Session 2 Prep
We got enough traction on session one that everyone is down for another session of ye olde Apocalypse World. This and future sessions require some prep, and this is where I find out that 2E is not so very olde.
The entire fronts setup is quite different in 2E! I’ve got 1E and 2E open side by side on my monitors so I can track the differences, because when I cracked open the book to doodle on stuff @ my daughter’s swim practice last week, mostly I was baffled and confused.
The differences start with the Threat Map idea, which honestly really is very much what I would call a situation map (yes yes a longer piece is coming I PROMISE): the threats are grouped geographically, which helps ground the game in literal geography (north/south/near/far etc.) and reminds me to have regionally adjunct threats influence one another. Regions entirely replace Fronts as well: just Threats attached to the Threat Map.
(NB: I think this is one reason I mentioned last post that I felt like the feeeels were missing: it’s not just the feels, it’s the overall abstraction, the … literary-ness, maybe? Fronts are purely a fictional construct to help keep theme on track, and this version gives no shits about putting its hands so directly on theme.)
So: no fronts, therefore no scarcities (and alas, no home Front: no safe space for you snowflakes). It’s all just Threats. There are more of them, and they all come with even more moves, and now I’m feeling honestly a bit overwhelmed by the huge array of potential moves available to me. I had already gotten over my early hesitation/problems/skepticism of the GM move list as being too limiting; this is the opposite problem, an embarrassment of riches, too much too much too much.
Also, literally every fuckin’ thing is a Threat. Under the Essential Threats list at the front of the Threats chapter, it’s all right there: the dirt they’re standing on, the truck they’re driving, their gang, every NPC, every local population. Every. Fuckin’. Thing. It’s great but also a bit overwhelming. I did the probably-obvious thing and picked out a fistful of Threats I felt like were probably the most uh threatening and detailed them a bit more with stakes questions.
My favorite prep question is: what kind of threat is the world’s psychic maelstrom? Really interesting! A couple PCs opened their brains on the first session, and thank goodness because now I have a tiny bit of guidance from the players. But what kind, right? Is the maelstrom an Affliction (the easy/obvious choice)? Or is it a Landscape? Potentially awesome, maybe weird given the Landscape moves that lead to Terrain threats and moves. Is the maelstrom a Grotesque? Weird! Maybe! I couldn’t wrap my head around Vehicle or Warlord as legit maelstrom Threat types but that’s probably just my limited imagination.
So, like, by the book? Prep is easier, finer grained, no authorial worries about lassoing maybe-disparate Threats under a single Front. But it’s also harder, maybe more chaotic, in actual play: way more moves, less thematic grouping other than whatever I work out in an ad-hoc way. I’ll find out tonight.