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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 48 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: [Apocalypse World] Specialized Language  (Read 7596 times)

Posts: 1429

« on: August 25, 2010, 01:00:54 PM »

Over on twitter I made a comment about Apocalypse World and Vincent asked me to "say more."  I figured here is a good place.  First, understand that I have not yet read Apocalypse World.  I have only tangentially followed its development.  What I said on twitter was that I have noticed that a specialized language how popped up around the game and that I think that's a good thing.

So I know one of AW's features is the concepts of "moves" as well as explicitly spelling out the GM's (MC's?) agenda.  This all by itself is a good thing.  But what I think is even better is that it's done so in a way that keeps the discussion focused on the specifics of the game.  Someone gives a bit of fiction and says, "So he was clearly going aggro..." and someone else comes along and says, "Are you sure?  Seems more like acting under fire to me."  Or someone says, "Why didn't you have him escape the fire?"  and someone else responds, "keeping the characters safe is not one of the MC's agendas."  And so on.

This is beautiful because it's very clear we're talking about AW and ONLY AW.  We've moved past the utterly useless and dumb notion of, "Give me your best GM tips!" devoid of any specific game context.  If I'm talking about Sorcerer and someone says, "But isn't that a case of going aggro?" I can now look at him confidently with a confused stare just as surly as if he'd asked me about "Castle-ling" in my Poker discussion.  I am forever pushing for more discussion about games in the specific and mastering the tools and techniques provided to them without the need to replace, import and export our own.  I think AW has put *textual* tools in place that seem to make that happen more precisely, clearly and consistently.

People like to throw around stuff like "Roll the dice or say yes" and "Let It Ride" like they're universal philosophies that can be imported into any game.  Except for the fact that they totally screw up the Take 10/20 rules in any d20 game.  Kickers and Bangs as formulated in Sorcerer will TOTALLY fuck up the dynamics of Trouble and Compels in Dresden Files.

I say all this without having read AW yet.  But I'm observing a social phenomenon regarding the discussion of the game.  It's a social phenomenon I had hoped we'd see more and more of in the hobby.  I'm looking forward to finding out what in AW is facilitating this.

Posts: 3656

« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 04:32:22 PM »

I understand! I think so too, in every particular. Thanks for noticing!


Posts: 1675

Please call me Judd.

« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 05:00:41 PM »

I hear ya.  I think people get excited about a shiny new toy and they want to play with it in every room in the house. 


Posts: 280

« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 07:22:07 AM »

Hi Jesse,

I think after it sees  more play in general, we'll see people trying to export AW concepts across games.   For years I've been saying, "Make interesting things happen in your games" as a broad bit of advice, which maps exactly to "Make the PC's lives not boring"... so it's got some pretty good broad advice in there, just that the more focused bits like Moves are fairly unique in structure. 

(Though, there's plenty of games that advocate acts in fiction leading to skill checks, I don't think it's ever as explicit and clearly laid out as AW's "If you do it, you do it." and the negotiation advice about that.)

But yes, the more people understand that different games are supposed to be played differently, the sooner we'll move away from the this hot mess of miscommunication that tends to run strong in the hobby.

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