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32

Choose your players, choose your palette, and choose the right theme. Players The tone of the table is, at the end of the day, the choice of the players. The players must choose to be invested in the theme of the game and the tone of the theme. When inviting players to play, get consensus on what kind of game they want to play. Palette Do certain people ...


30

Sometimes the only way to win is not to play. Our hobby, unfortunately, has some necessary prerequisites. The primary one being "willingness to engage in the hobby." Your "player", by not involving herself with rules nor involving herself in the world nor involving herself in the mechanics nor involving herself with the rest of the group... fails this ...


27

Theme is very important, but is only one dial you have at your fingertips. A serious theme makes for a serious game, but not all themes that are interesting are inherently serious. For neutral themes, neither inherently silly nor inherently serious, there are still lots of small ways to bend the game toward gravity rather than levity, and they can add up. ...


26

Light and dark tones now have no mechanical effect - there are no counters or direct effects on other cards. The descriptive / storytelling effect is the whole of the point. (I almost wrote 'only a descriptive effect', but in Microscope there's nothing 'only' about description. Tone is very important; try playing without it and you'll see the difference ...


17

I'll just go through this as a checklist, since that's essentially what you've presented. While I've attempted to answer your questions, my memory of the proper terminology is somewhat slipshod. I would also strongly suggest watching a "Let's Play" or "Actual Play" video on YouTube to get an idea of how the game works in practice. Ability to rapidly and ...


12

What you may want is corkboard.me. (Now known as NoteApp.) It's a virtual shared corkboard that everyone can place, move, and edit virtual sticky notes on. We used it to coordinate with a remote player for our recently-concluded Alternity Star*Drive campaign. For a fill out and arrange card metaphor it's right on point. It's free and there's not even a ...


11

Don't bother with Scenes if you don't want to make Scenes. There is no "right" mix of history elements – the ones you make are the right ones for your group. The game is responsive that way, tuned to your interests. You had fun and built a neat history, so you did nothing wrong at all. If you want to have more Scenes though, focus less on simply having ...


10

Try an established sensible world-system Constraints of Palette and Theme are your most powerful tools here. But if the players keep wandering off on tangents then try taking a well known sensible world system and set the theme to that. You can have a lot of fun building on a world that you all know (Dune, Middle Earth, Highlander) and people know what is ...


9

Other things can be happening simultaneously with an Event, but they are never their own Event. By the very fact that this segment of time is represented by this Event, the player who created it is saying that this Event is the most significant or most defining happening in this part of the history. You might think that you could say that an Event overlaps ...


8

Trello might also be a good choice. https://trello.com/ It's by the same company that makes stackexchange and stackoverflow. It is relatively new but free, they plan on down the road looking at ways of commoditizing it from the 5% of users that will pay for things like integrations into other products and such.


8

Microscope is the game that never ends... ...it just goes on and on my friends. Microscope is a collaborative world building game, which allows you to jump around time periods, fill them out as you see fit, and then bounce around to other times to ask questions and flesh out the history more. On each player's turn, they can add a time period, add an event ...


7

Why in the world would you want to subject someone who is very clearly defined as someone who does not want form emotional attachments to characters or anything else in the game fiction and hates making decisions to any type of social game? Yes, I am aware that "they want to play" is specified by the end. But the you are not the only person who has been ...


7

My experience with relatively unstructured, creativity-rich games like Microscope (although this tendency is hardly limited to it) is that people are most comfortable exhibiting their creativity in a silly way. If you come up with a race of mole people, nobody's going to feel bad when someone else laughs at it and calls it stupid. So to that, here are a ...


6

A few examples go a long way with Microscope. "Clear on the rules" is actually a little less important, as Microscope rules work well if introduced as you go. (Microscope is a very easy game to demo at conventions.) There's some advice at the back of the book (p59-62) on running beginner's games, and I strongly recommend you follow it online. What will ...


5

I haven't played Microscope before but this seems like something Google Docs would handle incredibly well. They are designed to be collaboratively edited in real time. You can have everyone join your campaign document and start working. UPDATE: Brian recently hosted a game and we played it using google docs. We used outline levels to delineate ...


