I was well pleased about how the Fate Chips worked in play on Sunday. We had used them before in the Wilderlands campaign, but I was re-convinced about their usefulness. It gives everybody some more options (healing, re-rolls of saves which everyone did, and re-rolls of hits and max damage which nobody did this time) but imposes a price for the option. You gain more XP for relying on natural results from which you learn, not on the powers of Fate, which teaches you nothing.
Without the Death Save and the Fate Chips, we probably would have gone through 6 sets of characters each. I'm old school, but not that old school.
The chips also speed the XP progression along. If we were using monster XP, it would take forever. to get to level 2. 2-3 sessions is good pace, 1 is too short, 5 is far too long.
I do like it to be numerically based, however. Advancement by numbers and the different speeds of the various classes and multi-classes are important choices to make, and having to choose whether to use Fate chips and to lunge for more treasure adds more player decisions, which is always desirable.
I'm also waffling about Encumbrance. It is always a huge pain in the ass. I don't really want to have people count pounds etc. On the other hand, there has to be some limit to carrying stuff. You really can't be hauling an anvil, a cask of wine, and 27 handaxes. I don't know what the solution is.
Maybe the 1 item per STR point, a backpack with 6 things counts as 1 item, and clothes, pouches, and things that weigh less than a pound don't count, like we used in 5e might be okay. I guess we could use that as a default in case something happens to the wheelbarrow guy you're planning to hire.
I'm going to be interested to see how some stuff plays out. You are going to have to start balancing times vs. money. Bob is going to want to make scrolls soon, Dave probably healing potions and perhaps scrolls too. But, they take time, which causes the Maintenance fees to come due. Choices and decisions.
You also should pay more attention to your beer supply and consumption. You didn't drink at all during the first expedition.