Posts in this Category

Nessun Dorma

During the school year, we could only play Fridays and Saturdays. But when summer came, every single day was up for grabs. Not for scheduling normal games — those we could play any day of the week, even during the school year. No, I’m talking about the most magical of beasts and that staple of […]

Ben Robbins | June 18th, 2019 | | 6 comments

The Teeth Sneak Up On You In Follow

Follow fakes you out by looking super light and chill. You just free-play scenes and everything is great! So easy! But the teeth hide in the challenge resolution. The odds of succeeding at each challenge is based on two entirely separate things: whether the characters are happy about what the fellowship is doing and whether […]

Ben Robbins | June 9th, 2019 |

The Flipside of the Quest

Print-conscious players have asked me why Follow quests take up two pages. Couldn’t I have jammed all that stuff onto a single sheet? First off: no, it’s pretty dense as it is. But more importantly, I wouldn’t even if I could. Quests are intentionally laid out so that you have to hide the first section […]

Ben Robbins | May 8th, 2019 |

A Scene Less Traveled

Science! Invention! Experimentation! It’s what separates us from the apes. The ones on The Planet of the Apes. Those guys were very frowny-faced about new ideas. While I was working on the new version of Union, I also used that opportunity to experiment with some components of Microscope. The original Union was a variant that […]

Ben Robbins | November 11th, 2018 | ,

Gladiator: Choose Your Champion!

Hello, America! Tomorrow is Election Day. Go vote. This summer I started working on a game about elections, hoping to get it into playtesters’ hands before now. That did not happen. That game is GLADIATOR. Choose your champion! Gladiator isn’t a game where you play candidates, it’s a game where you pick candidates. Y’know, the […]

Ben Robbins | November 5th, 2018 |

Union Released

The new and improved second edition of Union is ready to go. Get in there and start making family histories, with all their moments of triumph and tragedy.

Ben Robbins | October 17th, 2018 | , | 2 comments

A More Perfect Union

It’s been a busy year, but the new, improved, revised, and rewritten Union is in final editing right now. It’s very close to be ready for your game table. Very close. I’m stupidly excited to have a stand-alone version of Union that people can just sit down and play. I’ve always thought Union was a […]

Ben Robbins | October 10th, 2018 | ,

Microscope meets 9th Grade English Class

“As the week continued, I could see the students becoming more comfortable not just with the game but with themselves and their interactions in groups. It was transformational for some: I saw students who started the class as awkward, self-doubting students and who were able to take some notable steps in developing their sense of […]

Ben Robbins | August 26th, 2018 | , , | 1 comment

“But we know… they’re gonna die” (Games and Education Interview)

I got to chat with Keenan Kibrick on his new podcast, talking about Microscope, games in the classroom, and (spoiler!) how Romeo and Juliet ends… Games and Education: Interview With Ben Robbins of Microscope Keenan’s being doing great work adapting games for education. Kids playing Lord of Flies as a Kingdom game? Yep, that was […]

Ben Robbins | June 12th, 2018 | , , ,

The Fall and Rise (and Fall) of Antal

Intense game of Follow at Story Games Seattle. We played the Rebellion question, but our fellowship was nowhere near equipped to overthrow the new nobles, House Jakab, that had ousted our traditional rulers, the beloved House of Antal. Character creation led to a wonderfully complex interpersonal web: “My mother was a nanny for the nobles, […]

Ben Robbins | February 19th, 2018 | , ,

Real Dinosaurs Are Bitey

A Jurassic Park-style Kingdom, spawning dinosaurs and showing them off to tourists: what could go wrong?!? We had a petting zoo, dammit. A petting zoo. We were so close to saving the park. So close. But even though we turned a moral corner and decided to start fresh with *natural* dinosaurs instead of the genetically […]

Ben Robbins | February 12th, 2018 | ,

Union Stands Alone

The unicorn befriends the young mother, but penniless she is driven to betray it, leading a wealthy noble to trap the beast for a pouch of gold, a sin that grieves her until she is old and grey. But the unicorn is not so easily caught… Her son goes forth and leads a hard life […]

Ben Robbins | December 12th, 2017 | , , | 4 comments

“Is it… sentient?”

Saturday at Story Games Seattle, we were doing the meditative “hmm, what kind of history do we want to make…” when Connor threw out one word that made everyone at the table go “a ha!!!”: Domestication It got us thinking about symbiosis and spawned a setting where two independent sentient species, one human and one […]

Ben Robbins | November 14th, 2017 | , ,

Kingdom: Return of Time Passes

I’m experimenting with a new way to do Time Passes in Kingdom. I removed it for one-shot games in the latest revision, but you can use this new rule in both one-shot and multi-session games: TIME PASSES When it’s your turn to make a Crossroad, you can instead say that Time Passes. Immediately play out […]

Ben Robbins | September 2nd, 2017 | | 2 comments

Indie RPG Award for Best Supplement

Microscope Explorer won the Indie RPG Award for Best Supplement, which is pretty great. And congratulations to all the other winners. But congratulations too to everyone who put their heart and soul into making a game, whether you got an award for it or not. The award is not the important part.

Ben Robbins | August 24th, 2017 | ,