Sunday, July 7, 2013

Impressions of FATE Core - look and feel


So I finally got my copy of FATE Core. While I am less than happy with some Kickstarter projects, this was not one of them. Evil Hat kept in contact during the whole process from the funding until arrival of the goods, always updating with the latest status. Take note, all you who run rpg Kickstarters! Let people know what's going on? You have taken their money, they deserve to know you have not left for a sunny beach with their money. Kudos to Evil Hat. they did this right.

How is the game?

Well, I have not yet run a game, since I've only owned the book for a few days and I rarely read a game book from cover to cover when I first get it. But, it looks good. I am familiar with FATE 2nd ed and this looks like a really good update. It's well presented and from what I've glanced, it reads well. All concepts are clearly presented.

This is where I'd like to take a moment to compare this book to The Dresden Files game. In that game there was sidebars and "boxed notes" laid out to look like handwriting, and post-it notes. It was horrible! The page looked so busy I got tired from reading just a few pages. It also made it a pain to skim a few pages to search for something, or get a grasp of things. With so busy a page, it made the eyes jump all over the place. Less is more, guys.

Not so in FATE Core.

In this book it's all black and white and the sidebars and boxes highlighting stuff is integrated in the graphical profile of the whole page. If that sounds like just so much typographical gobbledygook, I will hold up classic Call of Cthulhu as an example. If you take a book like Arkham Unveiled or The Fungi from Yuggoth, you'll see two column lay out, few fonts and the boxed illustrations align with the text columns. The eye needs not stray. Everything you needs in where it's expected to be.

There's more.

One thing I really like is how Evil Hat have put small notes in the margins, pointing out where to go for details on something mentioned in that paragraph. Especially in the beginning chapters which explains the basic concepts and character generation that is really helpful. It's taking the usage of an index to the next helpful level. There is an index, but thanks to these hints it's quite short. I think it works pretty well. We'll see how it holds up after heavy use.

Another thing I really liked were the illustrations. I found no gravity defying breasts and ridiculous  armour, and in general women were depicted sensibly. Also worth noting is that there are quite a few non "white dude" individuals. I liked that. I have not found any really amazing pieces that I stood out, but I found none that made me cringe, which I think is far more important. You can say what you want about knowing your target audience, but clearly Evil Hat wants to think beyond the niche here and they should be applauded for that.

This game I like, and I have seen enough of the rules to like them as well.

So.

You know what I have a problem with? Now when I have this game and Savage Worlds, I have two games that can cover multiple campaigns. (Yeah, I also have GURPS but I have given up on that.) Why is that a problem? What should I use it for? I have too many choices! But, maybe I can finally get a Planescape game that feels like it lives up to the setting's potential. Just maybe.


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