A different way in which TTRPGs have been shaped by wargames: "subsystems".

If you've played crusty wargames or sim boardgames, you know there's a lot of small fiddley subsystems that tie together into one big game. It's what makes these games harder to learn than a mainstream game, and, are very hard to design well.

Done well you get stuff like Twilight Struggle, done poorly, well... a lot of the games out there.


One of the tricks in Apocalypse World's design is that the subsystems are clearly labeled on what they're about "Barter" "Sex Move" "Countdown Clock", which makes it easier to learn.

Where people fumble hacking it is usually they don't look at how those things DO tie together for the play experience. (or, often too, haven't played the game to see it in action...).

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