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Hot Off the Presses

What am I doing this weekend? Here’s a hint: Books are here. Shipping has begun. There’s always something magical about holding a finished product in your hand. Magical, but not quite as magical as hearing about people having a great time playing the game. That is still the best.

Ben Robbins | August 4th, 2017 | | 2 comments

“Unpredictability is Key”

In Microscope, the sense of not knowing what’s going to happen next is provided by the simple fact that humans are unpredictable, and your fellow players are human. Spot on.

Ben Robbins | January 27th, 2014 |

A Kingdom (book) of Your Own

Kingdom books are now on sale. Go get you one. You’ll notice that you can order Microscope books too. Now that I’ve jumped into the deep end and set up the infrastructure to ship piles of books for Kickstarter, I’m going to give direct sales a try. Books and PDFs will still be available at […]

Ben Robbins | December 12th, 2013 | | 2 comments

My Norwescon Schedule: Talk a lot, don’t you?

I’m going to be on a stack of panels at Norwescon. To wit: System Matters: The Right RPG for the Job (Fri 1-2 pm) Like the invisible hand of fate, the rules you use weigh on every aspect of your game sometimes in ways you aren’t even aware of. Are you using the right tool […]

Ben Robbins | March 23rd, 2013 | , | 3 comments

Lottery & The Pickup Donut (part 2)

We did the Pickup Donut for just about every slot of Go Play NW 2010. But for one slot, we tried something even more experimental… The Lottery Unlike the Pickup Donut, which had been part of our plan to handle the large volume of pickup games for months, the Lottery was a last minute idea. […]

Ben Robbins | May 12th, 2011 | , | 3 comments

Bears Are Not (That) Scary

It’s the Halloween season, so we return to that old chestnut: fear. I’ve talked a little about scaring players before, or more accurately, getting players to be willing to let themselves be scared, but let’s talk about fear itself. Rumor has it there is nothing else to fear. There’s pretty much two breeds of fear: […]

Ben Robbins | October 21st, 2010 | | 5 comments

Crisscrossing Players and Plots and Not Losing Your Mind

After West Marches I ran a long-term superhero game, New Century City. Unlike West Marches it followed the more traditional “the GM creates a situation and the players have fun with it” model, which was fitting because superhero games are one of the most reactive genres you can play: villains hatch schemes, heroes react to […]

Ben Robbins | March 22nd, 2010 | , , | 19 comments

Playtest Update: Wider Events

For the last few months playtesting Microscope I’ve been focusing on how Legacies work with taking control of scenes. Fixated, actually. Borderline obsessed. I’ve chased different ideas around, probably a lot more than was necessary, leading to some gentle but firm raps on the head from my wise playtesters. But while I was doing all […]

Ben Robbins | March 10th, 2010 | | 2 comments

The Past is Never Closed, and other data storage problems

Remember that game five months ago, when you met that guy who got you that forged visa? Y’know, during that adventure when your ship was smuggling medical supplies past the blockade? Shifty little guy? Wore a monocle? He wasn’t an important character, and he wasn’t the interesting part of the game, so maybe you remember […]

Ben Robbins | May 14th, 2009 | , | 6 comments

M&M Universal Combat Maneuver

Next time you want to do something a little different but have no idea how the M&M rules support it, try the Universal Combat Maneuver: 1) Think of an appropriate description of your maneuver, including how it’s different from your normal attack. 2) Use a Move action to perform the maneuver. 3) Take a +2 […]

Ben Robbins | April 12th, 2007 | | 3 comments

Screening Player Characters

Player character creation is the most important step of your game. It is more important than any NPC you have prepared or any plot you have in mind. Decisions made during PC creation will determine the entire outcome of the game. I really can't stress how important it is. Good character creation stacks the deck […]

Ben Robbins | April 13th, 2006 |

M&M Red Flags

When I GM I am fanatical about scrutinizing new player characters to make sure they are going to play well. I want PCs to have abilities that a) encourage them to play the genre, b) won’t just eliminate interesting situations, and c) will work well with the other PCs and not overshadow anyone (all rules […]

Ben Robbins | April 11th, 2006 | | 4 comments

Making the Party

You’re about to run a game with a new group of characters. You’ve put a lot of work into preparing your game, which is good, but if the party isn’t good, the players aren’t going to enjoy themselves and all your preparation will be worth about the same as none — which is none. It […]

Ben Robbins | November 29th, 2005 | | 1 comment