So, I recently got my hands on a copy of Diaspora, a game of hard, character-driven sci-fi using a version of Fate. It’s a lovely book; the cover’s gorgeous the size is exactly in my sweet spot, and of course I get a little thrill seeing something like this come out. When people come out with games like Diaspora, Awesome Adventures or Starblazers I take a little pride in the fact that these things have been born from the decision to open up Fate fully enough to let people take true ownership of it and create these projects.
Anyway, Diaspora’s pretty hot. Good tech rules, excellent setting design material, squad and social combat, and I’ll cheerfully admit that I think the explanations of some fate concepts (notably zones) are probably even clearer in Diaspora than they are in SOTC. If you’re curious, CW Richeson has written one of his (as usual) thorough reviews of the game, and Fred has also put in his two bits. It’s a good game, and I found it worth the price, but it’s also a starting point for something.
It’s always a little weird when you find someone else had a similar thought to you, and I had just that experience when I hit the section on “Scopes.” Scopes are basically categories of aspects – it might be personal, it might be on the scene, on the zone, on your enemy and so on. This is important because in Diaspora, you can only use one aspect per scope per roll. This is important because it puts a limit on the behavior of just using 4 or 5 aspects to make a phenomenal roll. This is an intentional part of SOTC – it’s in keeping with the high-action pulp tone of the game – but it doesn’t translate well to less cinematic genres.
Scopes are a really good idea, and a better name than “Categories”, which is what I called them, so right off the bat, consider the name stolen. It’s one of those small rule shifts that organically generates a very desirable outcome. See, one of the weaknesses of the SOTC maneuver system (which is how you put aspects on other people and things) is that characters have enough aspects that it’s very rare that they’ll run out of things they can use, so they have little incentive to make more. 
Scopes change that. Players want aspects in every scope possible because that optimizes the number of potential bonuses they can get. By maneuvering to change the situation – putting aspects on enemies, zones, scenes and the like – the players can try to put an aspect in every possible scope, and maximize their bonuses. That means that the cheesiest, most combat-monkey abusive thing you can do is to run around doing things that are cool, creative and more interesting than “I shoot him”. This is such a wonderful expression of the idea that the optimized way to play is also the most interesting that it nearly brings a tear to my eye.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Scope is a wonderful playground for a lot of other ideas, old and new. The idea of “Campaign aspects” has been around for a long time – aspects that are always around during the game, usually ones that reinforce genre – and it’s easy to add a “Campaign” scope and slap it into your game. Better yet, it means you could define the campaign in more than one aspect, and it doesn’t mechanically create any problems – the limits is still one per scope.
You want to introduce magical weapons without them getting out of hand? Bam, equipment scope. Simple as that.
You could even abstract the idea further, and change the categories from descriptive to conceptual: What if the scopes are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Void? Sure, this won’t work for every game, but for a version of Fireborn or L5R? You’d have to ask what those things mean, sure, but that makes them MORE useful. What if the magic of the universe means you can’t use Fire aspects in a situation where Water dominates? What if you can’t use earth and wind aspects in the same scene? What if your fire aspects grant a higher or lower bonus based upon how much fire chi you’re carrying? What if your magical powers depend upon whow your aspects are distributed within the scopes? 
I’m only scratching the surface here, but hopefully in doing so I reveal how robust the design space underneath is. Scopes are a fantastic addition to the toolbox, and I hope that anyone else looking to play around with the Fate toolset will give them a look-over and see if they might be just the thing needed to tighten that last screw.
1- I paid for it, so all’s good on that front.
2 – I’m assuming some familiarity with aspects and fate here, but if this is gibberish, here’s the shorthand – an aspect is a descriptor that can be applied to anything. A character might be “Strong”, a building might be “On Fire” and so on. You can use these descriptors for bonuses, or when they create problems for you, they can generate currency. For more detail, just check out Fate.
3 – Interestingly, original Fate addressed this problem differently. In core Fate, aspects dont’ grant +2, they let you turn one of the dice to a +. This usually was equivalent to a +2 (as you flipped a – to a +) but subsequent aspect use suffered from diminishing returns and capped out at +4, the best the dice could roll (though after that you could get a +1 per aspect).
4- The “free tag” rule (that the first user of a created aspect is free) was created to balance this out and give some incentive to maneuver, but it’s really only worth it when players are running low on points. This isn’t bad – it means desperate fights are more colorful – but it’s not ideal (especially since these new aspects rarely matter past their free tag).
5 – Just saying: Scopes + Keywords == Awesome.