Our game was about the death of magic in a land filled with beast-men and humans and the brave lovers who crossed that line*. There was a strong thread of eugenics and blood purity that was disturbing and awesome. In the end magic died, as it must, and with it the spark of reason among every beast-man everywhere. The last scene of the game was Alice, the ancient crone who was the first person gifted with magic, saying goodbye to her three little mouse friends as she dropped them (an archivist, a professor and an assassin) off in the woods, answering the question "what is the last word an animal ever says?" It was "We curse you for all time".
So that went well.
Microscope is a deeply weird thing. There's role-playing-ness to it, but no character monogamy, and even less character value. They are just tools, cogs in the larger wheel. This is really liberating.
There's collaboration, but it is asynchronous collaboration. You build on what others have built, but never at the same time. This is extraordinarily difficult, at least for us, because we're conditioned by the games we play to constantly work together, offer alternatives, listen and reflect. In Microscope you get to reincorporate hardcore and that's it. If you offer another player suggestions you are doing it wrong. If nothing else, this puts ingrained habits about creative contribution in extremely sharp relief. We were all skeptical, and to be honest I think we played it a little loose, but damn if it doesn't work.
We had a great time and created a cohesive, succinct timeline that felt pretty satisfying. The game is very simple and the procedures are luminously clear. We basically ran it from the reference sheet in the back without consulting the actual rules once play began. I'd read it thoroughly, but I honestly think you could just sit down and play blind. Not that I am suggesting that, because the book is just a revelation in instructional design.
I suspect that second games are better than first games, since you need to sort through your gamer cruft a bit and adjust your assumptions.
We all agreed that it isn't something we'd hammer week after week, but it will enter our arsenal as an occasional pick-up game. And we all saw the potential as a collaborative tool for building a setting for another game.
*Clinton bravely refused to cross that line. The relevant quote is "You can't call me a Nazi just because I refuse to fuck a bear."