Microscope seems particularly suited to mash-ups (mixing genres that normally don't go together) - has this been your experience as well?

Sci fi is a personal favorite. Mash-ups can be kind of tricky. The Palette helps a lot (as it's supposed to) but I always think you're better excluding elements and creating a tighter more unique thing rather than throwing more in. But that's just personal preference. There have been a strangely high number of Capes & Cthulhu games. No idea why, though I have to admit the one I played in was completely awesome.

What I do see go wrong sometimes is that people create the Palette, but then still start throwing in crazy new elements during play, things that should have been declared during the Palette. Once the Palette is done you should have a pretty good idea of what ingredients you're cooking with.

One thing that I don't think gets enough play are completely "normal" settings, like kingdoms or nations with zero fantasy or sci fi elements. It's a gold mine.

Rishi wrote:
3. In the rulebook, you talk a little bit about the development of the game, but what were your influences in creating the game? It seems so different than anything else I've played that I find it difficult to trace the lineage.

The short answer is: GMing. Years and years of having fun building worlds to GM.

Like I talk about in the book, the longer answer is that it's kind of how we learn about everything in the world around us: we start off with a simple summary, and maybe stop there, or maybe we dig in and learn more about a topic. Every time we hear a headline in the news or hear a description of a movie we're doing exactly what Microscope does.

Rishi wrote:
Thanks again for answering questions, Ben!

Happy to oblige!
12 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
mummykitty wrote:
I was wondering if you've ever had a game fall apart during the intial palette setting exercise? For example, if players just couldn't agree on the parameters for the universe. Unlike most RPGs, you know at least generally what genre of world you're going to be playing in (ie, Fantasy, Sci-fi, etc), but with Microscope you could go in wanting to play a serious sci-fi game, but end up with someone who wants silly fantasy.

I've never seen that happen but if it did I would be overjoyed. It would mean the Palette worked and saved that group a lot of heartache: if the people at the table can't all agree to play the same game, it's better to find out in the first ten minutes than to spend hours flailing and gnashing your teeth. That's a win.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
edige23 wrote:
Microscope re-energized our group. It's a significant rpg tool as well as being a dynamite game on its own. Everyone who has played it, even those seriously skeptical at the start, has enjoyed it.

Thanks, Lowell! That is music to a game designer's ears. I've really enjoyed the write-ups of your games.

edige23 wrote:
One thing Microscope does better than most other games I've played is to offer a voice and input to those players who might otherwise not get heard.

That's a huge part of Microscope's design. Before Microscope, I sat down at a lot of tables with a lot of combinations of people, and it would be fascinating to see how the social dynamic would unfold and often very quietly steer what happened in the game. Even when everyone at the table was theoretically equal, there was vetting and approval-seeking and shyness -- a whole raft of things going on. Normal social things really, but things I thought we could do better.

The ironic part is that in all those games, I was the one getting my way. Other players would go along with my ideas even when I wanted them to speak up for themselves. So Microscope is really as much keeping me (and gamers like me) from unintentionally steering the game as it is for putting those quiet players on the hotseat and showing them they have something worthwhile to say.

edige23 wrote:
1. How much of a session do you usually find is devoted to managing scenes?

Playing scenes take a lot more time than just summarizing a Period or Event, so very roughly I'd 60/40 or 70/30, with Scenes the majority, but it is probably different for every group. Totally worth it.

edige23 wrote:
2. What's the logic behind the "legacies" mechanism?

Legacies evolved a lot across the five drafts of the rules. In the short-term, they provide an intermission / wildcard between Foci. It's a chance to range far afield and add something without having to follow through for a whole round. In a multi-session history they do provide a little more connective tissue, to remind us what we've done in the past and to re-integrate those past themes, but the first function is really more critical.

edige23 wrote:
3. Does the game feel any different when done as a series of histories?

You mean multiple sessions of the same history? (I think I might be wrong, but I'll answer that one anyway) Yes, absolutely. Between games your mind is simmering with ideas of things you want to add. Which is awesome but also maddening, because you have to remember that you can't plan far ahead because something can happen that might completely ruin those ideas. What's really amazing is when your five sessions in and then something happens that completely surprises you, but at the same time fits perfectly (like finding out they flew the moon away centuries ago, and it's the alien planet you've been colonizing). After three or four games, everyone at the table is undisputed expert on the history. You could all go write a book on the topic, and you'll probably want to.


