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Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2017 09:26:02

One of the few support products for the excellent Truth & Justice roleplaying game, this is a bit of a mixed bag.

It contains 5 short adventryes dealing with that mainstay of superhero comics, the evil genius. The book starts with an introduction looking at the "Mastermind Game" and breaking it down into steps. It includes suggestions for some rule changes to suit the Mastermind Game, and then moves swiftly on to the adventures.

The first, High Noon features Dr Null (but any Mastermind could be substituted), who is striking from beyond the grave with a plot to focus the light of the sun on Earth's cities. This is a great little adventure with a potentially nice slow build of the menace and lots of investigative and roleplaying opportunities, and with a good "Action Schtick" of chasing a missile, which can be used in other adventures. A couple of variants are thrown in the mix for you to try. The only weak spot is the finale, whcih is a bit sketchy to say the least - I woudl probably throw in some killer robots or some-such - but it's pretty easy to fix

The Cornfields features giant mutated corn-creatures. For me this is a little bit lame - however it does hit that crazy 1960s-early 70s weirdness, and of course we all know about Groot... This adventure has a lot more opportunity for high action super-combat as the heroes battle the menace, but the overall solution (as for several of these adventures) lies in Science! The action Schtick here is an Evacuation Montage. As before, several variants on the basic scenario are presented

The Brain-Taker could potentially be a quite creepy adventure and realtively easily opend up into a slow-burn campaign thread. It could even be ported over into another genre (horror, x-files type conspiracy etc). It also has an Action Schtick of Crowd Control, which can add a real dlemma to heroes who tend to think with their fists. This one does end with a big finale, which looks as though it could be spectacular

Luck be a Lady has a bit of a mystical bent, and could be good for street level heroes. It does play to a rather old-fashioned depction of the orietnal mastermind, but that woudl fit in reasonably with the comic genre, especially godlen age or silver age. There is no Action Sctick this time, but the adventure itself is cool, and could easily be ported into the pulp era and be a challenge for pulp-style "mystery men".

Ice Age - Dr Null is back from the dead! This is another good adventure, with plenty of scope for expanding it in various directions. The Action Schtick id "Airplane Mayday" so some fairly powerful heroes woud be an advantage, as woudl some Science! abilities. The optional changes are good as well, and there is a highly satisfying showdown involving a secret base, and a final Action Schtick - "Hanging by your Fingernails" - as you might expect involving the classic comic book cliffhanger.

The book finishes with a detailed write up of Dr Null, and some player handouts.

All in all this is a great littel poduct and thoguh written for Truth and Justice, woudl be a good resource for any supers game. The Action Schticks are excellent and can be used agian and again.

The only reason i dont rate it a 5 is that I found the Cornfields adventure too "corny" for my tastes!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
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Microscope
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/13/2016 02:35:00

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2016/05/13/kurzcheck-microscope-viel-macht-ohne-verantwortung/

Ob Generationen umfassend oder Jahrtausende überdauernd, in Microscope gibt Ben Robbins den Spielern Regeln an die Hand, mit denen sie Geschichten in großem Maßstab entwickeln können. Als Spieler braucht man dabei vor allem eines: den nötigen Mut große Entscheidungen zu treffen.

Kurzcheck: Microscope – Viel Macht ohne Verantwortung

Microscope von Ben Robbins ist ein Spiel für zwei bis fünf Personen, in dem Zivilisationen erschaffen, aber auch wieder zerstört werden können. Im Vordergrund steht das Erstellen eines Settings, das hier um eine potenziell gewaltige Zeitkomponente erweitert wurde. Rollenspiel findet als ein Teil des Spiels statt.

Es gibt keine Spielleitung, die Mitspieler erschaffen zusammen die Themen, historischen Zeitpunkte und Details für die von ihnen kreierte Spielwelt. Zwischen diesen erdachten Zeitpunkten können Tage, Wochen oder sogar Jahrtausende liegen. Ausgehend von den Fixpunkten zoomen die Spieler dann hinein und können die erstellten Details mit frei definierten Charakteren ausspielen. Dabei läuft die Zeit keineswegs linear ab, es wird hin und zurück gesprungen, wie es beliebt.

Die Regeln Das Regelwerk ist als Schritt-für-Schritt-Anleitung aufgebaut, dessen Texte während des Spiels laut vorgelesen werden können. Am Ende des Bandes gibt es eine Kurzübersicht, die den Spielablauf noch einmal zusammenfasst. Zur besseren Visualisierung der „Zeitleiste“ empfiehlt Robbins die Verwendung von Karteikarten, man kann aber auch online mit Hilfe einer kartenbasierten Webapp wie gingko oder der iOS-App Microscope Journal spielen.

