Tag Results

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 | ,

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 | , , ,

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 | , ,

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 | ,

Teaching Teachers How to Teach

Keenan Kibrick continues to kill it in the classroom, teaching teachers how to teach Microscope (say that ten times fast). Yes, that event says “mobile gas chamber”. History can be scary. And if you’re an educator, definitely check out the Immersive Imaginative Education discussion group. It’s a place to share ideas about how role-playing can […]

Ben Robbins | May 28th, 2017 | ,

An Eye for an Eye

Do cybernetic implants count as human remains? When you have parts inside you that are the intellectual property of others, where does the boundary of ownership lie — is it really *your* arm? And once total body replacement is available, can you still be held responsible for your actions since someone else made your synthetic […]

Ben Robbins | April 17th, 2017 | , , ,

Kill All Enlightened Robots

Usually at a con you get some good games and some okay games. At our story games area at Emerald City Comicon I drew the lucky penny: all my games were great great great. One Microscope game included a textbook example of building on each other’s contributions to make an unexpected whole. We’re making the […]

Ben Robbins | April 11th, 2017 | , ,

The Scarlet Letter: Microscope in the Classroom

Keenan is killing it bringing story games to the classroom. His latest post is about using Microscope scene structure to explore the Scarlet Letter. The kids’ feedback is stunning, once again. Scarlet Letter: Microscope Scene Building and Reflections Other educators are starting to share their experiences on the new “games in the classroom” G+ community, […]

Ben Robbins | December 19th, 2016 | ,

Microscope Oracle: Capes & Justice

“fall of league of supervillains creates world war” “outlawing of experimental drug unleashes social inequality” “rise of psi talents unites terrorists” The special bonus superhero Oracle from the Microscope Explorer kickstarter is ready to go! You can use the PDF and roll the dice or use the oracle online. There a lot of societal issues, […]

Ben Robbins | September 11th, 2016 | ,

Legacies are Mini-Focuses

A lot of people look at Legacies in Microscope and ask: what’s the point? What purpose do they serve? Couldn’t we just skip that step? Here’s an excerpt from Microscope Explorer, where I talk about that very thing: Legacies perform a vital function, but it is a fairly subtle one. At its heart, a Legacy […]

Ben Robbins | August 13th, 2016 |

The Blooded

Last weekend I had a chance to play Microscope for the first time with some of my gaming crew from way, way back. We’re talking veterans of Lorngard and my old AD&D campaign — that far back. We started our history with a pretty basic fantasy premise: magic was perilous, and a eldritch war had […]

Ben Robbins | August 7th, 2016 | ,

Boom, Stone Age

In Microscope, there’s always room in between, so long as it doesn’t contradict the history you’ve established. But how much room? Again, as much as makes sense. There was a suggestion on twitter about marking cards to show how much time passed between each Period. The problem is, our understanding of the history improves as […]

Ben Robbins | August 6th, 2016 | , | 3 comments

“You know why I got the funny voices? Years of GMing”

Back with the fine folks at HyperRPG, talking about Microscope. And a bit about Follow. And West Marches. And Braunstein. And Pokemon Go. We cover some territory, we do. The bad news is, I have no idea why there is jazz playing the whole time. We couldn’t hear it in the studio. Yeah, it’s kind […]

Ben Robbins | July 25th, 2016 | , , ,

Microscope Seeds: Secrets & Squirrels

Two more history seeds for you! These were created as part of the Microscope Explorer kickstarter, based on ideas requested by generous backers, but they are provided as free downloads for all Microscope players to enjoy. In the War of Secrets seed, a world-shaking truth lurks, guarded by some and sought by others: Aliens hide […]

Ben Robbins | July 14th, 2016 | ,

“I have never been so proud of her…”

I was on my way to make a surprise appearance on Strix’s Weekly Affirmations show on HyperRPG when it occurred to me that in the seven years I’ve been playing Microscope, I had never recorded a session I played. Ever. So if you’ve been curious to see how I play and teach Microscope (with occasional […]

Ben Robbins | July 5th, 2016 | , , , | 2 comments

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 | ,

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 | ,

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 | , | 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 | | 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 | ,