For August 3rd, the topic is my favourite new game of the last 12 months. I’m interpreting it as a newly played game which might be new or an old one. In this case, my favourite new game was published in 2011 and it is Microscope by Ben Robbins.
Microscope is a game of world building and exploration. Two topics which I enjoy in games. As a group, you create a history and explore the events, characters and locations within it.
You start with setting your games parameters which delimits what you wish and don’t wish. This is useful to frame the sandbox of your game. Will you be exploring the life of a tribe? Will you uncover the history of a galactic civilization? Will you create the life of a TV show franchise? Your options are limited only by the group’s imagination which means it is vast.
Once you have the frame set-up, you determine the start and end of the history. They can be both positive, negative or one of each, in whichever order you wish. The games goes by defining major periods or digging deeper to define events or play out a scene within the event to answer a question. Each round around the group, one different player holds the lens to a certain aspect of history to focus upon.
Once the game is over, you have a history which the group worked on. You can do whatever you wish with it. You can let it go. You can grab it, decide on a period and play a game using any system of your choice. You can write about it.
Jordan Richer of Cardboard Kingdom told me that he wishes to organize a Microscope game at their Beers & Boardgames event on Thursday, August 13th, 2015. I offered to help him out and if we have enough players, we might organize two tables.
Currently, Ben Robbins is holding a kickstarter for the expansion called Microscope Explorer. His extra options interest me. He introduces: Union, turning history into a family tree; Chronicle, focusing the history to a single thing and thus making it more personal; Echo, which bring time-travel to Microscope. I’m highly curious about Union and Echo. I find family important and I love time travel stories. Chronicle intrigues me for the personal aspect since I enjoy character driven stories. As of today, there’s less than 48 hours to go.