Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fate and The Princess Bride

There's a thread on Big Purple right now about using Fate to model the duel between Westley and Inigo atop the Cliffs of Insanity.

It makes Fate sound as much fun as doing my taxes.

Ever see something out of the corner of your eye that grabs your attention, but when you look straight at it, it's nothing like what you thought you saw? That's Fate for me. It's a game I really want to like, but whenever I read the rules, or an actual play report, all I hear in my head is gears grinding.

19 comments:

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    1. Well that posted weirdly...

      I agree with what you are saying about FATE. I want to like it. But... It forces an Aspect/Advantage/Whatzits overlay onto everything. And I don't get the need for a system when the players and GM can handle it by talking. That's what the GM is for isn't it?

      Does the whole "Help me up and let me catch my breathe" NEED a system. Can't the players handle that by talking. Does an Aspect need to be Invoked? (Apologies if my terminology is wrong there)

      To me, you need mechanics for the stuff you can't do at the table or in real life. e.g. combat and magic. But for "Hey! Buddy! You're an honorable dude. Why not help me up there and we'll have an fair fight?" Kind of loses me there.

      If I understand the Dungeon World reviews correctly, it does much the same thing with its "Move" mechanic.

      As for the corner of my eye, I'd swear a warning light flashes on my dash, but when I look-nothing. It's kind of worrying...

      Welcome back!

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    1. Fudge is a far better system for swashbuckling (or role-playing in general) than Fate. Fudge doesn't micromanage your role-playing experience. It's freewheeling, intuitive, and fast. Fate is over-engineered, in my opinion (and reading the actual play reports gives me a headache.)

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    2. I've never looked at Fudge - I should check it out.

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  3. Welcome back!

    Fate strikes me the same way. Even worse for me is HeroQuest. I've known and liked Glorantha since 1975 and played and GMed Runequest for years. So I really wanted to like HeroQuest. But the system just made absolutely no sense to me. I pit my "Sword so sharp it cuts the wind" 3W2 against your "I can shoot the arrow out of a sparrows eye" 2W19, roll some dice. Find out I won. Then we make up how my amazing swordsman defeated your fantastic archer. The "how" is exactly what I want the fricking system to output. How did I close the distance without getting skewered?

    Hey, don't you still owe us Part 2: The Black Spot? ;-)

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    1. I was invited to play in a HQ game and I had the same reaction - 'so, we play a hand of Yahtzee, and the winner tells a story.'

      Yes, I'll get the Black Spot post into the queue again. :^)

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    1. Take 2:

      Welcome back, Mike :D

      I've heard good things about FATE too, and have been excited about the upcoming FATE version of Eclipse Phase as a reason to sit down and learn more about FATE in earnest. (No slur against the EP mechanics intended, I haven't played it yet either so I'm merely left with my "somewhat more complex than Blue Planet 1e" impression....).

      Anyway, I heard good things from FATE from a friend who's checked out Diaspora as a good hard-SF implementation of FATE. And from my discussions with him, my impression is that FATE isn't really a uniform rules set, but rather it's a rules toolkit. So, I wonder if vanilla FATE is perhaps less appealing than a grounded, solid genre-specific implementation of FATE??

      Allan.

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    2. Perhaps.

      When I read the rules, I read Aspects and I think, that's pretty cool, I could see how that might work.

      And then there are Skills. And then there are Stunts. Holy crap, that's a lot to manage.

      Then I get into the Fate point 'economy,' and I want to smack myself in the face with the book repeatedly - I can't imagine spending that much effort trading beads across the table in the middle of a game.

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    3. Well in Honor+Intrigue we use poker chips and gold coins for the Fortune Points, not beads. Coins and chips just feel more swashbuckly.

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    4. Are they the chocolate gold coins?
      So players have the "Eat it or get a reroll" decision to make?

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  5. Ha! Not chocolate coins. Cheezy gold plastic coins. Nothing edible there.

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  6. I think Fate, impressively, manages to be both rules light and super bloated.

    Regrettably, I feel it has been trending towards the latter with time, though I recommend everyone take a glance at the Pay-what-you-want Fate Accelerated Edition, which does away with a lot of the nonsense.

    Also, while, yes, in some ways, it's possible to use Fate in such a way that it becomes nothing but a game of 'economy', but it's also important to remember that Aspects are "What they say on the tin."; If one of your aspects is "CEO of a Multi-billion dollar company." then you should just be able to DO certain things that you wouldn't be able to do with "I'm a goddamn ninja." And vice versa. Not everything NEEDS to be a roll, or an invoke, or whatever.

    That said, if you are looking for a system that tells you HOW something happens, look elsewhere. That said, systems that tell you HOW something happens tend to be bloated and/or suffer from frequent logical failure as they produce "results" that don't make sense for one reason or another because they simply cannot handle all situations.

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  7. Know little about Fate but didn't like what I'd heard even before this post.
    Glad to see you posting again.

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  8. Hokey smokes. Never played Fate but kept having it referred to me anytime I asked "What's a good system for (fill in the blank)?" I doubted it was so great that it was ideal for every possible genre, but had never seen the game. After reading the first few posts on that thread, I'm incredulous that anyone would play it at all,much less suggest it to anyone. Is there even a game under all that muck about Aspects, Invocations, "Compels," Spirit Animals, and Underwater Basketweaving?

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