There's no one game for everyone.
This last Thursday, I played a game of Microscope: Echo.
The premise behind this game of Echo was stellar: The Nimble Fox and the Son 2K13 was the best video game never released.
Due to business politicking, the Japanese Great Firewall Game Company sunk the to-be magnum opus of their best designer, Katsu Fujitsu, leaving him and his family destitute and exiled to America.
However, as Katsu lay dying on his deathbed, he told his progenitors of a secret. A secret he kept with him this whole time, that there's a code in the games he made that would let them go back in time! Using these codes, they can go back, restore the family legacy, and make sure that The Nimble Fox and the Son 2k13 got the claim it deserved! If it were only that simple, however. Because Kim Jon Non and the DPRNK also wanted that game, but all to themselves and for the glory of their leader!
The game played well. We were all contributing and adding gorgeous ideas and twists on established ideas, We learn that Katsu sacrificed a lot to make The Nimble Fox and the Son 2k13. We witnessed sabotage by DPRNK spies sent to take the game while it's being developed, we witnessed his family being exiled as a matter of honor. It was a really cool game with a lot of cool ideas going.
And then we had our first break.
As facilitator of the game, I use breaks to gauge the game and the group and more than half the group (both new to Story Games and Microscope) said this isn't the game for them. It felt like being punched in the gut. I don't want to say or admit I didn't take it personally, but of course on many layers I took it personally. Instead of acting out defensively, I wanted to know more. It turns out that both players disliked the amount of prep involved in the game of microscope and microscope echo in particular. Both players also encouragingly mentioned that if it weren't for my facilitating they'd probably would have bailed or at least have had a FAR WORSE experience.
This was a watershed moment for me as a facilitator, because here we are, playing a version of my FAVORITE RPG EVER and I'm told that two of the players don't like it. Also it turned out one had to leave early anyways, so we finished the game with one more focus.
After the game we spoke at length about what we liked/didn't like about the game and what happened and how we could improve. The biggest complaint by far was the amount of prep time involved. I cautioned the group that Microscope falls probably on the medium part of story games with prep and that they should ask facilitators (now that they have a metric!) about the amount of prep in their next game! (I did tell them to come back and try a different game!) I also recommended Fall of Magic because Fall of Magic is an amazing, prepless game that seemed their speed.
Both players had IMMENSE talent and creative minds. The few scenes we did do were awesome (Kim Jon Non visiting Katsu on his deathbed was particularly great!)
I do hope they return to Story Games Seattle.
I hide in a cubicle all day until the night time where I play RPGs and other games and stuff.