Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Microscope is fun, low-content mode incoming.

It's November again, and for me that means it's National (although I am in a different nation) Novel Writing Month. I've written before about how I find that games and constraints help me do creative stuff, so despite some reservations about the format, I try to do it every year. I made a hell of a mess of it last year. The year before, I wrote The Barest Branch, which I am pleased with in spite of its flaws.

In short, there might be a little bit of a drought here for a while as I focus on that -- but it's only temporary! I will still be posting here and on my other blog, just less frequently.

However, I did get to do some gaming the other day! I went down to a group that organises one-shot games, usually indie games, here in Cambridge. Only a few of us turned out (the group wasn't running on its usual night), so we played us a game of Microscope.

This is a neat collaborative setting-history-creation game in which each player contributes periods, events and scenes according to a set of procedures that distribute different tasks and prompts -- it's got enough freedom that you can do anything you want, but enough structure that it isn't just "you tell a story. OK, now you tell a story." And because the setting is created in a non-linear way, it's super easy to create interesting narrative arcs; if you see something you want explained, you just go back and stick in an earlier explanation. Here's the setting history three of us created in about two hours (although it's not super legible):

(Click to embiggen)
So, yeah, I'm definitely picking that one up. So far so good.

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