We just finished playing our first game of Microscope and had a great time. Most of the elements of the game were handled very well by the group: periods, events, the palette, etc.

Scenes, however, no one had much use for. As the one presenting the game, I tried starting scenes, but the players didn't find them helpful or interesting. I feel like the game misses out on something without scenes, but I'm not sure how to proceed.

What makes a Scene worthwhile in the game, leading the players to want to know what happens next?

up vote 15 down vote accepted

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 Scenes, and more on asking interesting questions that you actually want answered. Eventually, you'll hit upon a question that you really want to see explored in a Scene, and there you go, that's your Scene. What makes a Scene worthwhile is everyone being invested in exploring and answering the Scene's question.

Scenes are not for the sake of having Scenes – they are for answering open questions about the history. If you don't have a compelling question, you don't need a Scene.

The scenes are the role playing aspect of Microscope; without scenes it is a God game, not a role playing game. If that is what floats your boat then that's perfectly OK - some people don't want to role play.

Within the mechanical structure, however, scenes are the parts of history that would be taught in university rather than primary or secondary school. That's because they answer questions about the actions and motivations of the individuals who shaped the history. Broadly speaking they are the why of the history with periods being the what and events being the how (more or less).

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