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GM Moves

One of the really interesting things that Apocalypse World does is provide a way of codifying how you should GM the game so that the resulting game is as close to the authorial intent as possible. Normally RPGs emphasise the interpretative role of the GM in a game, the rules and setting are all presented to the players through the prism of the GM with the GM being privileged as being the “correct” authority where confusion or ambiguity arises. This is actually one of the things that allowed RPGs to become so popular as they can be played and interpreted in many ways and therefore appeal to a wide audience spectrum. It is also the reason that finding workable groups of players can be so fraught as expectations and interpretations can be pretty far apart.

In Apocalypse World Moves are used to describe conventional character powers as you might expect but they are then used to describe how a GM can respond to what the players are doing as well. While things like scene economies have already created boundaries on how a GM controls the flow of play GM Moves take this to a whole new level.

Moves offer a whole new way of describing “how the game is meant to be played”. Which in terms of ensuring more consistent play experiences is a boon for RPG designers, which in turn has led to their adoption and imitation in a lot of indie games.