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A Whole Stack of Worlds

Does one of these belong to you?

In This World books

If you interpret this glorious sight to mean that printing is done and shipping is underway, you would be correct.

Ben Robbins | February 5th, 2024 |

In This Murder

“Let’s pick a light topic, like Holidays. Or maybe… MURRRRDEERRR????”

The Thursday night hobbits have a knack for In This World that is by now well-documented: sparrow bodhisattvas, mech wars, reimagining the Aliens movies… oh right, I never posted about the Aliens game. Someone remind me to do that.

So when we sat down to play our last game of the year, and folks said “hey, let’s imagine what the world would be like if MURDER followed totally different rules”, I had zero doubts it would be juicy.

We had a “vibe is 1970s Soylent Green” take, where the world is so overpopulated that murder is encouraged, except the government would really, kind-of, much rather you killed less wealthy or successful people.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | January 18th, 2024 | ,

What’s Making This Downfall So Good?

We’re playing a game of Downfall that has rapidly become my favorite. I was going to say it’s up there, but by now there is no question: this is the best Downfall game I’ve ever played.

But because I am a game scientist, complete with lab coat and goggles, I cannot leave well enough alone. I cannot simply say “hey, that was fun!” I must take the machine apart, gear by gear, and see what makes it tick so nicely. I must understand. I must know. And fortunately for me, Ace and Joe, the other players at the table, are just as big game scientists as I am.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | December 20th, 2023 | ,

Making History Out of Order, But With Kingdom

Over the past few years we’ve played some pretty huge Kingdom legacy games. Yes, the rules say you can make each new era in the past or future of your community, but on a whim I wondered just how often we actually played out of chronological order? Luckily I have all the data, so figuring that out is super easy…

As a baseline, this first charts shows what it would look like if we just kept playing in chronological order. Sessions are shown from left to right, with a longer flat line meaning we played more sessions in that era.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | December 19th, 2023 | , , ,

“To buy D&D, you went to the store that sold the trains…”

I love when interviews stop being “interviews” and turn into conversations about the things we love. That’s exactly what happened during this chat with Craig Shipman on the Third Floor Wars podcast. A very fun time!

Third Floor Wars Podcast, Tabletop Talk with Ben Robbins

We cover a whole range of stuff, from when I started gaming as a kid, through the early days of story games, and then all the way up to new things like Microscope and In This World. Very “this is your life”.

Spoiler: the end is not really the end.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | December 11th, 2023 | , , , , | 1 comment

Prophecies Can Be Good or Bad

“This is part of the magic of collaborative world-building — that you can start a sentence with no pressure to finish it on your own.

Jump. Your friends will catch you.”

Jack Edward wrote a very thoughtful review of In This World after playing it with his group to brainstorm a campaign world. I highly recommend it.

I really appreciate the honest reflections on the experience, both for Jack as the usual GM and the players that are hoping to play in this world later. Lots of good observations. There’s also a reddit thread discussing the post and In This World in general.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | December 3rd, 2023 |

Gameplay Video: Wild Worlds of Dating

We’re back at the table, playing more In This World. What could top our Vacations game? How about Dating..???

In This World: Dating

We recorded this game a while back, shortly after the Vacations session, but technical problems prevented me from editing and posting it when I first intended. Now that In This World is done, I circled back around to finish up and share it with you.

Marc, Caroline, Al and I were joined by Justin, who had never played In This World before. Which is perfect, because it reminded me to explain every step of the game… eventually!… [read more]

Ben Robbins | November 30th, 2023 | , ,

In This World Is Out

The full release of In This World is done! You can get it and play right now.

In This World

If you bought the early access release, you should have already received an email with your download link.

The book is about 20 pages longer than I originally planned, not because the rules changed — the rules are rock steady — but because I included more examples of play (at the wise suggestion of my backers) and also because I dug deep into the game theory mines to analyze exactly what goes on when you sit a bunch of people down and ask them to reimagine the world together.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | November 26th, 2023 | | 2 comments

Summerween

In This World Halloween

You had me at watermelon jack-o-lanterns…

Ben Robbins | October 30th, 2023 | , ,

Voyage of the Astral Swan

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar…

Calamity Vault is a new podcast playing rare indie gems. Their first game? Kingdom! And they absolutely kill it with the ‘Lost In Luxury Space’ seed:

Calamity Vault: We Make Our Kingdom Together

One important caveat is that they played the old edition from 2013, not the more recent K2 from 2021. If you listen to their review in the third episode, you’ll see they had some difficulty with the rules, which totally makes sense, because the old text is… cumbersome. Which is exactly why I had such a burning desire to go back and revise it into the sleek and sharp book it is now.

Ben Robbins | October 24th, 2023 | ,

In This House, A Mouse

I’m working on finishing In This World, but I keep thinking of more things I want to add. Just the other night we playtested an “alternate history” rules variant and now that absolutely has to go in the book. Plus there’s my usual perfectionist streak.

But the real thing slowing me down is… a mouse. A tiny frenemy, who has penetrated the perimeter and found a way into the innards of my house.

Tiny feet sneaking around the rafters is… distracting. Like Batman, it haunts the night. I merely adopted the dark, it was born in it.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | October 16th, 2023 | | 1 comment

“Was ist eure nächste Queste?”

Plotbunny has translated Follow into German and the crowdfunding launch is underway right now!

Follow in German

Andrea Rick is managing the project, and I’ve been very impressed with her attention to detail and her desire to make sure the translation captures the experience of the original game.

It’s nearly half-funded, so if you’re a German-speaker who wants to bring some gaming goodness to your table, get in there!

Ben Robbins | October 8th, 2023 | ,

Damage Per Second

I was playing Sentinels with the usual crew, and my buddy was playing a character that could play a card to let them play a card to let them play a card, etc. Each turn took… forever. We might still be playing. I’m not sure.

The character wasn’t exactly overpowered, because each of those cards didn’t do a ton, but it took a long while to resolve even a moderately good hit.

I joked that, unlike video games, in tabletop games Damage Per Second (DPS) isn’t just a measure of how effective you are but whether the stuff you did was worth the playtime it took away from everyone else.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | September 4th, 2023 | , | 1 comment

Say Hello to Chop Downhouse

Ever wonder whether you could come up with the best character name of all time? Well the bad news is, you can’t, because that achievement goes to 5-year-old who came up with Chop Downhouse. CHOP DOWNHOUSE.

Yep, Caroline has started playing D&D with her kiddo: Mommy, Let’s Play Dungeons and Dragons

“And if you’ve ever heard a five year old say “Dungeons and Dragons” over and over again in his irresistibly cute voice you can understand that I was powerless to say no. And so our DnD campaign began.”

Highly recommended read. We can only hope for further updates, though I’ve heard rumors that the kiddo has already been tempted by story games and started playing both In This World and Microscope…

Ben Robbins | September 2nd, 2023 | ,