The following: 100% my opinion and analysis. Not saying "Hack & Slash" sucks per se. Just trying to figure out and express why I never liked it.
Familiar with the dice and cloud stuff on anyway? It's just a fancy way to say "you have the fiction we're talking about, you have the material stuff you play with, and rule go from the fiction, trigger some rules, and the result of the rules should inform the players as directly and interestingly as possible what happens next in the fiction".
So. Taking something by force in AW:
When you take something by force, roll +hard.
On a hit, choose options. On a 10+, choose 3. On a 7–9, choose 2:
• you take definite hold of it
• you suffer little harm
• you inflict terrible harm
• you impress, dismay or frighten your enemy
Notice how the results you choose might
inform you about "dice" stuff, but all of them will
tell you something significant about the fiction? Like "you suffer little harm" means that a) in the real world, you notch -1harm than you should on your counter but and it is super important
, b) in the fiction, it shows
. Like NPCs would say things like "damn, he went against three guys and he wasn't harmed that much, and those guys were totally dismayed after that!" It's written from the point of view of the character.
And on a miss, of course, what happens is a MC move, which are 100% fictional, 100% "cloud stuff" (and sometimes will trigger more "dice" stuff but that's consequential).
Going Aggro is even more cloud stuff.
Now, look at Hack & Slash :
When you attack an enemy in melee, roll+Str. On a 10+ you deal your damage to the enemy and avoid their attack. At your option, you may choose to do +1d6 damage but expose yourself to the enemy's attack. On a 7–9, you deal your damage to the enemy and the enemy makes an attack against you.
The only good thing you can get is "you deal damage to the enemy", which is like mostly "dice" stuff, with a little side-dish of "cloud" (yay, my attack connect!), and frankly a little boring compared to stuff like "take definite hold" or "impress or dismay your opponent". Your 10+ option benefit is pure "dice" stuff and say nothing
about the fiction. Only the accumulation of damage will come back to the cloud when the enemy hits 0 HP.
All the pure "cloud" stuff is 100% bad, against the character (the enemy attack, or the hard move on a 6-). You might say that "avoid their attack" is cloud stuff, but isn't it just another way to say "nothing (important) happens" ?
Volley is evocative with a lot of cloud stuff. Ditto Defend. Hack & Slash ? Not enough cloud stuff for me.