addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwchatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrosseditemptyheartexportfacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgoogleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › My Dad, he's full of stars! (Microscope Union playtest)

My Dad, he's full of stars! (Microscope Union playtest)

Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 512
players: Drew, Tim, Ben

I enjoyed this game a lot. I really liked what everyone brought into the story. There was so much that was beautiful and bittersweet (and sometimes darkly terrible). Or just plain ordinary and human.

This was the very first session but it turned out even better than I had hoped. It feels pretty solid, which shouldn't be entirely surprising since it's derived from Microscope.

Drew, Tim: now that you've had time to process, any thoughts or feedback?
Tim M.
TimM
Seattle, WA
Post #: 38
It was an interesting game, and I enjoyed it. I like that there tends to be significantly more scenes than in (normal) Microscope, due to the set number of "events" and the more constrictive Focus.

I will say, in retrospect, that one thing I kind of missed was the more free-form nature of the Legacy in normal Microscope. The Legacy in Union isn't constrictive by any means; but if it were like the original Legacy, it would allow the Legacy player to draw interesting connections between otherwise unrelated branches of the tree...like having a character mentioned in a scene show up in a dictated scene with someone else. And then it would stick around to be used again (if interest remained in that interconnecting element). I don't know whether it would help the game or hurt the game to do that, since the current Legacy is more specifically focused on family connections, but it would make the Legacy turn more unique from the other normal player turns (like it is in the original Microscope).

Also, like I kept repeatedly bringing up during our game, when the rules were finalized on paper, it would be my suggestion to not define the term "Parent" too strictly (except for the fact that, due to the nature of the system, there needs to only be two of them). Allowing for more flexibility in what a Union ultimately means, I think would open up the way for more creativity (like it actually did in our game, with the idea of splicing two mothers' genetic code to ultimately give birth to our "hero"). And I think even if neither parent was a biological parent, if they were the people that mattered most in the formation of the child's life...they would easily qualify as the child's "Parents," and the biological parents wouldn't need to be mentioned at all unless they just happened to come up in a scene. Anyway, I know I already expressed these thoughts during the game...but hey, you did ask.

I enjoyed it quite a bit; and I especially enjoyed that (unlike core Microscope) it is very character-centric and tends to provide more chance to role-play those characters. I think it was an interesting premise and a well-made game. I would happily play it again.
Drew
user 33643632
Seattle, WA
Post #: 24
I agree that this worked really well. Its really amazing how much a characters parents/children help define the character. (Never did anything with Harold or even figure out his wife's name, but merely having this preacher father had an impact on that whole half of the tree). We got a lot of great characters out of this that would've been fun to explore more.

Really the only thing that was a little clunky for me was that sometimes it felt like options were too limited. This was mostly the case at the start when the focus takes a blank pairing, adds a character and you then have to do a scene with that character or come up with another, or at the end when you're stuck doing a scene because everything else is filled in. One possible way to help this would be to let you do a scene (or define) one of the sets of parents fate in addition to the child. But like I said last night, it worked cleanly enough that it probably makes more sense to try it again as is with a different setting than over tweak it to fit the one we used. (Trying it in some sort of nobility setting where lineage/bloodlines matter would be great, also something where genetics based (like first man to run a three minute mile) could be fascinating)
Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 517
Also, like I kept repeatedly bringing up during our game, when the rules were finalized on paper, it would be my suggestion to not define the term "Parent" too strictly (except for the fact that, due to the nature of the system, there needs to only be two of them).

Yep, I agree with all that. I just wrote section to clarify that "parent" is in the eyes of the beholder. I was trying to keep it simple for the first playtest but it was good to jump right in and tackle that.

With the cards (instead of the chart I abandoned before we played) you actually could have two sets of parents if you really wanted to -- just spread the cards out and make more branches. I wouldn't recommend it by default since it can increase the size of the tree dramatically (if the hero has two pairs of parents, you go from 7 unions to 14) but it's an option for anyone who wants to explore that.

One possible way to help this would be to let you do a scene (or define) one of the sets of parents fate in addition to the child.
I'm double-checking the current constraints (of both focus and legacy) to make sure they're dialed in where I want them to be. They're definitely going to be different than Microscope, just because the scope and intent of the game is so different. The downside of loosening up either and allowing more "up/down the tree" options is that pretty quickly you can make anything in half the tree. The focus becomes nearly moot.

I think some of it stems from expectations of Microscope (of course). If you were playing Fiasco or Shock, for example, it wouldn't seem weird at all to be limited to always making scenes with your character. Doesn't mean it's not a valid point though. Ultimately the point of the focus is to keep us playing together instead of telling separate stories. It seemed to work for that, since we were all building on the same characters at the same time.

And yeah, it was pretty stunning how much each person came to life through their connections to everyone else. That really worked much better than I expected.

Thanks a ton for taking this for a spin. I'm polishing the text so other people can try it.
Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 521
The playtest rules are ready to go:

Microscope Union Needs Playtesters
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy