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Subject: Kingdom with Kids: The Prime Dynasty rss

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Justin Berman
United States
White River Junction
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After three sessions of Microscope we decided to go ahead and play Kingdoms to scope out one of the most interesting kingdoms in our Microscope generated world -- Alpha Prime’s dynasty, also what we called "The Prime Dynasty". For more on our Microscope sessions, please go to the following link: Microscope with Kids: Multiple Sessions from Utopia to Anipocalypse. This link will help you understand how our world was created.

The first thing we needed to do was set up what our kingdom was going to be. We decided not to use one of the predetermined kingdoms in the back of the book but to instead set up something of our own. Unlike Microscope, transcribing gameplay is much more difficult with Kingdoms. But, I do my best and comments on how to improve transcription are appreciated.

Oh... And by "we", I mean my son Ryan (13), his friend Duncan (12) and myself. Keep the perspective that this was done with young teens.

Black Moon Games, Lebanon, NH

The Prime Dynasty
11-1-14 session

The Prime Dynasty is Toronsia’s co-presidency between Alpha Prime, genetically altered Dolphin, and Mykll Frocklebottom, whose family name has played a prominent role throughout the ages. The new government spans water and land alike and in its infancy means the new alliances aren’t always what they’re supposed to be.

Internal - the Torontonians humans still don’t view the Dolphins as their equal
Internal - Dolphins have not evolved in their thinking about government and they don’t recognize the impact of their actions on the government
External - other animals are jealous of the Dolphins caste system in the prime dynasty

The Coral Palace
The Council Chamber - dual land and water place to convene meetings between the Dolphins and the humans
Reef’s Edge - An underwater drop-off of several miles where much of the water population lives and also naturally simulates the night sky
The Prime Gardens - A monument to the first new trees being grown and the new crystal shards being replenished in Toronsia again
Jelly Sponge Swamp - A sea sponge jelly swamp that is not a desirable place for much land or sea habitat in its existing form
Seaside Grove - A small grove of trees were Dolphins and humans can meet in covert, secret discussions

As the game progressed we added additional locations:
Deep Varadium Mine #X7 – An abandoned Varadium mine deep in the water that only the Dolphins can access
OxyUrchin Air Bar
The Wastelands - A land region that no longer has lush foliage but only the remnants of abandoned trees in wetlands

We then developed our characters. Since there are three players we have three characters that we started with (and ended with) in total

Name: Alpha Prime / Player: Justin
Role: Power
Who are you? Co-president over the sea; male; middle-aged gray dolphin with blue scratches
Wish or Fear: I fear I can’t keep up with human leadership
Issue: Hunger for power; Arrogance
Locations: Council Chamber, Reef’s Edge
Bond: Co-presidency with Mykll Frocklebottom
Bond: Scuttle gives my cleaners tips in return for gossip

Name: Mykll Frocklebottom / Player: Duncan
Role: Perspective
Who are you? Co-president over the land; male; normal glasses; middle-aged; mixed brown and gray hair
Wish or Fear: Wish that the land will be completely peaceful
Issue: Completely pacifist
Locations: Council Chamber, Prime Gardens
Bond: I have rescued Scrudy shrimp from a shark unbeknownst to his father, Scuttle.
Bond: Co-presidency with Alpha Prime

Name: Scuttles D Shrypp / Player: Ryan
Role: Touchstone
Who are you? Male; middle-aged; small shrimp; former owner of the OxyUrchin Air Bar
Wish or Fear: I fear the kingdom will no longer be at peace and will no longer be a good place for an old shrimp
Issue: Grief and guilt over son’s Scrudy leaving the reef
Locations: Reef’s Edge, Jelly Sponge Swamp
Bond: All of Alpha Primes cleaners come to Scuttle for cleaning tips they exchange for gossip
Bond: Mr. Frocklebottom saved Scrudy from a shark; Scuttle doesn’t know

To make transcription somewhat simple I refer to individual “turns” for specific gameplay. With three players the cards and checkboxes are as follows:

Crossroads – 4
Crisis – 4
Time Passes – 3

where the numbers represent the amount of open checkboxes left. Hence, when any of these reach “0” then the appropriate entries need resolved. Changes to the boxes are noted by a change in color. Rationale for the change is provided as time allows.

Turn 1 – Ryan
At Jelly Sponge Swamp in a padded cave Scuttles clean coins – coins no longer used by the government. It is more a habit and is normal for his day. There is gossip about a lab – one that does research – and he’s wondering how it will affect Jelly Sponge Swamp. He leaves his comfortable cave and sees a man on the edge of the swamp looking over the land and taking copious notes. He’s also making a lot of measurements. Scuttle lease coins at the cave entrance.
Alpha Prime’s at the Reef’s Edge looking over the sea and wonders to himself how much do the humans want to take over the sea and how much time does he have left in his rule of the Prime Dynasty?
Mykll Frocklebottom is at the Prime Gardens. He hopes the research lab is not what he truly thinks it is – a weapons research lab. He does not want to wreck the ecosystem or the precious crystal shards he love.
Scuttle is preparing for anything.

