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What is the least playable RPG?

Civil Savage

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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.
As people have said before "unplayable" may be too far, but the thread is "least playable." And I think we can agree there is a spectrum there. A game that's missing key rules is less playable than one that's complete.

But to me, for something to make it on the "least playable" list, it's not enough that I can't find the value or whatever. Trying to learn all the rules for Burning Wheel overwhelmed me - but I wouldn't nominate it as one of the least playable. Plenty of people play it. It's just not for me.

But some of the games mentioned in this thread, due to missing chunks or extreme complexity, those are going to have low playability for a lot of people.
 

manwhat

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Exactly. A game that you can't figure out how to play by the rules, but that many other people can, is a deficiency in you (especially if there's youtube APs and tutorials out there). A game that most people can't figure out how to play by the rules is a deficiency in the game.

And there's also the middle ground, where e.g. I'm pretty sure that, given the time and a reason, I probably could work out how to play, but am pretty sure I won't. Synnibar is a totally playable game, as I understand it, it's just crazy. I would assume likewise for anything Palladium.
 

Maggadh

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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.
Which is a fair opinion, but would make for a much shorter thread ;)
 

Oldehouserules

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Role Master (who even wants to drill down that far) and The Highest level of All Fantasy Wargaming (clunky and poorly explained).
 

SuStel

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The Highest level of All Fantasy Wargaming (clunky and poorly explained).
There's another "have you actually tried?" I agree that it's poorly explained, but if you can figure it out it's not actually all that bad. I have played a tiny bit of it, and I've written up some pages to simplify some of the explanations. It's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but given a better explanation of the rules I'm sure most people could play it just fine.
 

Wil

Rivetgeek
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Aria.
I’ve never even seen anybody claim to have played it which is where it beats Alpha Omega, which I have seen people claim to play and even enjoy.
I've played it. It was shortlived, and it was definitely a teeth-gnashing experience, but we gave it a whirl. I still use bits and pieces such as the "Omnessence Origins" to help me nail things like magic down, but otherwise it is on the top of my list of least playable games.

Also, I played in a Living Steel con-game with the designers and it was smooth. Like super fast. We were never able to get it to work that great, so it got abandoned quickly as well.
 

Cerulean Lion

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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.
That might still make it "the least playable game I know" at least from my POV..
 

SuStel

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That might still make it "the least playable game I know" at least from my POV..
Yes, but the topic was pitched with a certain universal objectivity. The question wasn't "What is the RPG you've found to be the least playable?" but "What is the least playable RPG?"
 

Angel of the Dawn

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I don't think you're going to find anything like "universal objectivity", here. We don't have any widely accepted metric by which we can measure playability. People's experiences and opinions are going to be all over the place.

We can point at really crunchy systems as hard, but there are people that have an easier time with Aftermath! than "looser" systems that rely on hand-waving and interpretation. We can say incomplete rule sets are difficult, but apparently there are people that don't find much issue with even that. You have guys like me, where I like FATE conceptually more than Pathfinder, but I understand Pathfinder more easily than FATE because of my D&D background. We can look at trends, like "10 out of 14 people that have weighed in say that Fatefinder is hard to play," but small sample sizes mean we're not getting anything like an objective standard there either. And this doesn't even touch intangibles like gaming backgrounds, skilled or bad GMs, how rules are described in their books, etc.

So yeah, it's all people's experiences and opinions, and those are going to be really different. That's part of the fun of these discussions. 🙂 So I don't understand the expectation of objectivity, here.
 
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