a fractal role-playing game of epic histories
by Ben Robbins
Most Innovative New Product
Gaming Genius Awards 2011
RPG Game of the Year
Golden Geek Awards 2011, 2012
What is Microscope?
Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization…
Fledgling nations arise from the ruins of the empire…
An ancient line of dragon-kings dies out as magic fades from the realm…
These are all examples of Microscope games. Want to explore an epic history of your own creation, hundreds or thousands of years long, all in an afternoon? That's Microscope.
You won't play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.
You have vast power to create... and to destroy. Build beautiful, tranquil jewels of civilization and then consume them with nuclear fire. Zoom out to watch the majestic tide of history wash across empires, then zoom in and explore the lives of the people who endured it.
Mock chronological order.
Defy time and space.
Build worlds and destroy them.
A role-playing game for two to four players. No GM. No prep. Microscope was playtested for two years by over 150 awesome gamers.
"Microscope is incredible! A truly brilliant design. Also, the book is extremely well done. Highly recommended."
"Ben Robbins' Microscope may be the clearest-written game text I've ever read - which is helpful, because it is also one of the most innovative games I've come across in a long time. Microscope engagingly challenges assumptions and upends long-held conventions of play while delivering a singular and satisfying evening of gaming. And "fractal role playing" is no joke - the minute you finish, you'll want to dive back in and explore some interesting sliver of the vast history you just built."
"It's been a long time that a game captures my attention like Microscope. Bypass the hype, it's a truly remarkable well-instruction'd game"
"If you play just one role playing game this century, make Microscope that game. Microscope is a game that takes many standard assumptions of a role-playing game and stands them on their head. Players share the creation of an over-arching storyline, like the rise and fall of an empire, the mythic beginnings of human culture, or a bloodthirsty war between interstellar species. It's a unique storytelling engine that sweeps away blinders of limits we enforce on the medium, which, I hope, will help us better realize the full potential of this form. There is so much more we could be doing. Microscope is a great start."
"Microscope is a model of minimalist complexity: with easy-to-learn tools you gain the power to create a believable history that will surprise you even as you're authoring it. Microscope excels as either a stand-alone game or a collaborative way to build a setting with your gaming group for another game entirely."
You can purchase Microscope online in Print or PDF, or ask your friendly local game store to carry it.
The Kickstarter for the Microscope Explorer expansion is running right now! Check it out:
You can also use the Microscope Journal app to turn your iPhone into a mobile game table (requires Microscope rules).
Keep up with the latest news on the Microscope blog.