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Other comments left for this publisher:
Microscope
by Calvin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2014 18:13:45
Microscope is a fantastically fun game - if you play it with the right people. In order for things to go well, everyone has to be on the same basic page at the beginning or things can go horribly wrong, especially if you are playing with ultra-competitive people who struggle with the concept of "building" on other players ideas. Played with the right mindset, however, Microscope is the most fun gaming I've had in a while. It is especially entertaining for those who love history, and/or have a literary bent.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Microscope
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Microscope
by Keith M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2013 04:50:09
This is refreshingly new - I love the epic scale of what can be created. I love the blend of individualism and collaboration. I love the way it can setup a context for normal RPG story arcs. Recommended.

PDF is well produced

Author has a Kickstarter for a related game called Kingdom: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lamemage/kingdom

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by Drew T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2012 17:34:54
Finally had an opportunity to play Microscope. We followed an alternate history of Earth, watching the rise of Superheroes from the "Monaco Incident" to the colonization of the Solar system. A fascinating and intricate history featuring Super powered Overlords and a psychic Basset hound. Microscope is an incredible framework for playing with possibility.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Zodiac Ring
by Brendan F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/12/2012 14:34:11
A good resource for almost any superhero campaign. Zodiac Ring works as an adventure or better yet a mini-campaign within an established ongoing game. There is a lot to like here, from the well thought out set-up to solid advice on how to progress through and finish the storyline.

The artwork and NPC roles are less inspired, but it doesn't take away from a low-cost campaign that is easy to read and ought to be just as easily to implement in your superhero campaign. It is intended for Mutants & Masterminds but could work easily for most superhero games.

- I have a more in-depth review of this game at http://knightsoftheblackbanner.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/zodiac-
-ring-review.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Zodiac Ring
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Evil Genius #2: Crime & Punishment
by Quinn M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2012 16:15:41
I am a fan of a collection of adventures, rather than just one long adventure. I enjoy the variety and often find ways to expand the smaller adventures myself. That, and being right at my $5 "impulse buy" price range made getting Evil Genius #2 an easy decision.

You get four scenarios, and I'll use the blurbs from the PDF (with a minor spoiler alert):

Deep Runs the Dreadnaut–The armored Dreadnaut
plants mines in the city’s harbor, holding the seas
hostage until his demands are met.

Great Armored Car Robbery–Armor-plated battlewagons
stage daring daylight bank robberies. They’re
not robberies of armored cars, they’re robberies using
armored cars!

Doing Time–After thirty years trapped in a moment of
frozen time, an innocent man blames the heroes for
his unfair imprisonment. Now it’s their turn.

Fame is Fleeting–In a bid for fame and fortune, Speed
Demon sets out to rob more banks in a single day
than any criminal before.

As you can tell, these are pretty much designed for a single evening of gaming as stand alone adventures. Nice for a GM who needs a quick adventure to run with little effort.

The author, Ben Robbins, offered numerous suggestions for dealing with complications (or how to create complications for the characters) along with alternative paths for the scenarios to play out. Getting Storn Cook to do the art was an excellent choice.

Any issues? A minor complaint or two. I would have liked a drawing of the armored car(s) and a diagram of the vehicle(s). You do get the vehicle stats however, and a search engine can get you numerous examples of armored vehicles and prison transports. The other issue is all on me, as the "Doing Time" scenario just didn't hook me. I've no doubt other groups will find it a cool idea, and in any collection of scenarios I expect to find some I don't care to run. In this case, three out of four is an excellent ratio.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Genius #2: Crime & Punishment
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Microscope
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2012 11:30:38
Great.

This is like no other RPG I have ever played. I know there are other story telling games out there. I know there are other diceless games out there. This one hones in on taking a big concept history and zooming in like a microscope on the events and scenes that create that history. Players (there are no GMs) decide on a large period of history (the beginning and the end) then using the mechanics play out how that history came to pass.

