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Winner Most Innovative New Product, Gaming Genius Awards

Finalist RPG of the Year, Golden Geek Awards

Expand your game with Microscope Explorer, now available!

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."
—John Harper, designer of Agon & Danger Patrol

"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."
—Jason Morningstar, designer of Fiasco

"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"
—Andy Kitkowski, founder of

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (15)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
BERNARDO S April 14, 2022 8:14 pm UTC
Hi! I just bought both the "Microscope" and the "Microscope Explorer" physical copies and I am wondering if I could get the PDFs. I can send the proof of purchase. Thanks!
Customer avatar
chan Y May 12, 2020 11:14 am UTC
what is the 'Push'?
i am trying to translate to korean
but i can't understand what is 'Push'
can i ask clarification?
Customer avatar
Ben R May 12, 2020 8:05 pm UTC
Sorry, are you asking what the word means or how the rule works?
Customer avatar
chan Y May 14, 2020 1:04 am UTC
what word means
Customer avatar
Ben R May 14, 2020 6:15 pm UTC
Push means to move something forward or promote it - not sure how I can explain the word better.

There's also an official Korean translation of Microscope in the works right now, so that might solve your problem.
Customer avatar
chan Y May 15, 2020 5:10 am UTC
thank you. i hesitated to choose one of Push's meaning.

i know that news but i want not to buy new books. i bought core book and explorer

any way, thank you so much
Customer avatar
SeungHan O May 16, 2020 8:54 am UTC
Hi, Korean translator here.

We have translated “Push” to “서술권” (“narrative power”) because when you push something in the scene, you exercise narrative power over other players.
Customer avatar
Stefan B February 01, 2020 7:06 pm UTC
Is there any ready-to-print/copy files for the cards to use, or do you just have to copy-and-cut abit to make it work?
Customer avatar
Ben R February 01, 2020 7:56 pm UTC
You mean to make periods, events and scenes? Just use regular blank index cards
Customer avatar
Stefan B February 01, 2020 10:39 pm UTC
Exactly. I don't have any of those really so I am forced to work with printer and paper or pen and paper. I was just curious if someone had already made a quick file to print out for use with great size and so forth.
Customer avatar
Ben R February 01, 2020 10:43 pm UTC
There's bound to be templates on line. If worse comes to worse, just fold a sheet of paper a few times and cut. So long as the cards are clearly rectangular (and not square) you'll be fine.
Customer avatar
Sam C January 21, 2020 1:55 am UTC
Is there a printable copy of just the cheat sheet available? I bought the book physically so don’t have the pdf
Customer avatar
Ben R January 21, 2020 7:02 pm UTC
Contact me at info at and I can help you out
Customer avatar
Benjamin O April 08, 2019 2:29 pm UTC
This game is great, but finding people to play with online is hard.

I've created a discord link for people who might want to connect online to other community members or talk about the game. The link is below.

The advantage of discord is that you can hop into a voice chat room immediately once there.

I hope to see many of you there!
Customer avatar
Ronald C May 22, 2019 1:03 pm UTC
I just found Microscope and am very much looking forward to reading and playing it. I intend on joining the Discord server soon!
Customer avatar
Heath B January 23, 2018 2:44 pm UTC
When are Explorer, Kingdoms, and Follow going to be available on DriveThru?
Customer avatar
Ben R January 30, 2018 1:39 am UTC
Sorry Heath, no plans to release them on DriveThru.
Customer avatar
Jye K February 05, 2018 4:40 am UTC
Can I ask why this is? As someone who likes to keep purchases in as few different places as possible, it is highly discouraging.
Customer avatar
Bradley E February 20, 2018 1:09 pm UTC
I agree, I came here to buy all three, but they aren't here.
Customer avatar
Ben R February 21, 2018 1:31 am UTC
I don't sell more games here because Drivethru takes a much larger cut than my other storefronts. I kept Microscope available because it was from before I got set up elsewhere, but adding more games would not make much sense. Sorry, folks.
Customer avatar
Bradley E February 21, 2018 2:21 am UTC
No problem, I respect your right to do what you want with your product. I just find that I appreciate the sevices this storefront offers me, and so I buy it here or do without.
Customer avatar
Lexi A December 16, 2019 5:35 pm UTC
A question - DriveThruRPG provides the convenience of consolidating my library, further updates, and redownloads, all into one place for easy access.

Obviously, buying direct is my preferred mode in most cases - I assume that's - because I prefer for my funds to go to the creators directly, rather than to storefronts that take a cut.

I assume there is minimal expectation of future Microscope updates and supplements beyond Explorer, so that leaves only one other real question - how is redownloading Microscope from LameMage managed? Will it be inconvenient if I experience HDD failure, etc.?
Customer avatar
Ben R December 16, 2019 7:12 pm UTC
Thanks, Lexi. If you have the email address you used when you made the purchase, I can look it up and send you your download links no matter how long ago you bought the games.
Customer avatar
Lexi A December 17, 2019 5:07 am UTC
Perfect; while I'm sure you're in good health, I assume there's a Bus Factor emergency solution in effect. To it is.
Customer avatar
Jon X October 20, 2016 1:38 am UTC
Does anyone know what was changed when this game was updated last?
Customer avatar
Ben R October 20, 2016 10:03 pm UTC
A reference to the new Microscope Explorer supplement was added in the back. The main Microscope text wasn't changed at all.
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Adamantine seller
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2.98 MB
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Watermarked PDF
Watermarked PDF

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File Last Updated:
May 31, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on May 03, 2011.