We played Archipelago by Matthijs Holter in a fascinating futuristic world where orbs and bubbles are the primary building blocks of society, a gas mining colony sent from Earth into the atmosphere of one of the outer planets. We live in a floating city above the surface, with tubes descending from the Steamworks into the atmosphere to collect rare gases needed back on Earth, a Food Lab where instant food pellets are manufactured, where the weather is manufactured and projected onto our bubble skies by weather control companies like BluSky, and a giant magnetic Accelerator is used to send our mined gasses toward Earth for pickup and collection. We are Jon Ronny, a food scientist at Food Lab tasked with finding new flavors; Sorter 5, an autonomous bot at the Steamworks who maintains a fan wiki about weather art; Zayre, the best gunner working at the Accelerator; and Quain, a renowned weather artist at BluSky who lives across the hall from Jon Ronny.
Our story begins with Sorter 5 making a routine drop-off of argon bubbles at the Accelerator for Zayre to fire off toward Earth in which Sorter 5 learns about a micro-weather concert soon to be held in the Plaza. After having gotten his new-flavor marching orders, Jon Ronny seeks ideas by exchanging messages with the administrator of the weather wiki and gets the Arthur theme song and images of weather and food as inspiration. Later Quain visits Jon while the chemist is busy in the kitchen concocting his latest food, chocolemon bars, and learns that Quain was inspired by the weather of his archival, Kaze. In the final scene of Act I, Zayre is approached by a pair of bumbling interns who have inadvertently sent a bubble of precious gas hurtling off-course. Zayre performs a series of mental calculations and uses a pair of empty bubbles to correct the course through a series of bank shots like a set of billiard balls in space.
As Act II begins, Jon Ronny tries pitches his new chocolemon bars to suits at the Food Lab, but they get lost in marketing ideas and separating the flavors, or making them diet, so he walks away to start his own independent food pill company called Better Pills to showcase his new flavors. After learning that the Steamworks will be replacing their generation of sorter with the latest generation, Sorter 5 is introduced to Dr. Moneybags, who wants to buy the robot to place in his collection as a fine example of their beautiful and stylish generation of bots, and getting paid to be admired seems like a good idea to them, at least as long as reasonable work hours can be negotiated. After Raze comes to work for BluSky, Quain and Raze are brought into HR to discuss the mess their making of the skies by competing with each other, and the way their animosity is poisoning the atmosphere at the office. To save their jobs, they each agree to make pleasing skies and refrain from backbiting at work. Meanwhile, Zayre receives a job offer to help develop Accelerator-powered human space travel, and has a long talk with her mother before deciding to take a chance and move to Earth for the role.