Crossroads – 4; Adds: Will the kingdom… build a research facility to evaluate the Jelly Sponge Swamp?
Crisis – 4
Time Passes – 2

Ryan as the first player determines and adds the Crossroad. He wants to see how things develop and opts for checking Time Passes.

Turn 2 – Justin
At the Council Chambers Alpha Prime expresses concern that taking over habitat may have unintended consequences on his sea kingdom. He talks candidly with Mykll Frocklebottom about this.
Mykll Frocklebottom knows it’s bad to destroy the habitat especially the nearby Jelly Sponge Swamp and especially for an R&D lab. Both would be really bad.
Scuttle heard similar from rumors and doesn’t really know how this will turn out. He waits.

Crossroads – 3
Crisis – 4
Time Passes – 2

Justin decides this Crossroads can have dire consequences and opts for checking Crossroads. This allows the Crossroads to accelerate towards resolution without any conditions placed by the Perspective player.

Turn 3 – Duncan
At the Prime Gardens Mykll Frocklebottom looks into the shards for relaxation and he discovered a long time ago that the pulsing patterns from the crystals can do different things and serve different functions. One of them is weather prediction. His only other focus is learning anything about the R&D facility and whether this will be a military factory. If so, he certainly against its construction as this might create conflict with the animals.
Scuttle wants to take his coins away. He wants nothing to do with the threat of war from military action and from a military facility. He’s scared and decides to take his coins and leave.

Crossroads – 3; Adds under “YES” that “animals might revolt”
Crisis – 3
Time Passes – 2

As the Perspective player, Duncan places his first prediction on the Crossroads. He decides that the Prime Dynasty could have a lot to lose and opts for checking Crisis.

Turn 4 – Ryan
At Reef’s Edge Alpha Prime’s cleaner, Mindee, arrives to have a brief discussion with Scuttle. They talk about coins and talk about the Jelly Sponge Swamp. Mindee shares about the construction at the site. Scuttle is only happy that he took the coins away from that location.
After the Mykll Frocklebottom discussion Alpha Prime decides he must stop this research facility at all costs he is still in the Council Chamber and spends some additional time reflecting on that decision.
Mykll Frocklebottom leaves with the same impression.

Crossroads – 2
Crisis – 2
Time Passes – 2

Ryan originally thought of the Crossroads and wants to force the decision. He checks Crossroads.

Turn 5 – Justin
At the abandoned Deep Varadium Mine #X7 there’s a discussion between Alpha Prime and several of the warrior dolphins. They want to know what to do about the construction and Alpha Prime’s pretty clear it’s time to take out the construction personnel for the research station.
Mykll Frocklebottom tries conveying to the people that whatever Alpha Prime does do he encourages them to protest but not challenge Alpha Prime directly.
Scuttle knows none of this is good. He doesn’t know what to do or where to go. He just wants to get rid of the situation as he knows none of it’s any good.

Crossroads – 1
Crisis – 2
Time Passes – 2

Justin knows he’ll get to choose the next Crossroad but will only get to exercise it by checking Crossroads. Better now than later.

Turn 6 – Duncan
Mykll Frocklebottom is at the Seaside Grove. He decides to meet up with this shrimp he knows that has a lot of knowledge. He doesn’t know where he gets the knowledge but knows that Scuttle seem to know a lot about the construction. He uses one of the crystal shards to talk to the shrimp. It’s a new trick he learned recently and one that gives him the ability to translate speech with some animals.
Scuttle wants to clean his coins. But, he is surprised by the translation coming from the crystal shard. Mykll Frocklebottom asks a lot of questions. Mykll Frocklebottom claims he’s trying to keep the peace and that he wants his friends to organize a peaceful protest. Scuttle agrees that a rally will raise awareness to others. Scuttle know just the place to make this happen…

Crossroads – 1; Adds under "YES” that “populace will protest against”
Crisis – 2
Time Passes – 1

Duncan realizes his ability to predict the consequences is fairly powerful. He chooses to check Time Passes while adding another prediction to the Crossroads.

Turn 7 – Ryan
Scuttle is at the OxyUrchin Air Bar. He spreads word about the protest and word spreads quickly among the inhabitants of the Reef.

Crisis – 2
Time Passes – 1

Ryan decides it is time to resolve the Crossroads, and while he won’t make the decision, he has a lot to say about how the Prime Dynasty feels about this (as Touchstone).

Justin decides “YES” that the Prime Dynasty will build a research facility to evaluate the Jelly Sponge Swamp.

Ryan takes a stand against this. He much rather see this answer be “NO”. So, shrimps, electric eels and other Reef creatures begin to surround Alpha Prime in a threatening way to compel him to change his mind for the Prime Dynasty. The electric eels even spell out words of discontent with their currents.

Justin decides that “YES, IF” Scuttle and his followers back Alpha Prime only and not Mykll Frocklebottom. Then, he’ll change his minds – and only then.

Ryan finds this absolutely unacceptable for Scuttle. While doable, the challenge fails. The Prime Dynasty will build a research facility to evaluate the Jelly Sponge Swamp. No additional challenge / overthrow.

As the Perspective player, Duncan decides “No” to “animals might revolt” and “Yes” to the “populace will protest against”.

