Their Sample Problems
Blind Sniper exists due to not putting scope limits and/or not saying No; some versions have a scope limit on aspects, as in, "No more than one scene aspect, no more than one personal aspect, no more than one gear aspect, and no more than one campaign aspect per roll." This makes it a bit harder for players to use aspects creatively, but also pulls the limits tighter. In most Fate games, the final authority (whether table or GM) can veto any aspect play; being too generous about aspects makes scope more important, but a strong guiding hand can make scope unneeded.
Overly long combat comes from a variety of issues, but again, scope limits help. Two things make combat run long - excessive defense and poor offense. The combination might be due to aspects or skills or stunts. When it's aspects, it's the Blind Sniper problem again... except on defense. Don't allow overlapping defensive aspects. If it's skills, the solution often is easy: run them out of Fate and compel them out; see below. Sometimes it's unwillingness to conceed; I can't help from experience there, but have seen that the solution in those cases is (1) talk to the player and (2) set stakes so that a time limit applies to the combat.
Non-stop combat comes from poorly set stakes and lack of real threats - it's a story problem as much as a mechanical one. A couple really brutal but non-lethal take-outs and the "There's always a bigger badass somewhere" encounters can usually solve that. On the other hand, some people see RPG's as nothing more than a boardless wargame, and play to win, with winning being "Kill as many monsters as possible"... mostly this is from D&D or Palladium players. with them, the issue is differing expectations of what an RPG is. Discussion with them is essential.
Run Them Out Of Fate
There are times when you need to force a compel or prevent aspect play. In such times, offer unacceptable to the player compels. Make them work from the aspects, but make them just barely too harsh. the player then has to decide - take this unpleasantness, or run out of fate.
You also don't have to tag their aspects.
Fate works best when there is a steady exchange of Fate points, but sometimes, you just have to nerf them in order to get on with the story. Remember to give a chance to refresh after the needed nastiness if the players have been run out completely.
Fate requires less prep, and breaks prep more easily, than many other games.
You should not have a "Kewl Story" firmly in mind when prepping - Fate is a system where the players generate the story by interacting with the GM's NPC's, not by riding the GM's story-rails.
So, when players throw wrenches in the monkeyworks, without totally trashing the existing narrative flow, recycle the NPC's for later. Don't say "no" unless it's either unreasonable or everyone else groaned at the narration. Remember Vincent's admonition: At every moment of play, either say "yes" or roll the dice. (Sure, it wasn't written for Fate, being from Dogs in the Vinyard, but it works equally well in Houses of the Blooded, Fate, and Burning Wheel.) The times to say "No" are few, and far between...
Saying "No" - When, Why?
Say "no" when a player's narration:
- is cutting another player out of play
- doesn't make sense in the story
- offends the rest of the group
- isn't justified by their abilities
Saying no is essentially only for when they break the social contract of Fate Play - everyone is there to tell nifty stories together, as a group, about the characters that were written up by the group, and those stories need to remain about the group.
Say no only to protect the social contract.
Boundary Issues - The Unmentioned Common Horror Story
If you have some players with boundary issues, it's best to delineate them in writing at the outset, and eject any player who can't/won't stay within them.
Zoey is a fundamentalist christian. She is uncomfortable playing Dresden Files because her character might be forced into a demonic pact or forced to work for a demon. So, as part of campaign setup, it's a good idea to make it explicit that PC's will not be entering such pacts, and compels can't be used to make PC's work for or with demons. One might even go so far as to ban demons completely.
Fred, the combat veteran, is still working on his PTSD. He asks that the group not make sudden noisy sound effects, because that tends to set him off.
Hank is a rape survivor. He asks the group to simply avoid rape scenes and sexual compels.
In all these cases, putting the restriction in writing and having everyone agree to it helps make people comfortable. And once agreed to, violations are grounds for the GM to say "No" outright.
Can't See The Forest For The Trees
The player who can't see his aspects relevance has a big problem in Fate. My solution to this bottleneck is to suggest every other player offers a suggestion on an aspect to solve the issue.
As in, Fred, Hank, and Zoey are playing in my game. Hank gets stuck, during a heist, and can't figure out what aspect to use. I ask Fred and Zoey to each suggest one use, and I'll suggest one, and let Hank pick. Hank not that bright, so he struggles; he's really there for the social life, not the story itself, but he will eventually get better at it.
The second solution is to have the stumped player simply pick an aspect, and let someone else narrate it for him.
The third potential solution is more drastic: don't let them take vague or broad aspects.
EG: Hank, playing a combat grunt, wants to take "hundred yard stare"... because it sounds and is cool... but in play, chokes on how to use it. We rewrite it for him, into a much longer version, "I've seen so much, that almost nothing ever phases me anymore, and that also makes people nervous when they see my hundred yard stare." This longer version gives Hank the cues he needs to play "hundred yard stare".
Hank is a real person, with real issues, including being a survivor of a violent rape. Hank isn't his real name. And as far as I know, Hank's not actually played Fate... Hank was a social gamer, and had brain damage from his ordeals in life. He tried. He Tried HARD. And just couldn't function in a D&D group with anything other than the fighter. He often misunderstood the descriptions.
Players like Hank need a lot of help in Fate and similar player driven games. Sometimes they'll open up, and blossom. Other times, they'll try and botch badly. It's a group decision whether or not to support Hank in play.
It's perfectly fine to suggest Hank play NPC's instead of a character of his own; that way the GM can support him as needed. Let him make most decisions, but when he's stuck, the GM can step in. (This worked rather well with Hank in D&D... he had a reason to be there, had a role, but wasn't in every scene, and wasn't on the spot near as much.) There's even a term for this role in a group: Harlequin.