#RPGaDay: Favorite Game System

18. Favorite Game System. Unfair! Too hard to answer.

While I have long been a story-over-mechanics guy, there was a time when I admired nothing better than an elegant die mechanic. West End’s Star Wars, FASA’s Shadowrun, Mike Nystul’s Whispering Vault, and lesser-known games like Don’t Look Back: Terror Is Never Far Behind impressed me as much with their rules as with their settings—although in most cases, I liked both. I could make a long list before coming close to a true favorite.

Another stand-out is Call of Cthulhu, which I initially dismissed because of my loathing for d% systems. Once I looked at it, however, the simple beauty of the insanity/mythos mechanic won me over.

Of course, as my first and most-often-played game, D&D has long held a special place in my heart, even for its hoary mechanics. I even liked many of the innovations of the reviled 4th Edition, but I agree with the many who felt they began to fail after the lowest levels of play.

With that in mind, my choice will be the Star Wars Saga edition, which married the virtues of 3rd Edition with a few of the best elements of the then-nascent 4th Edition. I make this choice with a certain amount of practical ignorance, for while I’ve read a great deal of the Saga material, I’ve yet to run a campaign.

3 thoughts on “#RPGaDay: Favorite Game System

  1. Have you played Trail of Cthulhu? Kenneth Hite really got the sanity loss mechanism to carry over well.

    I have played the F20 version of Star Wars and my only complaint is that by having classes, you force the players into archetypes. The fun of the d6 Star Wars was that you didn’t have archetypes and it was easier to make something unique in that wonderful universe.

  2. I’m a simulationist. I can’t separate story from mechanics. The rules of the world create story for me.

    I used to like GURPS and have a love-hate relationship with D&D. But once I finally created a mechanic that made D&D make sense to me, I find myself pretty interested in the stories it tells.

  3. SW: SAGA Rules is what 4E should have been. One of the best elements of 4E was the ability to choose a class ability that was not necessarily tied to a particular level of character class. This promoted differences between characters of the same class flexibility has been incorporated in to Pathfinder’s design through classes and implementation in Archetypes. However, it also promotes “class dipping” and “system mastery” which players who dislike 3.xx/PF tend to disdain.

    My favorite elements of SAGA is the critical system which included the Condition Track (a simple and extremely useful universal game mechanic to track serious damage on both individuals and vehicles) and the Crew System on board a ship which gave every PC something to do. Sadly, these mechanics have not been adopted by other game system. They should be.

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