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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Naming your town Utopia is just asking for it (Microscope Chronicle)

Naming your town Utopia is just asking for it (Microscope Chronicle)

user 8415259
Seattle, WA
Post #: 70
Players: Pat, J.C., Evan, Monica.

We tried out the newest Microscope spawn: Chronicle. Our subject was Utopia, a tiny slice of Americana in the middle of nowhere. We started with the original homestead fraught with feuding settlers and greedy oil barons, moved into state highway tourist attractions, and ended at a depressing hellhole, gutted by corporate interests and condemned as unlivable by the government.

We played very few scenes, and as a result, we got through 4 focuses and laid down quite a bit of history.

Some feedback on the new Chronicle mechanics:
- Traits felt a little forced at times. Particularly the third "whatever you want" trait.
- The cool continuity formed by referencing adjacent periods quickly got chopped up as we inserted new periods between, and at times felt random.
- With a town as the subject, the traits and the periods felt a little redundant. Painting the picture of the period in the town told us plenty about the town. J.C. pointed out that this might just be unique to certain subjects. Indeed, with a previous Chronicle game with a dagger as the subject, the periods and the subject's traits had nothing to do with one another.
- Touchstones are great!

Ben R.
Group Organizer
North Truro, MA
Post #: 529
Yeah, I'm thinking the traits might be entirely unnecessary. The description of the Period does the job.

Anyone else have thoughts?
A former member
Post #: 29
As above, I think the traits issue varies based on the nature of the subject. I would love to play a game with a narrower subject (e.g. a book or a sword) and see how they fair there. I would guess that whenever the subject (is there a game term for the thing chronicled?) is big enough to be inhabited by more than a few people (e.g. town, castle, spaceship) there is divergence between traits and period description. I'm not sure how that would (1) fall out for something like a house or a Winnebago or (2) get turned into a useful mechanical rule though something like "you can choose not to use traits if your subject is (large enough to be | is) inhabited" seems like it may work.

I would be hesitant to say that the periods getting cut up makes traits random. I feel like it gives an awesome thematic consistency. The way the town was intermittently hopeful and impoverished/despondent was great. I would, however, echo that at times the third felt a bit forced and could be an optional thing on a period-by-period basis. The only problem I could see is that it would make it harder for someone picking their one that has to match because options could go from six to four.

I really like having a focus character for each period though a couple of times it felt like it was a bit of a stretch to make things involve them though that may have just been people saying "oh I want to do this thing, oh yea it has to involve person X so I'll add thing Y." We talked some about the overlap in game terms between Chronicle and Kingdom with the word "touchstone" Maybe "key figure" or "recurring character"?

The one thing that kind of seems kind of "overpowered" was that a focus who makes a period and an event in turn ends up with so much control over the fiction. Traits and the touchstone and the period and the event. I'm not sure how to fix it without nerfing the Lens or making traits/touchstone collaborative both of which sound less than ideal and more problematic than "excessive" narrative control.

Despite this huge block of feedback, I loved this game and am excited to play it again soon (read: maybe I'll pitch it next Thursday).
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