[Sagas of the Icelanders] There's tech here I haven't seen used widely

edited February 2018 in Story Games
Found this review of the game..

https://platonic-solids.com/2017/01/24/review-sagas-of-the-icelanders/

and I would like to emphasize some points it brings up, about the game having some interesting "tech" that we haven't seen used in other PbtA games. I'm intrigued on the reasons for that, since they work great to push the game's goals IMO:

1) Relationship based reward. Most Apocalypse World hacks suggest players create goals, implicitly. Sagas makes it a explicit mechanic tied to your character advancement.

2) Bonds. You act on your relationships, you gain bonds.. that you use to influence other players characters, usually to advance your agenda regarding those initial relationships (protect my daughter, avenge my father, kill that christian neighbour, etc).

3) Gender/Social moves that work like a powder keg, guaranteeing that, sooner or later, characters will explode against each other.

4) Endgame moves that allow players to rewrite/retrofit basic moves based on changes in the fiction. Eg: "When you die a christian, choose an aspect of local culture to change. This includes rewritting basic moves if needed" - this allow a player whose character dies a christian to say, for example, that from now on the local culture will abandon the "upholding honor" basic move that's intrinsic to men.

This is one of the most interesting ecology of rules feeding into each other I've seen in a AW hack (even more than Monsterhearts *raises shield*). And it seems some people agree with me, as the review above indicates. Then, I ask, WHY has this not been replicated in any other AW hack or sibling? Perhaps the game wasn't popular enough to influence future hacks ? It's perceived flaws made people forget it's qualities? Other?

Comments

  • I'm also very curious about Sagas, but I haven't been able to convince anyone to play it with me yet.
  • @Paul_T Because it is hard to do really well. Look at what you've said "ecology of rules feeding into each other". You have to understand the genre and setting for the game you are trying to create really, really well (or get incredibly lucky out of the gate), and you also have to balance your "ecology" perfectly or one "species" of rule will over-run the system; so you also have to understand system really, really well.
    -
    You have to read, deeply analyze, and play a lot of games, in the design space your working in—and in related design spaces—before you can even recognize and breakdown these technologies and see which will best achieve your design goals. These technologies, probably adjusted somewhat to fit your exact goals, will be your starting point, from which you ask yourself “what if” questions in order to get closer to the best way to fulfill your design goals for the game. You will hone and perfect your game by spending a lot of time asking “what if,” questions, playtesting, and adjusting and modifying your game, and even being willing to rethink what seems fundamental and willing to “kill you darlings.” Expect this process to take years if you want your game to be amoung [sic] the best in the design space you’re working in.
    The reason Monsterhearts and Saga are such great yet rare games is because the designers struck the perfect balance. I'm not trying to be a jerk or shut down discussion, but you've named two of best PbtA hacks in contemporary indie game design.

    I'm not sure what you're hoping for here. Is this a call to arms, ie. we should be doing this? Then I'm going to go back to my "invasive species" argument, above.

  • I looked around for this game a few weeks ago and somehow failed to find a place where I could purchase a download. Any tips?
  • I haven't played it, but The Warren (http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/the-warren/) seems to have some of that meta-move tech going on. Shared pool of common moves but no one can duplicate, and there are rules for players creating custom moves.
  • I looked around for this game a few weeks ago and somehow failed to find a place where I could purchase a download. Any tips?
    Argh! You're right. The author's blog has all but disappeared from the Internet. And I see @Teataine hasn't posted here in years - wonder if he'll still get an e-mail notice we're talking about him and his game?
  • Sagas is actually quite restrictive in moves by design. Characters have great Moves to do things that emulate the Sagas, but are otherwise pretty constricted.

    This is a powerful use of PBTA Moves (one foreshadowed in Apocalypse World by the limited Moves of, say, the Hardholder) but I think there's a good reason it hasn't become more widespread; it can be frustrating for players.
  • Up to date official website for Sagas of the Icelanders.
  • edited February 2018
    Sagas is actually quite restrictive in moves by design. Characters have great Moves to do things that emulate the Sagas, but are otherwise pretty constricted.

    This is a powerful use of PBTA Moves (one foreshadowed in Apocalypse World by the limited Moves of, say, the Hardholder) but I think there's a good reason it hasn't become more widespread; it can be frustrating for players.
    Agreed. But even outside the moves structure we have things like agendas tied to advancement (in the form of Relationships you must act upon to get xp), and the rewrite of basic moves depending on the group advanced choices. I may be mistaken, but no other AW hack has tapped on such concepts.

  • Thx very much for the links.
    Davey.
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