A question which comes up regularly is how Fate compares to Fudge. If you’ve been following both games for a while now, you may remember that Fate was once based on Fudge. Some people even called it a Fudge variant back in the day. And in it’s early days Fate actually was just that. But over time Fate changed and moved away from its Fudge roots. Fate’s latest iteration called Fate Core has been redesigned from the ground up and aside from a similar dice mechanic it doesn’t have anything in common with Fudge anymore.
So what makes Fudge and Fate different? First and foremost Fudge is basically a rules-light traditional roleplaying game while Fate is a modern storytelling game. In Fudge the focus is on the characters and their abilities while in Fate the focus is clearly on the story. While you can basically run Fudge like D&D, Fate needs a different mindset. Fate just doesn’t work without players taking the initiative and driving the story forward. This in one of the great strengths of the game, but if your players prefer to be more passive, Fate doesn’t really work that well. For a Fate game you need a group of pro-active and creative players that have stories of their own to tell, and who are not willing just to follow the GM along.
While Fudge definitely makes roleplaying easier for everyone by just not getting in the way, it’s not as important that all the players are enganged in the story fully. Fudge is a great game for any GM. You can basically tweak it to your hearts content, make it as rules-light or rules-heavy as you like, and even graft elements from other games onto it. But at it’s core it’s still a pretty traditional game. For games like Fate you need to get yourself into a different mindset.
While I love both games for what they are, I have to admit that Fudge feels easier for me to run. It’s closer to the games I played when I was first introduced to the hobby than Fate. If I started with games like Apocalypse World, FATE and Fiasco, I might see things differently, but this wasn’t the case.
In my opinion Fate and Fudge are two totally different games that are both very enjoyable. Treating Fate Core as a Fudge variant doesn’t do either game justice.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Please share your comments below. As always every comment is highly appreciated.