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Thread: Worst Game System Ever / Least Favorite

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    Question Worst Game System Ever / Least Favorite

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    I know quite a few of this forums population have quite a wide range of experience with multiple game systems. I'm quite interested in finding out what your least favorite gaming systems are and why.

    For me it is MechWarrior RPG. The entire BattleTech product line was for wargaming. I was excited when I found out about MechWarrior RPG because I could really flesh out my mechwarrior characters and take the game to a whole new level. I was utterly disgusted to find out that this game was not intended for such roles. It was designed to allow RP in the universe of BattleTech and it actually states that this system was not created, nor is it ideal, for playing as your mechwarriors. Why in the hell is it called MechWarrior RPG then? WHY?!

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    Back in the day I probably played a couple of really bad RPGs I've blotted from my memory. However, the one that stands out as my least favorite is Champions/Hero System, even though I played in a number of Champions games.

    Curiously, I like GURPS and dislike Hero, which may strike some people as perverse or even blasphemous.

    • GURPS's sweet spot is for mere mortals, no matter how heroic, and they come out reasonably well. Every character in Hero that I've seen, even normals, spies, fantasy characters, and far-future people read more like low-powered superheroes with a theme. A few Murphy's Rules describe how "normal" people in Hero can take unrealistic amounts of punishment, including falling out of a three-story window without significant damage.
    • GURPS has only a few stats, and fairly minimal complication (at least after character generation). Every action that requires a dice-roll is essentially a skill roll, plus damage rolls for physical attacks; Hero (last I saw) had one 3d6 roll-under system for skills, and another Nd6 roll-over system for power use.
    • Disadvantages are really disadvantages, defined very precisely, and not hand-wavy "tragic flaws" the GM invokes only when he feels like it.
    • Advantages, disadvantages, and skills are mostly in plain English, and not some arcane superposition of powers in frameworks, with its own jargon. (Although, to be fair, GURPS 4th Edition added Enhancements and Limitations that almost work like Hero ... but at least they're stated as percentages, not parameters in an odd formula.)


    I'm not really a superhero fan, so perhaps that biases me even further against Hero.

    Having said that, except for truly pathological rules, having a good GM and a system suited to the type of game he runs often matters more than technical details of the system.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    Having said that, except for truly pathological rules, having a good GM and a system suited to the type of game he runs often matters more than technical details of the system.
    Well said. A talented DM can turn even the ugliest of systems into enjoyable fun. Memorable fun? Well that is another thing altogether

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    Basic Roleplaying: Chunky system that wants fine detail. Ironically it is a bad fit for CoC which is the prime user.

    Rifts:
    Great idea, lousy execution. It makes AD&D look elegant by comparison. They have a different mechanic for every little thing and they have a great many things.

    Traveler: "What do you mean I'm dead, we haven't finished rolling up the characters?" For that if nothing else. The GURPS version is a vast improvement.

    Tunnels & Trolls:
    One of the late 70s "This & That" games. Chosen because it really wanted to be D&D, but couldn't.

    Bunnies & Burrows:
    THE WHAT!? OK, Watership Down was a cool book, but really. Another "This & That" game jumping on the then new RPG market.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Traveler: "What do you mean I'm dead, we haven't finished rolling up the characters?" For that if nothing else. The GURPS version is a vast improvement.
    I'm surprised Traveler was up there. I thought that was one of the MONSTER FAMOUS category pen and papers like D&D, WOD, and Warhammer FRP/40K.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
    I'm surprised Traveler was up there. I thought that was one of the MONSTER FAMOUS category pen and papers like D&D, WOD, and Warhammer FRP/40K.
    You don't have to be good to be popular. Look at Windows.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
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    Wow, this list could easily become large

    I'll stick to mainstream games.

    I'd have to say the Palladium/Rifts system. If you're power-gamerz and gun-nutz, then these systems are the ones for you.

    Now, any time you mention these two things in a RPG discussion, Palladium and firearms, you are sure to start a flame war; and I did both in one sentence .

    It's not my intention to start a flame war on the merits/flaws of Palladium and the realistic portrayal of firearms in RPGs.

    All I am saying is that the Palladium game system is not my cup of tea. I find the system seriously out-dated and clunky. It has no rhyme or reason to me. The skill system is horrific and leveling is almost pointless. Don't even get me started on MDC weapons and armor. There is no balance between sourcebook. They are poorly edited and the information is buried in text.

    I feel the same way about GURPS and Hero as fmitchell. Character creation in Hero seems more complex to me than GURPS. Also, supers is the least favorite genre for me.

    I agree with tersal about Rifts: great ideas, craptastic systems.

    I completely disagree with tersal about Basic Role-Playing. I played RuneQuest III for many years. I also ran a very successful Elfquest game for a year or so. The issue with Basic Role-playing has to more with the fact that Chaosium Inc. had never codified our unified the system until the new edition of BRP, which is scheduled to come out this month or next month. The Zero Edition Advanced Readers Copy is out, and I have a copy.

    I agree with tersal on the other systems he noted.

