How do you deal with a player that doesn’t pay much attention to her resources when playing?
In Apocalypse World, I have 2 players, one of them (Mauro) pays a lot of attention to the rules and moves at their disposal. The other one (Ile) not so much, she rarely remembers her advanced moves. In last session, PCs fell through a trap to a dark basement, then they spent some time exploring the place, took a hostage, then escaped. The session was fabulous, because we often play in a fairly zoomed out fashion, but this trap (which separated them) also had them interacting with the scenario, room by room, moment to moment.
The thing is, Ile might have used a move to escape the whole basement with a single roll, provided she knew a way out. But she forgot, and I forgot too (sometimes I remind her, like, “you have this Reputation move, don’t forget”).
First thing, she forgetting that move led to an amazing couple of scenes, a lot different from our usual sessions, so in a sense it was productive oblivion. How would that session have changed if she used it to skip the scene and just escape? Later, I wondered if a move that lets you skip a good scene is or isn’t good, but Mauro pointed to me that they use those moves tactically: if they want to explore the scene further, they don’t trigger them. The downside to those moves is that you can’t stay there and discover interesting stuff.
It’s not my first campaign with Ile and Mauro, and we’ve noticed this dynamic, where Mauro provides attention to the rules and drives forward the session with clear goals and problem solving. Ile, on the other hand, plays an observer role, makes questions about the setting, draws connections, seriously ponders conflicts. Her mere presence, in a sense, contributes to deepen the setting by virtue of asking proper or interesting questions.
There are interesting ways to engage with a game other than paying attention to the moves and, uhm, explicit, in-the-book rules, and I’m thinking now there’s no point in worrying too much about she using her advanced moves or not.
The other thing I found is that some moves, like Eye on the door for the driver (moves to escape from dangerous situations), are in fact scene-framing powers, and carry their own tactic considerations.