One of my players only likes games with strong strategic, tactical, or deductive elements. I would like to try Microscope, but he is one of my core players, and I’m concerned that it would bore him. For example, he dislikes Fiasco, which has very similar components and play structure, and Microscope has even fewer strategic “game” elements than Fiasco does.

Are there any elements of Microscope that I’ve overlooked that might make it appealing to a more competitive player? Is there anything I can easily do to adapt it for more tactical play, or introduce some kind of mini-game that would make it more interesting to a “gamer”?

Note that this player enjoys some party games, especially deductive/guessing games (like Pictionary) but not voting/popularity games (like Apples to Apples).

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 gamist aspects of Dawn of Worlds. Microscope is a better system in an aesthetic sense, but Dawn of Worlds isn't a bad system and is certainly more gamist.

Yeah, given that Microscope's only resolution mechanism is voting, your group member's not going to find a lot to like. However, if you're okay with a more linear but still generative experience, there are alternatives.

For example, Kingdom, a later game by the same author, offers three different roles which can be strategically swapped between: the power to make decisions, the perspective to predict their consequences, and the touchstone with the looming crisis.

For example, How to Host A Dungeon is a game about generating a variety of surface and underground civilizations to expand and come into conflict with each other, and while it's intended to be played solitaire with random or scripted "decisions", it wouldn't be hard to parcel out responsibility to the players.

  • +1 for mentioning Kingdom -- this game is AMAZING! – Metalcoder Jun 28 at 14:34

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