(Hey, I'm caught up on questions! If anyone has more, fire away.)
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Bernazzani (@rpggeek)
United States
Plainville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
I wish to provide legendary service to the RPG community to help grow our hobby and enrich the lives of gamers everywhere.
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, yet another book goes on my wish list!

-Dave
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wavemotion wrote:
Well, yet another book goes on my wish list!


What are you waiting for? As far as I can remember it is not that expensive, and seems superb for groups who like to world-build.

I bought a copy in the summer, but haven't got around to playing yet. Herding the right people in to a session is proving more difficult than imagined.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lowell Francis
United States
South Bend
Indiana
flag msg tools
explanation does not equal excuse
mbmbmbmbmb
Q: Do you know of any place where people have put together podcasts/audio files of actual play for Microscope? I'd really like to listen in and hear how scenes are handled at other people's tables. It is the part of the game that I still feel like a novice in.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
I don't, but someone else might. I have a hard time listening to recordings of any game. It never feels like it captures the magic and mystery of what happens at the table, but that's probably just me.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken H.
United States
Amherst
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb

Does the game still work with shorter time frames? For example, instead of having your bookend periods be thousands of years apart, what if they were just 100 years apart, or even less?

There's a new TV series, American Horror Story, that is making me want to play a "haunted house" story in an RPG. I have no idea what game system would work, but part of the format of the show is that the story line switches back and forth between the family who currently lives in the house, and the people who lived there at various times in the past (some of whom are now ghosts). The non-linear format reminds me of Microscope, so I wondered if the game was intended to work for that type of smaller scale.

Unrelated question: are there any significant rule changes for two-player games, or does it follow the same sequence you outlined? It seems that each lens/focus round would be less significant since only two creations will come out of it.

Regardless, the game sounds awesome, and it's definitely going on my must-buy list.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Robbins
United States
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmb
Rubric wrote:
Does the game still work with shorter time frames? For example, instead of having your bookend periods be thousands of years apart, what if they were just 100 years apart, or even less?

A century totally works. We've done games that were all in the 20th century (give or take). People have talked about trying much shorter histories (a decade or less) which would probably work, but you'd lose a lot of your creative power to jump around. You're more hemmed in. That's my guess anyway, but if someone tries it I want to hear how it goes.

The haunted house history sounds great. I've really been wanting to play a "Curse of the Mummy" Microscope game, jumping back and forth between ancient Egypt and the colonial archaeologists cracking the tombs… and facing The Curse! You could also jump to a modern day writer researching the colonial excavations for a book, or back to Crusaders first seeing the Pyramids, etc. Jumping back and forth and shedding new light on what happened in the other eras would be fantastic. "That's strange. One of the names on the royal obelisk has been scratched out. But why..?" Zip back to ancient days and play it out.

Rubric wrote:
Unrelated question: are there any significant rule changes for two-player games, or does it follow the same sequence you outlined? It seems that each lens/focus round would be less significant since only two creations will come out of it.

There's an optional rule in the back for expanding the round for two-player games. For each Focus you go around one more time and let each of the players take one more turn (five turns per Focus instead of three -- the Lens goes always goes again at the end of the round to put the finishing touches on the Focus). That puts it on par with a four player game.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall Miller
United States
Malden
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
It would be fun to try pushing the duration limit to "What happened last night?" or even "What happened in that interrogation room?"
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Leighton
England
Peterborough
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Mease19 wrote:
It would be fun to try pushing the duration limit to "What happened last night?" or even "What happened in that interrogation room?"


I'm not sure that short a length of time would work. It just doesn't give enough space to jump about in. Also the focus of that would probably be too tight.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Eagle River
Alaska
flag msg tools
designer
Gaming in Greater Anchorage area, Alaska since 1978. Looking for Indy-willing RPG players in Eagle River (or willing to drive to Eagle River). Geekmail me if interested.
badge
Yes, this really is what I looked like when I uploaded that avatar. Not that it's quite current anymore.
mbmbmbmbmb
So, is there anything in the rulebook that makes it worth buying over just following the process laid out so far in the reviews and this thread?
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.