Scuttle realizes that he needs to finds a new place to live. He throws his coins at a driftwood carving of Alpha Prime. Ryan decides Toronsia is worse for having this and as Touchstone adds to the Crisis box.

No one changes their wishes or fears. The Time Passes box is checked.

Crossroads – 0
Crisis – 1

At the end of Resolve: Crossroads the Time Passes box is checked. This triggers the Resolve: Time Passes action.

Two years later.

Scuttle is angry, super angry. He went to The Wastelands and he established his own base with others that were upset with the dynasty. He did this in the roots of a giant tree and he did not bring his coins.
Alpha Prime doesn’t like a research place but he wants to make sure that he has power.
Mykll Frocklebottom is slowly trying to make a separation in the co-presidency. He wants more decision-making and the co-presidency to be not such a bipartisan effort.

Does the Prime Dynasty avert crisis? With a vote of 0-0-0, this is a decided “No”. The cards are reset and the next turn proceeds.

Crossroads – 4
Crisis – 1
Time Passes – 3

Turn 8 – Justin
Alpha Prime’s at the Reef’s Edge. He does not want to go to war but he wants to ensure that the sea is protected. He wants to know how he can feel trust in humans and Mykll Frocklebottom.
Mykll Frocklebottom thinks it’s strange for Alpha Prime wants to build a research center but recognizes the strength in one side is hopeless in preventing a Civil War. At the same time, he thinks it necessary that the Prime Dynasty have two separate countries.
Scuttle is still fuming and begins calling on cats and other wild animals to help them build a rebellion force.

Crossroads – 4; Adds: Will the kingdom… enter into a Civil War of Alpha Prime supporters vs Mykll Frocklebottom supporters?
Crisis – 1
Time Passes – 2

It is Justin’s turn and since there is not a Crossroads and he has not picked one yet, he gets to pick the next one and it’s a tough one – Civil War. He checks Time Passes.

Turn 9 – Duncan
Mykll Frocklebottom is on the crystal shard translator phone to Scuttle’s base in The Wastelands. He’s still he’s learning how to use the shard for communications. He states that it’s a good idea for the government to stay in one piece and not fractured due to civil war. Scuttle and his crew should peacefully vote Alpha Prime out. Scuttle, however, has tried to keep the peace more than once and has been wrong twice: Scrudy and Alpha Prime. The name is familiar to Mykll Frocklebottom. He wonders about Scrudy and recalls saving a Scrudy from a shark. When questioned, Scuttle avoids the question and hangs up.
Scuttle’s friend Scales said he given a him a lift (he’s a fish).

Crossroads – 4
Crisis – 1
Time Passes – 1

Duncan is hoping the Prime Dynasty fairs well. He doesn’t want to see it go to Crisis and he certainly doesn’t want to go to Civil War. So checking Time Passes it is.

Turn 10 – Ryan
Scuttle is riding on Scales inside of Coral Town. He’s looking for Scrudy shrimp, his son, at The Grand Anemone Palace. It sounds impressive but is just a simple building. He finds Scrudy’s apartment and makes up with him. Finally, he is quite happy.

Crossroads – 4
Crisis – 1

If we had continued, Ryan would have liked to switch characters. This makes checking Time Passes and resolving it a natural.

The players decide to end the game.

Five years pass.

Upon reflection Scuttle is happy and doesn’t care about the Civil War or the cleaning of coins. He settles in Coral Town with Scrudy and is quite happy

From Alpha Prime’s perspective it’s good that the Civil War is not progressing but it’s bad that the threat is not averted either. The research facility is still operational.

Mykll Frocklebottom’s perspective it’s a good that the magic crystal shards are regenerating and the human-to-dolphins relations is getting better. He also agrees, however, that having an operational research facility is still not desirable.

Does the Prime Dynasty avert crisis? Yes, a little. With a vote of 1-1-2, one crisis box is erased. The cards are reset and the game ends.

Crossroads – 4
Crisis – 2
Time Passes – 3

Frankly, it doesn't look good for the kingdom. Alpha Prime is too power hungry and has sowed mistrust among the kingdom and the people. Mykll Frocklebottom seems to preoccupied with the crystal shards. The Civil War crossroads is still in limbo and no one is taking ownership of building that weapons research lab... At least it seems the people in general (as reflected through Scuttle) seem content.

Some notable comments:
- Kingdoms is a lot more complex in rules than Microscope. I believe it will take several sessions to develop a rhythm of gameplay.
- It was difficult to separate the player (Justin) from the character (Alpha Prime) from the Kingdom (The Prime Dynasty). This required a lot more focus and thought.
- The complexity led to simplicity. By this, it was easier to generate the stories than conduct challenges or overthrows. I think the later will come from experience in gameplay.
- The kids did great and I think you'd agree they were equally creative as in Microscope.

I will likely have to edit this several times to represent the material above accurately, for readability and with commentary at the bottom.
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Justin Berman
United States
White River Junction
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Can't wait until Microscope Explorer comes out.

We talked about doing Union on the Frocklebottom family.

We talked about doing Chronicle on the Crystal Shards.

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