The Adaptability of AW

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The Adaptability of AW
« on: June 16, 2010, 12:22:32 PM »
Okay, so looking at people's hacks, and Vincent's comments on hacks and his development, I think I had a bit of a revelation (though it may be old news to everybody else). It kind of fits in with the notion that being the MC is "just a way to GM that may be old news to some people, but spelled out to those folks not familiar with it.

Basically, at first I was thinking "okay, how do I turn the AW classes into classes in X game, and how do I translate the core ideas like scarcity and barter into X world" and yadda yadda. Then I realized that AW is so great for hacking not because you need to change so little to make it work in other situations (although for some situations that's true - the Wild West, Iceland, some other situations come to mind where mostly cosmetic changes are all that's required) but rather because it is so easy to change extensively to your needs.

Again, this might be a "yeah, duh" notion, but to me I was struck that it was pretty cool. First off, everything the MC does is basically "how to do it your way" instructions that are all super portable. Other than maybe coming up with some different front categories and changing the "Barf Forth Apocalyptica" to "Barf Forth Your-game-ica", the whole Front and threats process works great for just about any setting, as it's more about how to approach thinking about providing adversity than it is a way to model post apocalyptic badness specifically.

Secondly, the basic set up of moves is like a framework for doing *anything* mechanically in the fiction. First, the mechanics of moves are dead simple: Roll + stat, with 10 being 'yeah you pretty much do that with no problem', 7-9 being 'you get it, but make a hard choice and/or get some adversity' and a miss being 'you get trouble and may or may not get what you wanted'. But the real kicker is to couple that with *very specific instructions* that point towards what characters are doing in this game in the form of lists of choices and the names for the moves and so forth.

The last major point about the system that strikes me as great for hacking is not exactly mechanical, but has mechanical implications. And that is that the rules constantly tell you to pay attention to the fiction and do what the fiction calls for, with the moves being a way to keep things exciting and unpredictable. Because of this, it's really easy to 'plug in' other rules that better reflect what kind of fiction you're going for (rules for spaceships, rules for craziness, rules for what you can fit in your backpack, whatevs).

Maybe AW is really a Vincent Move on providing a certain set of design tools, but misdirected and wrapped in Apocalyptica and with his bloody finger prints all over it, so we *think* it's actually just a game.

Does any of that make sense? Is it, in fact, too obvious to be worth commenting on?



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Re: The Adaptability of AW
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 04:13:18 PM »
The game invites you, out-of-the-box, to do two things: Make up a setting with everyone at the table and do some hacking (custom moves for Fronts).  It tells you how and gives you some examples. So right there, the game can work or a wide variety of settings with zero hacking, or maybe changing the names of some of the gear. That's it.

Then you have the realization that you had: If I'm already making custom Moves and the settings, then I can probably drift and hack the other stuff real easy. This because Vx has already given us the form of the rules without too much content. That content is play. Not to mention that the rules are dead simple and not really subject to balance. PCs that have a ton of advancement (say, even past the Ungiven Future) aren't overpowered, just unwieldy. I mean if you had a gang, a hardhold and followers, that's a lot going on but not overpowered.

Re: The Adaptability of AW
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 03:56:14 AM »
I think you're absolutely right. Character kits, apocalyptica, scarcity, that's all just Vx's bloody fingerprints. Moves, principles and agenda are the only thing about the game that's solid. And goddamn it's so solid it's a golden sphere encrusted with diamonds, with a core of adamantium. Everything else is leaves in the wind. Ok, you also have Fronts but Fronts are a way to organize threats and threats are just a category of moves, when you get down to it.

Moves are hackable by themselves, out of the book. Pick a piece of fiction you're interested in, make a move around it. Principles are just a list. Change the list, change the game. The agenda should probably stay as it is, because man I'm not sure anyone wants to tinker with that. Those are your tools, what you're going to do with them?

The very fact that so many people are working on so many hacks and adaptations even before the official release speaks for itself. I have never seen anything like this happen with any other game.