Reviewing Fate Core is an interesting thing as I know the system very well. I have been a fan of this system since I ran across it in a small convention in NYC back in 2007. Then I was lucky enough to playtest the Dresden Files RPG. So, as I said, I am fairly versed in the system.
I am going to assume that most people that are reading this at least have some knowledge of the system, so I am not going to go into great detail about mechanics.
First of all the book is small. I say this, because at the same time I also got Star Wars Edge of the Empire AND Numenera…and both of those books are HUGE. So, it is nice that the book can be carried easily. The artwork is also very good. A lot of different genres are in display and it looks very good indeed.
I am not going to go into EVERY change they made to the system. But, the best thing I can honestly say about Fate Core is that everything is more fluid as the system was streamlined quite a bit. The reason I say this is as much as I have always loved the system, it could get bogged down at times. Especially in combat. Now when you are trying to overcome someone, either with a skill, or in combat…you have four outcomes. Which was a much needed and simpler way to do this. Awesome.
This means what it sounds like. You can still obviously fail a roll. But now you have the option of succeeding at a serious cost. This is awesome as it allows you to succeed, but then something will be made more difficult for you. Narratively, this is gold.
Again, you can succeed, but this time at a minor cost. Or if in battle, you can get a boost (an aspect that you get to invoke once for free). This right here speeds combat up SO much.
You get what you want with no cost.
Succeed with style
If you succeed by 3 or more shifts you do it with style. This means you get an added benefit beyond just succeeding.
The reason why I talk about this, is because of the above mentioned, it just speeds the game up in so many ways. Gone are the battles that just took forever because of really high health tracks and back and forth turns.
You also have less skills, and a smaller health and mental track (which DFRPG actually started). This makes the game much more dangerous. I remember the first time I played this and we played a Star Wars Fate game and one of the players almost died in the first fight against a rancor. Death is much, much, more a chance in this version of Fate.
Which I love.
I also like that they gave stunt suggestions for each skill. I have seen people get a bit intimated in trying to come up with them on their own. Three is better than none.
Again, they do a great job of giving people that run the game tips. They do this better than anyone I have ever seen. Plenty of examples throughout and just a tone that doesn’t feel condescending and makes the person reading really feel like they can take this system on. Even if they have not played/run it before. This is a great thing indeed.
Lastly, it is just such a versatile system. You can honestly play just about any genre you want. High fantasy, steampunk, Cthulhu, pulp, sci-fi, or anything else you really want. I love that and beyond the settings they have already published, it is the most hackable game I have ever encountered. I have personally played a Star Wars, Thundercats, GI Joe, and Transformers Fate Core game.
It doesn’t get better than that.
About the only thing bad I can say is that this game is not for everyone. Power gamers and people that just love combat can get frustrated with Fate mechanics. I have seen enough of this to know it is true, and I have even converted some of these people. But that is just a fact and that is why there are hundreds of other games out there for those gamers.
Rating 10 out of 10