    However the worst system that stands out in my mind (at the moment ) is for a game called Time and Time Again. In my mind, this game is similiar to Palladium/Rifts: damn great concept and setting with lousy game mechanics. It is a time travel RPG. I really like the science behind time travel in this game, and I like the concept that that time travelers belong to a paramilitary organization based of the French Foreign Legion. If you are into time travel theories, then this is the game for you. However, the game system was ridiculous. It was based of a d200 roll. It was seriously wackado in that regard. I ignored the game system and created a BRP/RQ and GURPS version of this game genre and campaign which was successful while weew played them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    You don't have to be good to be popular. Look at Windows.

    hehe...ROFL...well said, Sir!

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    D20: less role playing , too much roll playing. Half the feats should be skills, no real armor rules that govern the armors capability to be destroyed or damaged beyond repair, Spell and forget never made sense, spending tons XP to make magic items does not make sense when time and materials will cost you enough, lacking in skill selection, most Xp gained is through combat only which does not support a role playing game, but only a combat/wargame. I'm sure theres more, but i have hopefully forgotten it.

    Hero System: shouldn't need a calculator to play a game. combat takes to long.

    most WoD: with all the powerful monstrous creatures running around why is the human race still alive. Especially when the player characters are powerful monsters who are weak in comparison to the opposition. Plus the new Mage book is a pain to read with all the glossy gold and silver writing.

    Fudge/Fate: over complected looking with all the skill trees. Plus lacks durability since half the system is pick and choose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drohem View Post
    It's not my intention to start a flame war on the merits/flaws of Palladium and the realistic portrayal of firearms in RPGs.
    check out Fireborn by fantasy flight games. Here the firearms are more realistic and can kill possibly in one shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drohem View Post
    All I am saying is that the Palladium game system is not my cup of tea. I find the system seriously out-dated and clunky. It has no rhyme or reason to me. The skill system is horrific and leveling is almost pointless. Don't even get me started on MDC weapons and armor. There is no balance between sourcebook. They are poorly edited and the information is buried in text.
    You should at least check out the 2nd edition of Beyond the Supernatural. Its had a fully loaded overhaul done to it and looks completely different than any of their other games.

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    Lots of good information here. Anybody have any comments about the Star Fleet Battles game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jade von delioch View Post
    check out Fireborn by fantasy flight games. Here the firearms are more realistic and can kill possibly in one shot.



    You should at least check out the 2nd edition of Beyond the Supernatural. Its had a fully loaded overhaul done to it and looks completely different than any of their other games.

    Fireborn, isn't that game where you play dragons? I've vaguely heard of this game.

    I like Nightbane a lot

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    Quote Originally Posted by jade von delioch View Post
    D20: less role playing , too much roll playing. Half the feats should be skills, no real armor rules that govern the armors capability to be destroyed or damaged beyond repair, Spell and forget never made sense, spending tons XP to make magic items does not make sense when time and materials will cost you enough, lacking in skill selection, most Xp gained is through combat only which does not support a role playing game, but only a combat/wargame. I'm sure theres more, but i have hopefully forgotten it.

    Hero System: shouldn't need a calculator to play a game. combat takes to long.

    most WoD: with all the powerful monstrous creatures running around why is the human race still alive. Especially when the player characters are powerful monsters who are weak in comparison to the opposition. Plus the new Mage book is a pain to read with all the glossy gold and silver writing.

    Fudge/Fate: over complected looking with all the skill trees. Plus lacks durability since half the system is pick and choose.
    All vaild points

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    Fireborn is the game where you play the reincarnated souls of dragons who have be reborn as men in the modern days. You discover who you were once because magic is slowly returning to the world which is waking up all mythic creatures. You also learn about your past life by way of flashbacks to the mythic age which the players play out as there true dragon selves. Very kool game but Fantasy flight games never promotes any of their games and since no one would buy something that they had no idea about it never went anywhere. but theres a whole community that still makes stuff for it with the help of one of the original designers.

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    I will respectfully disagree on Fudge/FATE and BRP.

    Fudge and FATE were always "game construction kits" rather than polished games; that might be offputting to sum, but I like tinkering. Also, FATE is evolving. Spirit of the Century, which I listed as my favorite in the other thread, is an example of the simplicity and elegance of FATE when applied to a particular genre and play style. Hopefully we'll see the [I]Dresden Files[I] RPG soon for a grittier version of FATE, and eventually a "universal" FATE.

    BRP isn't a favorite game system, but it's a nice generic alternative, and all the fiddly combat rules from RuneQuest have dropped by the wayside. It's still not as "narrativist" as I'd like, but with the right tweaks it's another system that gets out of your way.

    BTW, "Star Fleet Battles", last I saw, was purely a war game, and an extremely complex one to boot. In high school a friend and I once played a battle between two ships, just to get the feel for the rules; two hours and six rounds later, we'd barely dented each others' shields. Maybe subsequent editions streamlined the rules; I hope so.

    There's "Prime Directive", an RPG based in the SFB universe; currently there are GURPS and d20 versions, with the advantages and disadvantages of each. (Actually I haven't seen the d20 version; hopefully it's an improvement over d20 Modern.)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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