Posts in this Category

Microscope Seed: Brave New World

“Colonists set foot on a new planet and strive to make it home. Can it grow into a flourishing, civilized world or will the colony fail and be forgotten?” Brave New World is one of the new, improved seeds in Microscope Explorer, but I wanted to make it available for all those Microscope players who […]

Ben Robbins | May 29th, 2016 | microscope explorer, microscope tools

Oracles for Everyone

Don’t you hate it when you sit down to play Microscope and then fumble about trying to pick a topic for your history? So many possibilities. Not quite infinite but really really big. And each minute of brainstorming and discussion is one less minute of play. As I’ve said many times, you don’t need need […]

Ben Robbins | April 6th, 2016 | microscope explorer

Happy Birthday, Microscope!

It’s hard to believe Microscope is five years old today (almost seven if you count from the first game we played). And what better birthday present than brand new Microscope Explorer books, hot off the presses? Let the shipping commence..!

Ben Robbins | February 23rd, 2016 | microscope explorer | 1 comment

History Is a Lie

I finish Microscope Explorer and I immediately start coming up with even more ways to play. Doh! Jonathan Walton asked: Thinking about using Microscope for a grad class on Friday. Anyone run it (or Echo) as attempt to uncover/obscure “true” history? I’m hoping it might be useful for exploring multiple competing narratives about the same […]

Ben Robbins | February 18th, 2016 | microscope | 1 comment

Breaking the Oracles

The first print test of Microscope Explorer just came back. Yep, it looks great. But before I press the big red button that starts the actual print run, I’m double-checking (and triple-checking) everything, then doing a second print test with those final corrections. One of main things I’ve been doing is stress-testing the Oracles to […]

Ben Robbins | January 24th, 2016 | microscope explorer

Unleash the Scribes!

“Wanted: Hundreds of monks to manually transcribe copies of Microscope Explorer onto thin pages of vellum…” What’s that? We’ve got machines for that now? Whew, that’ll save time. And monks. Now that the PDF is done I’m working on test prints of the book. When those check out, bulk printing begins. Depending on turnaround times […]

Ben Robbins | January 12th, 2016 | microscope explorer | 4 comments

Microscope Explorer Released

Microscope Explorer, the new supplement for Microscope, is available, right now. Backers have already had their hands on Union, Chronicle and history Seeds for months, so it’s time to give everyone else a shot! Books should be ready to ship in February but you can pre-order them now.

Ben Robbins | January 3rd, 2016 | microscope explorer

“Arrr why won’t my kids grow up faster?!?”

It’s always fantastic to chat with RpgGamerDad. After he invited me to talk about Microscope back in January I promised I’d come back when the Microscope Explorer was underway. So I did! RpgGamerDad Podcast: Ep 43 – Sunny Seattle Special RpgGamerDad also talked a bit about Microscope Explorer and his plans to run Microscope with […]

Ben Robbins | August 3rd, 2015 | microscope explorer, microscope kids

Flight of the Madamas

“We created the Citizen Kane of spaceship stories…” –Timothy Young Sometimes the excellent games sneak up on you. They disguise themselves with trenchcoats and fake moustaches and then, when you least expect it, they pounce! I played two games of Microscope Chronicle at PAX last year. The first was the story of a mechwarrior-style mercenary […]

Ben Robbins | July 29th, 2015 | microscope actual play, microscope explorer

Microscope Explorer Kicks Off

Psst! Hey, kid! Want to score some cool new ways to play Microscope? I’ve got some Microscope Explorer right here… (uh, imagine me whispering in a dark alley, possibly wearing a ratty trench coat, tempting the youths with story games and that sweet, sweet imagination…)

Ben Robbins | July 6th, 2015 | microscope explorer

Echo: Take Your Time

Ever since the first playtest, Microscope Echo required the Lens to describe a faction going back and changing history. The idea was that this intervention kicks off each round and drives the action. But as I keep playing it, I’m thinking that requirement isn’t necessary. Players don’t seem at all hesitant to go back and […]

Ben Robbins | June 15th, 2015 | microscope explorer

Getting ready for Microscope Explorer

Now that all the spin-off games have gone through playtesting, I put up a proper introduction page to talk about what’s going to be in the new Microscope Explorer book. Three Microscope spin-off games? Detailed step-by-step seeds plus randomly generated seeds? All that lovely strategic advice? Yep, we got all that.

Ben Robbins | April 28th, 2015 | microscope explorer | 2 comments

“Fantasy worlds that break history’s back”

“But too often, fantasy worlds are created like Ikea furniture, popping up whole with minimal assembly from big pre-existing parts that creak and come apart after heavy use. That’s why so many many fictional worlds seem to produce carbon copies of real world Western gender hierarchies, even if it becomes painfully dissonant with other details […]

Ben Robbins | March 29th, 2015 | microscope

Microscope Echo Needs Playtesters

Four years ago today, Microscope is released: would-be players: “Oh cool! A game about time travel!” me: “Actually no. Players pick where in time they want to explore but the characters in the game can’t move through time. Except, uh, forwards. At the normal speed.” would-be players: “But… I can haz time travel?” Fast forward […]

Ben Robbins | February 23rd, 2015 | microscope explorer | 15 comments

Dark Side of the Moon

The Earth was lost. The tide of Communism had spread to every corner of the globe. But on the Moon the last patriots remained steadfast, raining down showers of city-crushing debris from their lunar bunkers. Vengeful, destructive, but ultimately futile. It was a last hurrah for the West, but too late to turn the tide. […]

Ben Robbins | February 17th, 2015 | microscope actual play, microscope explorer