Tinkering all sorts of Reincorporation mechanics (Claims, Motifs, Keys, etc.) I realize I am blocked by the rule of “do not repeat yourself”. I’d call that the rule of “1-2-stop”. It’s a good rule, but so much for Reincorporation.
So, I watched some The Wire and I think I have a solution. It’s the rule of “1-2-split”. And it works like this : when you find yourself or another player repeating a Motif, congratulate them and propose a Motif that while continuing the previous one, goes in a new direction. Like : tree - tree - woodcutting. Now I know, it’s just Breaking the Routine from Improv.
But, as in all things Reincorporation, the trick is in making it a rule that you don’t just let lay in the players’ hands. And if you look at some games with clear Reincorporation mechanics, you’ll find it underused : SWM does “1-2-stop”. Keys can be repeated indefinitely if you don’t up the stakes against them (but there’s no mechanic tying back to that). Claims are living, but some will get repeated times and times again, as any other Trait or Skill. I believe Breaking the Routine is the “default”, sustainable through both short and long term play.
BTW, it can also be used in character, setting and scenario creation.