Now this may sound like you are railroading the players, but you aren't. Each player makes sole decisions for how history plays out. They can describe a period of history (a barbarian invasion). They can, describe an important event during a period of history (the fall of the Capitol). Finally, the players singly or as a group can play out a scene from the history (the guard captain that single handedly holds back the horde so the emperor can escape).

The rules are simple and elegant and allow for the option to negotiate certain aspects of the creative process, while preventing the process from becoming a boring and homogeneous committee made history.

Really fun and has the potential to be used by GMs who want a history for their campaigns but don't want to invent it the whole thing themselves. It is also great for giving PCs in other games a sense of ownership of their campaign history they may not otherwise have.

Straight forward mechanics, good examples, plus designer notes. You won't have any difficulty figuring out how this game is supposed to work. All you need are note cards, writing utensils and your imagination.

(Frankly this is also a great tool for training young minds to think critically, or not so young minds)

Great. I am definitely recommending this to everyone I know.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Microscope
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Microscope
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/25/2012 17:27:13
PDF Review:

What with every other roleplaying book being either a coffee table book or half eye candy, I'm rather pleased to find Microscope's PDF in black and white. I had no problems reading it on an iPad or on Acrobat on a PC. Given the rule's lack of charts and stat blocks, I'm not sure how much I really need to print.

Microscope is an 81-page black and white PDF with no art and single-column layout. The PDF comes with a one-page reference sheet. The single-column layout uses an eye-friendly sized font, with new subjects starting on their own page titled in large bold letters. This makes it easy to look up a rule or other piece of information.

As other reviews have suggested, the rules are conceptually different from conventional "skill roll" roleplaying games. The game has no charts or stat blocks, so you won't be looking up this sort of information in the game. You *may* need to look up a specific rule. So, for those who do wish to print out the rulebook, you may wish to print it out into two sections, about 50 pages of rules, and maybe 12 pages of play advice. The remaining pages are game designer notes. Personally, I'd make a few tweaks to the PDF for better printing, such as no title pages predominantly in black.

Overall: 4.5 / 5.0. Good job.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by Nick B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 11:10:40
Microscope totally blew me away. It has fired my imagination in a way that no other RPG has for years. Why?

* It is a clever mix of collaborative and standalone creativity
* It provides (and requires) everyone who plays to be creative in their own way
* The is no need for any set up, all you need to play are some notecards and somethnig to write with
* Everyone gets to be both GM and player
* The mechanics are simple, very different and allow for as much depth and subtely as you want

I would love to find a way to play this online. I wondered about in Second Life or using some collaboration tool? If anyone has any ideas how, I'd love to hear from them.

Stop reading this - go buy it

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2012 19:50:06
In a nutshell, Microscope allows players to role play events in the history of the shared world, history that they are making up as they go along. Well, that might be a bit too simple of a description, so I'll try and see if I can do better.

Here's a bit from the book itself:

Microscope works differently than some other role-playing games you might have played, so let’s abandon some preconceptions:
You won’t have your own character.
You won’t play the game in chronological order. You may know all about the future, but be surprised by the past.
You’ll build the story from the outside in. You’ll decide the big picture, the grand scheme of history, and then burrow down and carve out the details.
It’s fractal gaming.
So think big: you have a massive chunk of history to play around in.

Well, that probably still doesn't explain it too well either, but it's closer.

Let's see, the is no GM. You need two to five players. You also need a hell of a lot of imagination.

After deciding on the beginning and an end, you start working on the middle - the history that takes you from start to finish. In a way, it really is that simple.

This is collaborative history building, with the twist that each player has a huge impact on the collaborative history that is defined throughout gameplay.

Heck, the overview of play takes up just a page. The concept is simple, but the result is a complex history that makes a world seem alive - or at least, one hopes you end with that result.

To paraphrase a fellow GM: "If during the world building, the players decide that The God King was slain with the Sword of the Sun and later, during the playing of the actual campaign set in the collaborative world players come across hints about the existence of the Sword of the Sun - they know it's history, they know the events surrounding it. It's a real piece of history".

