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December 14, 2011 / Wythe

Microscope is totally amazing

Or at least, it sure looks that way. Microscope is a new RPG, a collaborative worldbuilding/history-telling game where everyone takes turn GMing. Check it out:

The book is beautiful and easy to read. Can’t wait to test-play it. Something appeals to me, deeply and instantly, about the grandness of the game’s scope (you delineate the beginning and end of the universe, if you want your history to be truly expansive), the strictness of its rules (you can never contradict another player), and the openness of the system-making and -tweaking (everyone acts out Scenes, moment-by-moment descriptions of important events/turns in history; everyone can insert a new Event or Scene or even a whole Period of history, anywhere on the time-map).

Microscope is also a great object for RPG-philosophical noodling. In many ways, it seeks to distill what’s fun about worldbuilding, omitting math, and even largely omitting hierarchy. Instead of “a GM” (writer) and “players” (a special class of objects in the writer’s world), we get the world; we are the world and its evolution, backward and forward; we share, only momentarily, the functions of GM, listener, objector, etc. A little Utopian? Perhaps. But (unfortunately) it’s only a game.


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