My Review for PBTA System

My second review.

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  • edit : Hum. I realize I just did unasked for feedback. Tell me if you want it off the thread.**

Could you break down the blocks of text into smaller paragraphs, please ? Indentation or titles of some kind would help readability, too.

typo : “have went”
You build a good historical vision of games with ad hoc rules and “lengthy tomes” : but “rules light” is a confusing label, meaning many things for different people. For this reason, I would not use it. “Crunch” may suffer somewhat from the same problem.

simply trying to observe a room or a scene” is misleading. Design-and game-wise, there’s nothing simple in Read a sitch, proof of that being the literature on the topic. Harm as Meat Points (“before dying”) is a misconception. Likewise “attempting anything (…) fiction goes from there” misses an articulation I find critical : there’s a negotiation/evaluation dialogue around a roll you seem to not notice. You can probably pick it up on an AP video to see the content of it. On the same line of thought, ““you fail to pick the lock” gets boring after a while” is erroneous : failing to pick the lock just can’t be the only outcome after a roll. Likewise, there are some “what you want to do”, “attempt” that go contrary to “to do it, do it”. Your description of PbtA games being very detailed, I think it won’t be a stretch to look into these decisive aspects : perception moves, what harm is for, negotiating fictional positioning and effect, and “to do it, do it”.

The names of the moves are not just fun, they are linked to genre, as are playbooks and principles. And moving the remarks on these names next to the remark on how PbtA games go cross-genre would make it clearer. Likewise, when you cut down the blocks into smaller paragraphs, you will see some remarks could be moved closer to another paragraph dealing with the same topic, leaving only a mention of the subtitle (“see XP”) at the place they presently are.

Some details are just anecdotal : picking 1, 2 or 3 moves at character creation is vastly indifferent to what PbtA is. Basic moves, playbook moves, advanced moves are not. Having all your character in a dozen of “here is half a dozen X, pick 1” is not. I’d say the article could gain from one more round of analysis -> synthesis. Reading this could help : PbtA taxonomy.

Overall, your description is super precise, complete and heartfelt. It’s a great gateway for people who come from D&D and want to learn about PbtA. Some of my remarks are just me being picky, but looking into some questions more precisely will not hurt you nor your readers.

Keep them good articles coming !

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