A year ago, I wrote a short piece about why I like Apocalypse World’s system. In the past few months, I’ve had a chance to work on a few Powered by the Apocalypse games (games that use the base system from AW) and have been glancing over at what’s going on with the second edition of Apocalypse World. You know, I’m still intrigued. I like how it is fast and gets to the point of the conflict without a lot of dicking around, has a lot of player buy-in, and how the philosophy of the game carries through the design. So yes, my Favorite Game System hasn’t changed.
Here’s what I wrote last year.
I’m going to make this a different answer than the one for the “favorite RPG of all time” writing prompt.1 I will have to go with Apocalypse World’s system: roll 2d6 + stat, succeed on a 10 or higher, succeed at a cost on a 7-9, fail at a 6 or lower. But sometimes it’s succeed at a cost at 10+, succeed at a greater cost at 7-9. The actions–moves–often are written with options your character can take with the ones you don’t take acting as prompts for the GM. Here’s a typical example:
On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose one:
- You don’t get hurt
- You don’t hurt someone you care about
- You don’t lose a thing you care about
So if you succeed, and you don’t choose “You don’t get hurt”, you get hurt. Similarly, if you don’t choose losing a thing, you lose a thing.
Not everything is set up like this, but it’s simple enough to go between the “it’s impossible to succeed without cost” and “you can succeed cleanly” settings with this system.
The system itself is so simple (and the writing in the AW book strongly drives play in a specific direction), the AW system has been co-opted by several other games for several other genres. It’s a light, fast, fun system that can be surprisingly gritty. I think it’s pretty cool.
- This will be on the 31st. [↩]