Monday, April 25, 2011


Roll playing games are odd beasts. They don't have the standard winning or losing end of most games. They are ongoing adventures. Still, there is often the sense of completion and winning for the group after a long story or an epic fight. Microscope, moves away from even that. If you play it, you are not fighting a world.

You are making one.

The joy in this game is in the communal creation of a story. It is a celebration of creativity. If you can dig that, then certainly give this game a try.

How does it work? Pretty simple. Some starts the evening with the basic framework. It can be anything from "The rise and fall of the Star Clans," to "How Starblanks became the number one business." Generally, it's best to think big at this point. When you have this, a few ground rules are set up. There's a beginning period of the history and an end one. It's best to set these up with index cards. So for example: The First Period would be "The Rise of the Star Clans," and the end would be "The Fall of the Clans."
The next thing is the players decide what has to be and not be in this history. This is called the palette. So in this instance, let's say someone says "No faster than light travel," for example.

From here we get into the play. Everyone takes a turn as a lens. When you are the Lens you set the Focus for the turn. The Focus is the general theme that everyone's contribution has fit in. Then each player starting from the lens creates either a new period, a new event within a created period, or a scene within a created event. Generally, each player is free to add what they want as long as they don't contradict anything already established. The exception to this is the scene. A scene is set up to answer a question about an event like "Why did the head of the star clan go mad." The person setting up the scene says who is in it then other players take roles in the scene and it is played till the answer to the question is revealed through play.

As you can tell, this takes not only a creative crew but one that can work well together. Definitely not for the beer and pretzel gamer, but I like it. Microscope is made by Lame Mage Productions at Definitely check them out!

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