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What is the least playable RPG?

Willy Elektrix

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Among actually supported games it's RIFTs . Completely unreadable combat rules scattered in character creation, total nonsense class options ranging from hobo to Fin Fang Foom. Entire sourcebooks, NPCs, based off random commissioned concept art. 99% of weapons and armor are completely obsoleted by a class that gifts you a god suit of armor. Random snake oil sales pitches from Palladiums owner who randomly talks at the reader and uses weird punctuation. Books laid out like they used glue and scissors.

Among obscure games it's gotta be Synnibar.
I just wanted to say that I love these two games and neither are unplayable, but they definitely could both be mentioned in the same post. =)

No one mentioned Senzar yet, so I'll bring it up. The rules make sense I guess, but the only published book is basically only rules for making characters and has no tools for the GM.
 

Cerulean Lion

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I have never actually read a copy of Spawn of Fashan, but from what I've heard about it, it's at least in the running.
 

Capellan

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I have never actually read a copy of Spawn of Fashan, but from what I've heard about it, it's at least in the running.
Fashan's unplayable as written but it's not actually supposed to be played as is. It's intended as a tool kit for creating a game rather than a ready to run game in its own right.

(It's bad even at its intended purpose though)
 

SuStel

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I have this book... I still to this try and figure out how in the world anybody could run that with more than one person as a player. Really... it's just... amazing concept but couldn't be played.
I've played and run lots of games of Continuum. It's quite playable. You have to think of time as just another direction: my bedroom in 2019 is a different place than my bedroom in 2018.

Give all players equal attention by compressing any task into actions rather than actual time taken.

GM: Okay, Player 1 and Player 2, what do you do?

Player 1: I need to search through the public library newspaper archives for any evidence of the bad guy.

GM: Okay, you spend five days searching the archives. You find that the guy was in the local Burger King on April 1. You span back to the meeting. Player 2, what do you do?
 

Maggadh

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Traveller 4th Ed for me. I’d heard so many awesome things about Traveller in my life, that version had gotten rave reviews in Arcane magazine, so I was buzzed to get my hands on it.

I spent days at it, trying to figure out what was going on with starships. There was no internet connection back then to tell me that there were literally bits missing. I just assumed I was doing something wrong.

It wasn’t helped by making it virtually background-less, but still making references to the Imperium in things like the sample adventures, and I didn’t know what that was. I honestly read it over and over and had no idea what to do with the game even if I could figure the mechanics out.
 

Maggadh

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Well, if lack of rules for using powers makes a superhero RPG unplayable, that would include Masks :) (which, mind you, I personally would agree - that Masks are unplayable just like any other PbtA - but that isn't a position if likely to find support here)
I kinda have this approach too - I’ve never played a PbtA game, which doesn’t help, but anytime I’ve read any game I just can’t figure out what to do with it that I couldn’t do better with a ‘regular’ game. I do admit that if I actually sat down and played it with someone who knew what they were doing I might feel very differently though.
 

Civil Savage

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I kinda have this approach too - I’ve never played a PbtA game, which doesn’t help, but anytime I’ve read any game I just can’t figure out what to do with it that I couldn’t do better with a ‘regular’ game. I do admit that if I actually sat down and played it with someone who knew what they were doing I might feel very differently though.
This isn't my preferred game style = / = unplayable.
 

Maggadh

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This isn't my preferred game style = / = unplayable.
But “I can’t play this” does. And every time I read a PbtA book, I just know that if I sat down to run it I’d wind up scrapping it, i.e. I wouldn’t be able to play it.

This is, of course, all IMHO. I know lots of people love it, and more power to them.

Of course, I also view Pendragon as unplayable as - IMHO! - every single session I’ve sat through has been an uphill struggle against mechanics and/or theme.
 

SuStel

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This isn't my preferred game style = / = unplayable.
But “I can’t play this” does. And every time I read a PbtA book, I just know that if I sat down to run it I’d wind up scrapping it, i.e. I wouldn’t be able to play it.
I'm pretty sure the topic is supposed to be games that are somewhat objectively unplayable, not games that are unplayable by the original poster. Otherwise it's just a topic about what games did people give up on.

I don't believe in unplayable games. Provided the thing is a game by some measure, someone can play it. You might not like it, and you may fail to learn to play it, but that says something about you, not the game.
 
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