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by Eddie G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2011 15:22:06
After playing through other world building projects - such as Dawn of Worlds I was looking for something less collaborative and yet constructive. After reading the very simple rules and examples I cannot wait to give this a try. Especially given the mischievous players that make up my regular player group. They can destroy my cities and creations and I can still enjoy building them up and making something unique and expanding on the histories of the cities empires and worlds we create.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by Mason K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2011 12:40:43
I haven't had a chance to actually play this with anyone... yet. The rules are clear and the idea of it is very interesting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Microscope
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2011 07:04:37
It is the journey, not the destination. (Ironically I was watching the last few episodes of Stargate Universe when deciding to buy this)

Microscope from Lame Mage is a game about history. There are no player characters (per se), no levels, no stats. There are only players and the author suggests 3-4 (with 2 and 5 as the absolute limits). The players create a world by picking start and end points (or bookends) to the history and then filling in things between in the form of Periods, Events and Scenes. With most scene construction, the players do roleplay characters. There are several rules for keeping things on track like focuses. Eh, how about I show how it is done to make this easier:

There are three players A, B and C. They are creating a history of an expansion and colonization phase within a galactic civilization. A is the lens, the player who selects the focus. The focus means the other players have to keep to that theme while A is the lens (and in this case it is about one planet that will be colonized). The players design Periods, Events and Scenes going A to B to C. If B want to create a Scene (say about the first plague that hits the colony), then the order is reversed for the roleplaying (B, A and then C). As soon as C is finished with designing his addition, B becomes the lens (the theme may stay the same or change, say the third plague and assistance from a nearby station that will lose its entire population to the disease) and the whole process starts again. It is actually a bit more complex than that as the lens can make two nested actions (create a Period and Event or Event and Scene), one player in a Scene can select a group of people that drive the action (called Time) and just because one player mentions a Scene within an Event doesn't mean that the other players can look at the scene from different eras and viewpoints. And players work off of each other, not with each other (ie they don't share ideas or coach each other, they do their own thing and the rules help them mesh it altogether).

The station I mentioned dying off is called nuking Atlantis in the game. You can create and destroy anything as long as it doesn't contradict previous material the players have produce. And it doesn't matter because the station still exists in the game. The players may want to look at it at an earlier point and can do so at any point within the accepted bookends (or go forward with scavengers or new owners, but that isn't within the theme of nuking Atlantis).

What makes Microscope so interesting is the end is known, the game is all about how everyone and thing got there. The microscope itself is how players can zoom in and out of the history and move all over the place. Players who love their dice and characters might find it weird, but the rules are so basic that anyone can learn it easily (it isn't Aria). Just replace dice with index cards.

I have to say that I haven't read a game that has interested me this much in many years. It is basic yet so powerful. And the best thing is that it can be intertwined with another game. The players can help create a setting and fill in blanks their characters leave within pretty much any other game. I was thinking of a Mutant Future game where the players decide on what the cataclysm was and help shape events that lead up to the campaign. It doesn't matter that they know the ending because there is so many details within the setting that can be filled out by their hand.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Zodiac Ring
by Joey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2009 10:11:04
This is a great Adventure from LAME MAGE. This adventure includes everything you could need, you can run this as a one or two session game all the way to this being the backbone of an entire campaign. I really enjoy the set up of this product, if you are not interested in the adventure itself the new characters as well as the Action Schticks are worth the few bucks this product will cost you. Another great product from LAME MAGE

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zodiac Ring
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Dr Null: Battle on the Bay Bridge
by Joey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2009 09:59:15
This is a great adventure. This Adventure is a great one night game, that if you want sets up later adventures against DR Null. The best part of it you cant beat the price Free

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dr Null: Battle on the Bay Bridge
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Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2008 17:39:16
Interesting evil genius characters for the Truth & Justice RPG (Atomik Sock Monkey). Generic enough to use for other rules-lite systems, even if you do not know the game mechanics. All too short.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
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