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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Dinosaurs, aliens, and Miz'Thang, oh my! (Microscope)

Dinosaurs, aliens, and Miz'Thang, oh my! (Microscope)

Jasmine J.
Seattle, WA
Post #: 9
We played this at last Thursday's storygamery.

Players: Jasmine, Colin, Alex, Josh

Theme: An invention changes the world

Yes: Dinosaurs, Aliens, steampunk, humans, social issues
No: Zombies/supernatural creatures, medical romanticism (there would be realistic consequences to injuries), nuclear/world-ending weapons

The setting was ParaEarth where humans, dinosaurs, and various races of aliens co-mingled in almost harmony. One of the foci was on Mason Saxton, the first intergalactic Ambassador of ParaEarth, which revealed the rise of StarSpek, a Fortune 5,000,000 company, the first to offer intergalactic communication to the masses. Another focus was on the Lulian god-king Miz'Thang, an alien ruler who wanted to spread Lulian culture across the galaxy, whether they liked it or not. There was a tug-of-war over moon ownership, some ominous spaceships hanging out in the atmosphere for no discernable reason, a fancy state party, Dino-sapien marriage, Lulien cloaking techniques, and more! Despite some jokey names and made-up dinosaur species (hunibadjisaurus), I think this game was largely successful because everyone happily accepted an occasional absurdity and committed fully, so we did have some serious events and scenes go down.

A few character/scene highlights:

-Corbin Blackman, the Earth President. "You're a cowboy, Mason." "Thank you, Mr. President." "That's not a good thing!"
-Xenu, a Lulian alien with questionable motives and a closetful of human suits for undetectable disguises. Xenu the bartender/matchmaking assistant was particularly fun.
-One scene's question was "What is the proper way for an alien to court a dinosaur?" The answer, of course, being to steal a spaceship and take her for an intergalactic romantic spin. A most delightful scene!
-Alex's apparently inexhaustible knowledge of actual dinosaur names. A fan favorite was Grue the plesiosaur with a floating suit of water so he could attend important carnivore meetings on land.
- The Meat War, when the carnivores decided to side with the anti-ParaEarth aliens

This was a pretty smooth game, although we did get a little too loud at one point (sorry, folks!). One cool thing was that we didn't define what the life-changing invention would be at the beginning -- we just said "an invention" and moved on. It became pretty obvious soon enough (intergalactic communication devices) and it was neat that we didn't have to spend time brainstorming about it.

I've never actually been in a Microscope game where we used the Push mechanic, but we encountered that briefly. It was pretty anti-climactic, to be honest. Josh pitched his idea of what he wanted to have happen and Colin was cool with it and that was it. So very successful! It made me realize that having Push around is actually nice, similar to the veil, where it doesn't have to be used (and hopefully seldom is), but just having the groundwork for it made it easy to address the moment (I don't even want to say "conflict," because it really wasn't) and then move on seamlessly and get on with the game.

This was also my first time facilitating a game and while it was terrifying, it wasn't so bad :) Big shout-out to Alex for the assist and for reminding me to mention a few details that seem natural when you've played before, but not so natural when you haven't. The big one for me was remembering to mention when the line is drawn between collaborative world building and when it's time to shut up and let each player have her/his moment in the sun. I'm glad Alex spoke up BEFORE we got into doing the first pass so that there wasn't any confusion once people started getting the creative juices flowin'. I can see how if you're new to the game and you don't know when to stop being collaborative, it could be a serious bummer to suddenly have people say, "Not your turn!" when you didn't know.

Great game, REALLY good player chemistry!
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