IN THIS WORLD MICROSCOPE KINGDOM FOLLOW UNION Subscribe More Ars Ludi

Follow In German

Want to play Follow with your German-speaking friends? The good news is a translation is in the works, courtesy of Plotbunny Games.

Nächstes Crowdfunding: Follow von Ben Robbins!

Work on the translation has already been underway and there’s going to be a crowdfunding campaign, so if you’re interested keep an eye on their website!

Ben Robbins | September 2nd, 2023 | ,

My Mom’s a Mech Merc on Mars

I’ve been GMing a very hacked version of Lancer. Our setting has kind of a Cowboy Bebop meets Hammers Slammers meets professional sports vibe: pilots are professionals but it’s just a job. It’s not personal. And because they’re in mighty mighty mecha, even if they get wrecked in combat they are likely to walk away with minor injuries so they can have a drink at the bar with pilots from the other side and talk smack between battles.

Likewise, most pilots change outfits a lot over their careers. You do a stint with the Wolves of Ganymede, but when your contract is up maybe you sign with the Redstars, until they fire you or you get a better offer.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | August 16th, 2023 | ,

Now you can play In This World too

Did you miss the Kickstarter? If so, you can finally get your hands on the early access rules of In This World. When you pre-order the book or PDF, you’ll get the fully playable rules now, and the final version when it is released.

Lots of people have told me they only heard about the Kickstarter after it ended, which is the classic problem with crowdfunding campaigns — no matter how hard you try to get the word out, people miss it. Backers have had the early access version of In This World all to themselves for two months, so it feels about time to let people who were late to the party have some fun too.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | August 8th, 2023 |

Do you remember Remember Tomorrow?

Remember Tomorrow by Gregor Hutton is a weird little game that you probably never heard of. It came out back in 2010, and it’s possible that it made less of an impact because on the surface it doesn’t look weird at all. You play a character with a goal, fighting bad guys to get what you want. What could be more straightforward?

We have two — count em two — Remember Tomorrow games going right now. One straight cyberpunk, and the other digging more into one of the fantasy eras of one of our Kingdom legacy games.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | July 31st, 2023 | , , , | 1 comment

Time Is A Tentacle

Microscope game recording on the Roll Play Game podcast. They’re expanding on an existing published setting, so there’s a lot of negotiation and discussion at the very start about what fits, but after that they get down to proper Microscope-business.

Storm of Whispers – Prologue I: The Origins of the Race

And when they say “origins of the race” they mean a race like vroom-vroom! I missed that at first, leading to some hilarious misunderstandings on my part.

Ben Robbins | July 30th, 2023 | ,

Beware False Prophets

A digital Fahrenheit 451 meets Twitter. Censorship, online connectivity (or the lack thereof), and everyone winding up miserable.

That’s the history I got to play with some folks who had never tried Microscope before, or hardly any story games for that matter. Playing with new folks is — let’s not mince words — always a fucking treat. It shakes up your habits and keeps you on your feet.

At one point in our history, after people disconnect en masse to defy the terrible terrible tech overlords, true believers compile the Lexicon, a digital “all book” with all the knowledge that could once be found on the net.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | July 24th, 2023 | ,

Barbie x Microscope

Barbie x Microscope

Yes, that’s Barbie Microscope.

There are close ups of the timeline in the thread which are just loaded with golden moments: “Ken is good at taking orders.” “Why does Ken have big feelings???” I can *see* the story arc unfolding.

I have… no words. Just infinite love and respect.

Ben Robbins | July 16th, 2023 | , ,

You got Kingdom in my D&D!

How do you introduce a big mysterious enclave of druids to your D&D players without a boring info dump? Well if you’re a bold experimenter, you have the whole group play a game of Kingdom to create the enclave, so the players already know all about it. Oh and maybe you have to do that with seven players, just to add another wild wrinkle.

How did it go?

In short, it was an incredible experience, met my needs, and is highly recommended. So long as I, as a GM, was able to give my players an untouched section of the lore for them to be free in I was able to achieve:

  • An epic, complex history that my players all understand out of experience rather than memorization.
[read more] Ben Robbins | July 12th, 2023 | , , ,

A Place to Talk About GMless Games

I’m trying a little experiment.

Role-playing games with no GM are… let’s face it, a tiny weird niche in the tabletop RPG universe. So when you try to talk about GMless games in a forum that is 99.9% about games with a GM, it’s hard to generate any useful discussion density. Lots of people have zero idea what you’re talking about, or are concerned with the kind of things that only matter to GMed games.

We need a place to talk about GMless games specifically. So we made one:

/r/gmless

It is brand new, hot of the presses, new car smell, the works.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | July 2nd, 2023 | , , | 3 comments

Just Him and His Dad

From an email I’ve been meaning to post. Today seems like the right day:

Just wanted to let you know – I introduced a friend of mine to Microscope with a 4-person game a few months back, and he enjoyed it so much that I bought him the rulebook. He texted me yesterday saying that he played a 2-person game the other night, just him and his dad (a first-time Microscope player), and that:

“I haven’t had an interaction with my dad like that since we played first edition D&D together when I was a kid.”

[read more] Ben Robbins | June 18th, 2023 | , , | 4 comments

In This Life

“I’m tired of characters who are just shallow stereotypes…”

We had just finished a delightful session of In This World and were basking in the afterglow. Talk turned to different stripes of gaming, from story games to D&D. Which is when Ace said how tired they were of one-dimensional characters. Characters that were just cardboard cutouts or well-trodden stereotypes instead of digging into what made them who they were. We all agreed that this was indeed a pox upon the house of gaming.

And then Joe said: I wonder if you could use In This World to make more interesting characters?… [read more]

Ben Robbins | June 17th, 2023 | , | 1 comment

Combining Worlds: See You Space Cowboy…

We had an urge to play some space cowboys. But what does “space cowboys” even mean to us? There was one way to find out: play In This World and chew on our preconceptions.

Our plan was to play In This World to prototype some worlds, and then pick one to use for another game we were going to run. Rather than trying to define “space cowboys” as a concept at the start, we used the ‘combine two things’ technique and inserted space into slot 1 and cowboys into slot 2, just to make sure we were really starting from the ground floor.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | June 11th, 2023 | , | 3 comments

Early Access Released

My original plan was to release an early access version of In This World to backers after the Kickstarter ended, so they could get started playing before the whole book was done.

But then the other day I was having a great time playing with a new group of people and it made me think — for the millionth time — that this game is just fun to play. And I thought to myself: why wait? Why not let my backers start playing as soon as possible?

So that’s what I did. I finished incorporating all the playtest feedback, revised and improved all the explanation text, made sure everything was ready to go, and then sent it out to backers.… [read more]

Ben Robbins | June 10th, 2023 | | 2 comments

Gameplay Video: In This World

Trying something new! I’ve uploaded a gameplay video of one of our In This World sessions. The topic for our worlds: Vacations!

I’ve never tried posting video of our sessions before, but a lot of people have asked to see what all my games look like in action, so we’ll see how this works!

It is, of course, totally unscripted. You get to see the whole process, from sitting down to picking a topic for our worlds to hashing out all the details. Real gaming, warts and all! Big kudos to Caroline, Marc, and Al for being willing to take the plunge!… [read more]

Ben Robbins | May 30th, 2023 | , ,