I have read a lot of TTRPG books that touched me on a fundamental level, but none, not a one ever felt so resonant as this one. Glitch: A Story of the Not has already moved me all over the emotional spectrum from just reading the thing. There is a lot to read to here, it's a big book! But all of it is amazing. I generally go for smaller, simpler games. PBTA is my jam. I don't usually have the attention span to get through such a tome, but Glitch is simply so excellently written, so packed full of vivid details and compelling philosophy, that I made it through this one no problem.
This right here is a gamechanger. The rules can be a little loose, but they are clear where they need to be and the rest is flexibility. There is an incredible amount of freedom here that is still bounded enough and in the right places by the rules to keep the game on track and focused. The elaborate examples of play really help understanding how this game is supposed to run and they were the most true.to-life examples I have ever read. The players in these examples make mistakes and forget things and leave tons of loose ends all over the place. They get the rules wrong. This is obviously pointed out by the book so you know what the "correct" ruling would have been, but the point here is to show that these things, too, are a part of playing Glitch.
I am rambling, I'm sorry. It is difficult for me to focus on any particular thing about Glitch because it is simply such a marvellous, special whole. This is one of those games that's worth buying even if you don#t think you'll ever get aorund to playing it, it's that good. But you should ABSOLUTELY play it, too. Because the play experience is absolute Gold. This game goes from knee-slappingly funny to absolutely disastrously (but beautifully) sad in no time flat and I love it so much.
So what is it even about. Here's my two cents. Glitch is about disability and coping. It is also about being a divine, epically powerful harbinger of destruction, called an Excrucian Strategist, albeit one who has given up on destruction is trying not to fall off the bandwagon. Each PC is a member of a self-help group for world-destroying monsters who don't want to destroy the world. And they are also so achingly human. This is a game in which the average character can easly do a bunch of really impressive, cinematic stuff and if they push themselves can be a wondrous storm of change and destruction, but may on any given day, not manage to shower or hydrate. The Strategists are comically tragic people, all dying all the time of an Infection that is unique to them and causes the world to break them. They have every reason to want to fight back. But it is also futile. And in the end, perhaps the best thing they can do is just try to make the best of their situation, whatever that may mean for them individually.
I don't think any TTRPG character I ever made has ever been so relatable to myself as this not-quite-a-person with the falling stars in their eyes that can turn themself into a Kaiju and go on a rampage, but also lives in utter chaos, because cleaning your room taxing in a way that miracles generally aren't helpful with.
That's the kind of game this is. And I don't think I will ever find one that I will love more than this.
I played Nobilis before, another game by Jenna Moran and the game where the setting of Glitch originated. Ever since those days, I always wanted to play an Excrucian. With Glitch that's finally a real possibility. I did not expect to want to be a Strategist out of all of them, but Glitch recontextualises them in a way that has catapulted them to the top of my list of entities in Nobilis. If you've played Nobilis before, I should say, I haven't actually played a lot of it. I always read more of it than I played, because I found playing it very taxing. The possibility space was simply way too big at any given time. There were too many options! And in miraculous combat my brain would simply overheat trying to think of all the ways miraculously empowered enemies could counter my every move and ruin me.
Glitch does not have this issue. Miraculous conflict in Glitch is remarkably freeing, dynamic and fun for the simple reason that tactics aren't really a thing there. You can certainly still win a fight simply by devising the perfect miracle if you're the kind of person who can do that. But you don't have to be that kind of person in this. In this, all you need to do to win, if you want to win, is to pay for it by overtaxing yourself with miracles and actions that are dramatic and difficult for your character. This approach works so incredibly well. And it fixes the main problem that has always held me back from fully enjoying Nobilis.
So if you bounced off Nobilis for being too obtuse, too free, too daunting: Give Glitch a shot. It has all the good stuff, but is so much easier to manage.