|Yeah, no one has a better cover than this.|
I'm not sure this is a fact that will get enough attention. Fate Core is perhaps the best laid out RPG book of all time and definitely the best laid out I own (so shoutout to Jeremy Keller for fantastic work). This is for two main reasons. First, the book is easy to flip through quickly to find material. This is because sections of material are logically and simply named as well as laid out in the order in which players and GM's are most likely to need them. Any number of RPGs miss this simple concept and their books become much more difficult to navigate. In Fate Core, I know intuitively that character creation should come after game creation and am rewarded with the material I need in the order I would expect.
The second key factor to the layout is the fact that the table of contents and index strike a good balance between being highly informative and not overwhelming. The table of contents in Fate Core has more information than most RPG books do; having subsections listed under the major chapters of the book. For example Character Creation has the subsections Character Creation Is Play, Your Character Idea, The Phase Trio, Skills, Stunts and Refresh, Stress and Consequences, You're All Set! and Quick Character Creation. That's a lot of information, but each subsection title is fairly self-explanatory and it really best serves people who are looking for specific information, which will include most players getting ready for a game. The index, unlike most RPG books, is fairly light. It feels to me as if it focuses on terms not already covered in the table of contents, meaning it works well as a quick reference to the more obscure terms and rules of the system. This balance means that I am provided with a large amount of information in a rather digestible manner, which makes the book quick to navigate.
|Secretly the best page in the book.|
Imagery is also a big help in making Fate Core easy to read. There are tons of pictures in the book, giving readers a place to take a break. And there is excellent use of symbols to help players remember and define the four major types of dice rolling actions. This means that they can be used to recall that information at any time during examples or later rules discussions. While it seems like a little thing, this is HUGE and greatly helps to cut down on flipping back and forth between sections of the book. And if players do need to flip back and forth, the symbols make it easy to spot places in which the information they're looking for might be located.
|Seriously, RPG publishers, do this. It's ultra helpful.|
Outside of Fate Core, I have never read an RPG book cover-to-cover in order. Fate Core changed this by providing an easy way in which to find rules and stopping points as I read through the book. I also think the ease of reading for the book really couples well with the flexibility and openness of the system itself. This has given my group, and I would suspect others, an added sense of ability to take the system to do whatever setting we might want. My group has already discussed a fairly large range of game settings in Fate Core (from sci-fi like Rifts, Pacific Rim, or Stargate to fantasy like Warcraft to modern fantasy like Supernatural or the zombie apocalypse). None of these seem like a stretch because the rules are flexible and it is easy to quickly navigate the book for the tools to put them together. That's tough to beat.
As for the rules, they're pretty much Fate as it's been for years. Players get four dice with blank, plus, and minus sides to them. When players take an action that needs resolution, they roll those dice, count up the plusses and minuses then combine those with their values in various skills. If the GM or player compels or invokes aspects, there might be shifts in that final number. If the final number surpasses the target for success, the player succeeds. Simple stuff really. The real punch of the system is its ability to do anything and give enough structure to it that there's order to play but flexibility to allow players and GM's to attempt whatever they want. It's clear that tenet carried over from the rules to the rule book, and coupled with Evil Hat's willingness to get their player community involved, it produced a great way to get both experienced and new players playing.
|Truth in advertising.|