Someone writing code on a laptop while also examining code on a handheld mobile device
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Years ago, when the idea of computer security intrusions by nations pursuing typical espionage goals was in its relative infancy, some US government investigators needed to be able to talk about these intrusions in non-classified environments – meaning, they couldn’t say “China” because that identity was classified. So they’d say “Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)” purely as a euphemism. Over time, the industry took that term and tried to make it literal, putting detailed ontologies on the three words Advanced, Persistent, and Threat. That never really worked because different people heard the term and understood it in different ways. I’m not in that field today, but I believe the terminology has evolved (and now we know that all major powers and quite a few minor powers do the same thing, just with different levels of capabilities).

NSR feels similar to me. Sometimes we’re trying to approach it with a detailed parsing, either of the words New, School, and Revolution, or (moreso in this case) @pandatheist‘s blog post linked below, when (as pointed out by Pandatheist herself in the post) it’s really just “we’re kind of like those folks, but not”. Which works just fine for me! I think of it these days as a community of folks who started with OSR, but without the assholes, and have evolved in many different directions. (“No Shitty Reactionaries”?)

Similarly, with FKR, it started out as an approach to Prussian wargaming and has evolved somewhat. Back then, it meant a war game where an experienced referee judged the results rather than having the commanders (players) engage with increasingly arcane, detailed rulesets.

Sandra Snan defines it rather concisely as “a thing where you as player don’t roll dice, you just say what you do”.

A reconstruction of a Prussian military wargame (kriegsspiel), based on a ruleset developed by Georg Heinrich Rudolf Johann von Reiswitz in 1824.
“Kriegspiel 1824”, photo by Matthew Kirschenbaum

It doesn’t really matter in detail, though; as a member of the leftist FKR Collective, I can say we have many different definitions which mostly come down to “high GM authority, minimal player-facing mechanics”. It’s really about a specific community, regardless, whether we’re playing Into the Odd or Diplomacy or anything else.

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