Select Page

In this fascinating thread over at Story Games, a few Apocalypse World players are wrestling with one player’s actual-play issues and discussing some of the edges of the Apocalypse World GM’s job. (I think.)

In that thread, you’ll find some discussion of whether or not one GM’s approach to play is meant to be “part of GMing” Apocalypse World. One issue that has arisen is whether or not the habitual importation of GMing techniques learned from other games, and not endorsed by the game text, can lead to trouble (and a clash, it seems to me, of expectations with results) for GMs.

This forms an immediate question in my mind: If a technique is not a part of GMing Apocalypse World… what do you call it when a GM running a game of Apocalypse World uses that technique? Is it a custom MC move? Is it a hack of the game? Is the MC not quite running Apocalypse World at that point?

As someone who had a lot of trouble engaging the manuscript for Apocalypse World as a stand-alone text (I kept interpreting it as a meta-commentary and let the hype surrounding it influence my earliest readings), and as someone who has barely played and never GMed the game, I’m not qualified to say what you’d call it when a GM imports non-prescribed techniques into actual play of Apocalypse World. What do you think?