ars ludi

if you asked Ben's brain about gaming, this is what it would say

Microscope After School

I met Dylan at PAX. He asked me about using Microscope with kids and I made him promise to tell me how it went. Good to his word, Dylan gave me a full report and then kindly agreed to let me share it:

I work as a Programmer and sometimes assistant at a after school child care facility that runs throughout my town at almost every elementary school. In my position I am in charge of making sure that kids go home safe first and foremost but also that for the 4 hours that they are there, that they enjoy their time. Some of the kids I work with come to the program 5 days a week and you can imagine that coming up with something new every single day is hard which is where a game like microscope came in handy.

There are many kids from different backgrounds and situations that I can not disclose but let’s just say there are some pretty crazy things I deal with on a weekly basis.

I work with a ton of kids everyday and coming up with something new all of the time can be a very challenging thing to do. I ended up purchasing your game as it seemed the best option to introduce kids into a creative story atmosphere…

I have played the game quite a few times with kids at several different school with kids ranging from ages 5-12. However, most kids are ages 6-9. During the beginning of the game newcomers first have a hard time understanding what I means to be “vague” in their descriptions of events which occur. Most kids want to delve in right away and say “The aliens come down blow up everything then make a space station and then Minecraft creepers come in and Pokemon and then…..and then….and then” you get the picture. Once they get past that phase and they understand how the game flows they get really into it. It is a great game to have a structure to their imagination so that they have something to ground it to.

At one school a group of us try to play once a week and we continue the same story and just let it see where it goes; right now we are on chapter 5. Kids have created drawings of the characters which they have created and have a sense of entitlement on that which is theirs in the game. We changed a couple things so as to avoid conflict. All of these kids come from the same school and not all of them are friends, sadly some are mortal enemies :C. We made so that players can not get rid of other players characters so that no fights happen. Only the person who created a character can get rid of them or if they say others can then it is okay.

The verdict?

[I] can honestly say that microscope is a positive tool that I will use not only for fun but for education as well as a tool to be able to ground kids to their world when they might be upset.

The Adventures of Meteor Man

The RPG Gamer Dad podcast talks with James Torrance about Microscope:

RPG Gamer Dad: The Astounding Adventures of Meteor Man

And yes, the eponymous Meteor Man segment right before the Microscope part has nothing to do with Microscope, but it’s awesome so you should give it a listen.

“I asked the other 13 yr old what he liked best? Freedom.”

If you guessed that I simply could not get enough tales of kids playing Microscope, you would be right. Here are Ryan and his friend Duncan rocking the Anipocalypse while Ryan’s sister schemes and watches…

anipocalypse-table

Having trouble visualizing Aquacology, the underwater city-state that the dolphins ultimately wipe out? No problem. Ryan has you covered:

anipocalypse-city

And yes, those kids played three sessions of Microscope and then capped it with a Kingdom game to explore part of that same world. All you one-session Microscopers, hang your head in shame…

Kudos to Black Moon Games in Lebanon, NH for giving kids a place to be awesome. And of course a huge thanks to Justin Berman for bringing a new generation of gamers into the world.

Microscope? Reddit.

The Microscope areas on G+ and RPGGeek are already pretty active, but now there’s a shiny new spot to talk about it on Reddit:

/r/MicroscopeRPG/ on Reddit

Microscope has popped up on reddit before, but this is the first time it’s had its own subreddit. Relish it, crewcut!

Microscope Chronicle Playtest Closing

Hearken, ye gamers! The playtest of Microscope Chronicle is closing September 30. If you’re on the team you should have already gotten an email with instructions and whatnot. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback already, because playtesters rock.

I predicted a while back that Chronicle might turn out to be the people’s choice for one-shot Microscope games, particularly sitting down with strangers, playing at cons, things like that. Will it? Time will tell. In the meantime there is still one more Microscope spawn to come…

Actual Play Roundup: The 53rd Focus

Tons of great Microscope game reports recently. I can’t even keep up. Here’s just a handful:

You can also get your fix in the game reports section of the Microscope RPG G+ group, or the session reports forum of RPG Geek. Are there other secret stashes of Microscope game reports that I know nothing about? Hook me up! And if you’ve got a post I missed, the comment box awaits you!