I first heard about this roleplaying game on a writer’s podcast. I was out talking a walk at the time, but the first thing I did when getting home was looking it up. What was this strange game where you roleplayed building a world? I read a little about it on their homepage. Still, honestly, with a price tag of only $10, I didn’t really hesitate and bought the game within 5 minutes of checking out the homepage. I still didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, but getting my new book outline ready for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I thought this could be a great outlining tool for the whole backstory of my book.

The book is 82 pages long, but the pages are small and quickly read. The rules are pretty simple, and many of the book’s pages are examples of how to play. I wanted it to build a backstory for my new book, but the examples showed you could play anything. You could use this game to build a small coblers store’s story, the rise and fall of a kingdom, or going into space to create a galactic empire. Your own imagination sets the limits.

So how do you play?

Well, it’s like no other roleplaying game I’ve ever played – and I’ve played a lot. But, in my previous experience, I’ve always made a character, then played that, to the best of my abilities.
This time, however, you don’t make characters. No, the players instead look down on history, placing epochs, events, important characters into the storyline. You’re writing a small note for everything, slowly filling it up with exciting happenings, making sure you don’t mess up the already made history. Like historians looking back on what already happened and examining parts of history that interestest them.

Example of my first game – notes of the story we built. Epochs at the top, then what happened in the columns below.

After each round of the game, there is an opportunity to dive into a part of the story. You pick characters who existed at that point in time and play out the story to see what happened then. Very different – and very fun. You play a new role every time you play unless a character is a repeat entry – and even then, another player might play that character this time around. 

You decide when the game is over – you can play a set time or just feel that now you’ve explored that story enough. I must admit that Ben Robbins, the creator, has made a unique game here. And it won’t be the last time I’ve played this game.

You can read more about Microscope RPG here:
Price: 9.99 USD for the PDF or 19.99 USD for a physical book.