Erst in der Gruppe, dann jeder für sich Zu Beginn gibt es eine Gruppenphase, in der die Mitspieler gemeinsam die Basis für den weiteren Verlauf festlegen. Sie fassen dabei einfach in einem kurzen Satz grob zusammen, worum es gehen soll. Nicht jeder Spieler mag dieselben Themen, deshalb wird gemeinsam eine sogenannte „Palette“ erstellt, eine Liste von Elementen, die gewünscht oder unerwünscht sind.

Nach der Gruppenphase geht das eigentliche Spiel los, in der die Mitspieler nacheinander festlegen, welcher Teil der Geschichte im Fokus stehen soll. Abwechselnd erschafft jeder daraufhin eine Zeitperiode, ein Ereignis oder eine Szene, die mit dem aktuellen Fokus in Verbindung stehen muss. Deren Atmosphäre kann entweder positiv oder negativ, sein. Durch den gesetzten Schwerpunkt hat der jeweilige Spieler viel Macht, die Richtung des Spiels kurzzeitig, aber nachhaltig, stark zu beeinflussen. In Szenen gibt ein Spieler entweder das Ergebnis vor oder setzt einen Rahmen, in dem er und die anderen sich frei bewegen.

Viel Macht ohne Verantwortung Robbins besteht darauf, dass nichts Microscope schneller kaputtmache, als das Spielen per Gruppenkonsens. Das bedeutet, dass man sich nach der Gruppenphase nicht gegenseitig beim Ideenfinden helfen soll. Das schafft eine „Spotlight“-Situation, die ziemlich unangenehm sein kann, wenn man sonst Hilfe oder Anregungen gewohnt ist. Robbins ist aber sicher, dass sich das Spiel durch diese Regel interessanter und überraschender gestaltet. „Mit viel Macht geht viel Verantwortung einher“ ist ein Satz, der auf Microscope nicht zutrifft, denn man kann wirklich alles tun, ohne negative Konsequenzen fürchten zu müssen.

Charaktererstellung Eine vordefinierte Charaktererstellung gibt es nicht, da sie einfach nicht notwendig ist. Die Spieler erstellen für Szenen erzählerisch Figuren, die sie untereinander verteilen und ausspielen.

Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis Die PDF-Datei liegt mit 9,99 USD in einem Bereich, den ich prinzipiell für angemessen halte. Macht man sich deutlich, dass das Spiel die Erschaffung ganzer Zivilisationen ermöglicht, also einen hohen Wiederspielwert enthält und auch für andere Rollenspiele genutzt werden kann, ist der Preis sogar vergleichsweise günstig, finde ich.

Erscheinungsbild Die 81 Seiten des Regelwerks sind sachlich, klar und minimalistisch gestaltet, wie ich es bei einem Spiel, das kein vorgefertigtes Setting mitbringt, erwarten würde. Die moderne Schriftart unterstützt die Universalität Microscopes und ist auch für Brillenträger angenehm lesbar. Das PDF enthält verschachtelte Lesezeichen, die als Inhaltsverzeichnis genutzt werden können.

Bonus/Downloadcontent Ist nicht vorhanden.

Fazit Microscope ist eine Art Rollenspiel, in dem die Spieler, ohne Spielleitung, ganze Kulturen und Zivilisationen erstellen und zerstören können. Rollenspiel ist zwar Teil des Ganzen, steht aber meiner Meinung nach nicht im Mittelpunkt; diese Stellung gebührt eindeutig der Entwicklung der Spielwelt. Nach einem festen Ablauf fügen die Spieler der Geschichte Details hinzu und spielen diese gegebenenfalls aus.

Ich habe einen Oneshot gespielt, in dem wir ein steampunkiges, dystopisches Dark-Fantasy-Setting mit einer Prise „Singularität“ erschufen, was gut funktionierte, für mich allerdings ein wenig Brettspielcharakter hatte.

Wer auf das Erstellen von Settings steht und sehr freies, punktuelles Rollenspiel mag, wird an Microscope seine Freude haben. Allen anderen empfehle ich es als Werkzeug, um Spielwelten für andere Systeme zu bauen.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Microscope
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Microscope
by Dave B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2015 17:22:06

Wow! I'm an old school RPGer and this means my group has been a little uncomfortable with the last decade's wave of narrative story telling. We grew up on Rolemaster and its peers, with a 100 tables for swinging a sword and the like. I had heard about microscope from some podcasts and suggested that my group try it as a precursor to the new campaign we are starting. They were skeptical. really skeptical. But i kept at them and within about 30 minutes the skepticism was gone and before I knew it "Gnomish Superpower" had entered the palette and subsequently appeared in the timeline. We also banned "Dwarves with Scottish accents" and lifted a curse that has plagued our group for 25 years :-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Microscope
by Joe C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2014 13:45:57

Can't praise this enough. Totally using it for novel background and good for RPG worlds. Buy it, it rocks. Seriously.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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
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!]
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!]
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.



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!]
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!]
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!]
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!]
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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