5

The light and dark markers don't dictate the children's tones, but they do provide general guidelines about how to rule on the Tone of the nested Events/Scenes if you can't decide: "If the Scene doesn't seem particularly Light or Dark, judge the scene to be the opposite Tone of the surrounding Event--the Scene failed to live up to the expected Tone of the ...


5

Scenes are "smaller" than events. They always have to happen as if they are literally a scene in a film, with characters and action described like you're watching a scene in a film or reading it in a book. (Notice here that I'm not talking about dictated scenes specifically. The difference between a dictated scene and a normal scene is only how its question ...


4

No. The rules don't suggest that you do, and it would be contrary to the purpose of the first pass: to flesh out the history a little bit before you begin normal play. If you had a Focus, then the starting history would be far too narrowly focused to be a useful start. You know when the first pass ends because everyone has made one card and placed it (p. ...


4

Yes, there's no turn sequence once you've established characters and thoughts. There are two things preventing the roleplaying from being chaos, though. Your characters will often have motive to take actions that will cause others to react, so when you do something, it feels natural to pause briefly to see what, if anything, the others will do in ...


4

Don't try to play one game with six players. It doesn't work, for the exact spotlight-time problems you're concerned about. Five is doable, but be prepared for it to be an incomplete introduction to the game. Microscope is a wonderful game, but it does not scale up past five players very well at all. I have a hard time introducing the game to new people ...


4

We did play a 4-player game of Microscope today. We played three rounds, and it lasted about 4 hours. Time scales roughly proportional with the number of players, and apart from a setup phase (which does not contain any scenes, but requires people to get their creativity kickstarted, and therefore took us about half an hour) is proportional in the number of ...


3

They shouldn't be, as there's no useful "separate but equal" idea. Your history is following a single topic. If you're focusing on a non-interacting timeline, you should do so in a separate game. Either, a period is distinguished by these joint concepts, or there is a sequentiality of experience. I suspect that this is being used to subvert the choices ...


3

The last two steps of the scene setup, choosing characters and revealing thoughts are done in reverse (CCW) starting with the player to the right of the one making the scene as written in p.29 However, there's no mention of a turn order once the scene begins. Players take up telling the story in response to each others' depictions of whatever's happening. ...


2

Events say when something happened. 'The ring of Manabur was stolen from the temple of Yolg.' Scenes (narrated or not) can be used to answer questions such as 'who stole it', 'why was it stolen', 'how was it stolen'. Of course some of these could be answered by the event: 'The ring of Manabur was stolen from the temple of Yolg #by Henrick#.' However, this ...


2

I've always thought Mind Mapping software would be good for this kind of thing. https://www.mindmeister.com is online and collaborative, though not free if you want multiple collaborators. It allows you to add icons which would be good for showing light/dark indicators on the nodes, and you can also distinguish between Periods, Events, and Scenes in a ...


2

There is no maximum length for the game itself, so the length of time is a function of your available session time. In practice, a satisfying game of Microscope is at least two full turns (i.e., two Lenses) around the table, but even one full turn around the table is good if there were at least two played Scenes. For this, my experience is that a 3 to 5 ...


2

Nope, your analysis seems pretty spot on. If you are looking for a more gamist and less narrative version of Microscope, I recommend using Dawn of Worlds; though the latter is temporally linear it is the same sort of world-building RPG and contains a good deal more gamism. Our group moved from Dawn of Worlds to Microscope in part because we disliked the ...


1

My short answer is no. The conflict on the game is often indirect, but it is always there. Would your player get upset if someone changed a story element they had created? It is a part of the game. Also, the game requires players to make their own decisions without assistance from other players when it is their turn. From your above description, this ...


1

I recently used Roll20 to run a game of Psi*Run, a game that uses index cards to create a location map as the players proceed through a desperate chase. Two of my players were local and three at a remote location. It was simple and easy to draw rectangles as cards and add some text on them. My memory of Microscope is fuzzy, but I don't think it required ...



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