It is no secret, I dislike Fate. In the hands of an awesome GM, it is a great game. But that is true for any game. However Fate has always come off as a system that assures a particular outcome; Narrative consensus.
In the Fate games that I’ve played there comes a point when someone invokes the meta-aspect “I’m going to MATH this!” and proceeds to burn through many free invokes and a few fate points. And they “win” the conflict.
The narrative beats may feel like the “good guys” are on the ropes, but the underlying mechanical economy appears to insure, through actuarially asserted models, that success will happen.
One of the consequences of invoking the meta-aspect “I’m going to MATH this!” is the extended moment of aspect scrounging. It always reminds me of the old Wheel of Fortune segment in which the winner for the round would buy stuff from a show room; “I’ll take the porcelain dalmatian for $400 and the crystal ash tray for $200 and…”
And while there is a concerted table effort to scrounge up all related aspects related to the meta-aspect “I’m going to MATH this!”, this process invariably feels like the table is awarding participation ribbons for attending a graduation ceremony for 2nd grade.
So how would I solve this?
Invocation of Aspects give Advantage or Disadvantage (as per D&D 5E). And Advantage or Disadvantage does not stack. In other words, you get one invocation in your favor.
Does this break Fate? Perhaps. But unless you are a vetted Fate GM (and you know who you are) I won’t be playing Fate‡.
‡ – Unless it is the Diaspora mini-game for Spaceship conflict. That mini-game is fantastic. Or Wrath of the Autarch, which on my last playing had mini-games and inherent time constraints, thus removing the ubiquitous “I’m going to MATH this!” moments.