Pat, Mike, and me. For Mike and me, not only was it our first game of Microscope, it was also first story game experience! We gamed for just over two hours and finished six rounds.
Dune-inspired space opera ruled by families, beginning with the period that ships left Earth and concluding with the period of the last family falling. On the palette of acceptable things in this universe: Yes to sentient AI and space dragons, no habitable planets, no cheap faster-than-light travel, and no to space dogfights.
Gameplay and thoughts:
We started off via the Lens (focus for a round of turns) on the Vent-Kosch Corporation, which turned out to be the major supplier of technology in our universe with plenty of political desire to gain power in the family structure. Kosch splinters off in protest. The second Lens was on the Rogers, a small family that stumbles upon an opportunity to blackmail the now powerful Vent family. They get consequently vaporized, but their fate was captured on future-YouTube and Mr. and Mr. Rogers (the co-patriarches) became folk heroes. Here, Vent suddenly gets a huge target on its back--and here, I would have expected one of us to take out the Vent and play out the aftermath of their actions, but interestingly, we don't. The next few Lens moved away from the focus on particular families and were more about adding pieces to the timeline. We put in the aforementioned AI into several segments without expanding much more on them, added space dragons--the molten core of a planet that was able to traverse space with seemingly intelligent behaviors, then billions die. Presumably related to trying to colonize space dragons. And in the midst, Vent survives throughout the periods, eliminate Kosch, and eventually fall too. I tried to fundamentally break our universe with a twist that the only "humans" that left Earth were actually cyborgs programmed to think they were humans--my coup failed, and we got to use the quirky Push mechanic to implement an alternate AI colonization idea.
Especially memorable and final thoughts:
The most compelling parts of Microscope, for me, were the events that left a lot to the imagination and the events that inspired scenes (ours usually focused on individual families). By the time the game ended, we still haven't understand some easy questions: How did the first humans get to the stars? How did billions die? What really were the space dragons? And in our attempts to explore those questions, I think we all came to a unspoken mutual consensus to leave those questions unanswered and evocative.
Overall we had a fun game, and for me, a great first experience into story games.
Thanks Pat, for hosting!
Edited by Aaron Yip on Jan 2, 2014 11:53 PM