Rethinking Galactica from the Core

I watched a video that has me re-thinking Apocalypse Galactica at it’s core. Pete Figtree interviewed Adam Koebel, Gregor Vuga, John Harper, Jonathan Walton, and Sage LaTorra about hacking Apocalypse World. Man, do they guys know their stuff.

The video makes me very happy I called it a reskin, rather than a hack. Here’s 78 minutes of awesome, followed by the questions I’m now asking myself about Apocalypse Galactica.

What I now want to reconsider

  • Stats. Does Faith play a role in the game? Should it only apply to playbooks like the visionary? The CAG has always left me wondering if they push with Hot, Hard, or Sharp. Is that because a the stats as is should be changed more for the setting.
  • Vehicles – Large (Battlestar) and small (Viper). Should they be treated as Military Units (gangs)? Do more mechanics (besides the AW basic moves) need to be developed for space combat. Should they suffer harm?
    • Should there be battle moves to cover ship to ship fights?
  • Supply and Favor – Currently each a fraction of what barter is in Apocalypse World. These should be full developed to be distinct currencies, with their own meaningful moves and interactions.
  • Consider a strong divide between military personnel and civilians. Do they have different moves? Different currencies? How do they interact well or poorly? When does one have leverage over the other? What are their areas of influence?
    • Rank or command. Should it be a stat or currency? Something that is spent, rolled, and/or put at risk.
  • Structure of a game session
    • Should it emulate an episode of the show?
    • Starting off do we spend time making the fleet? using love letters?
  • Crisis Clocks – Currently 12:00 equals destruction of humanity (starved to death, freeze to death, killed by cylons, turning against each other, etc). What about making the scope smaller? What if 12:00 indicated a Cylon attack? What if 12:00 meant a change in the paradigm. For example: accepting a Cylon into the Fleet (Athena), Changing the President (Gaius), or Cylon Occupation.
    • What about advancing the clocks based on triggered events like how corporations become more pursuant of you in The Sprawl?
  • Have I given enough thought to the civilian roles? The people who put demands on the fleet? They are a vulnerability for the military unit, but what strengths do they bring in the show, and are the represented in play.
  • I want more on activating weaknesses. The game usually has lots of conditions in play like “terrified” or “insubordinate”. I’d like an explicit GM move to shift those from general grumblings to a specific (and irrevocable) action.
  • Re-examine the principles, agendas, and moves. I’ve always taken it for granted that those should be the same save the change in setting (i.e. Barf forth the Apocalyptica is changed to Show the Fall of humankind) but otherwise would be used in tact. Should this be? Should I be looking at my own play sessions to see what I do as GM and codify those actions as the GM’s moves?
  • Basic Moves
    • Seduce or Manipulate – Ties in with command suggestion above. Should their be a military basic move “When you pull rank…”
    • Read a stich – These questions should be drawn from the show, or inspired from the show.
    • Read a person – Consider questions. “Is your character telling the truth?” should be removed. Consider questions like “Are you acting for the good of the Fleet?”
    • Leap of Faith – I’ve floundered with this move in play. It can be memories, visions, sudden inspiration, premonitions, projecting, hallucinations, etc, and yet it’s been hard for me to reconcile with the show’s explicitly refusal to concretely acknowledge the supernatural (until the very end).

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