Here's my entry, written over lunch while thinking about how much I enjoy Tsuro, which is kind of the opposite of this challenge.
BUMPER CAR DERBY
Theme: Four bumper cars going from the start to the end. Easy, right? Well they are bumper cars.
Goal: Make it 15 spaces on a board that is built with square tiles as you race. Each tile represents your path.
Draw until you have three tiles in your hand. The face of these tiles are hidden from view of the other players.
Lay one tile so that your token (bumper car) is moved along the path. Each tile has multiple paths and can be placed in any configuration. You must lay the tile so that one side lines up exactly to the tile next to it.
If the tile puts you on the path of another player's car, you have run into them and sent them spinning. Move their car onto a different path on their tile and then follow it to the end of that path. This is where they end up. Do the same for your car.
If any bumper car runs into another bumper car, you get to pick the paths the new cars end on until all cars stop moving at the end of a path.
If a car ends up back at the start line, they can place a new tile next to any existing tile at the start and try to catch up.
The first car over the finish line, after the track is 15 tiles long, they win.
As long as the tiles are well designed, the players will weave and exchange positions, allowing someone who can follow all the existing paths to see the best way to get to the finish. As the track gets laid out, other paths will become available so that someone kicked back to the start can jump forward on existing tiles. Bumping someone off their current path should throw them back several tiles, or may put them in the way of another player, or may force them to place a tile sideways delaying their forward momentum.
Stupid bumper cars.
Each tile side should have 2-3 paths available with many ways to cross paths and a few, but not overwhelming number, of turns.
I'm obviously a big fan of M&M. I especially enjoy M&M 3E. That said the system is not without its flaws. The biggest of which also doubles as its greatest strength, the idea of Power Levels.
In theory 2 characters that are PL 10 should be equal to each other. In practice that's not necessarily the case. First, you have the overall PL of 10 which means you have 150 points to spend. You have to check their offensive PLs (Attack Bonus + Damage = 20) and their defensive PLs (Dodge/Parry + Toughness = 20). So you could potentially have 3 different PLs for combat purposes which are only connected to the overall character PL by a sense of what that character SHOULD have. I ran a TT game where we set the PP at PL 8 (120 PP) but allowed for up to PL 10 combat PLs for an X-Men type level game.
If that's not confusing enough you then have to deal with artificial PL inflating (my concept doesn't really call for me to have a Will save this high but for PL purposes I'm going to dump a bunch of points into it...) and powers/abilities that exist outside the PL framework such as teleportation or flight.
I'm sure this is a problem that exists for all point based character generation systems. I'm sure 2 characters made of the same number of points in GURPS or HERO are not necessarily equal across the board. At least M&M gives you defined measuring systems to know where you stand compared to other people of comparable levels. I just think the system could do a better job of letting you know what those levels are. Treat each section as a dial that can be set. How many points can be spent, Offensive PL, Defensive PL, Skill PL, etc.
What's a Clone High game?
What you need to know is that the show launched the careers of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who later did this little piece of shit:
To give a more thorough response, I feel like it really depends. Clearly some people here have been burned and are responding to that and i get it, but I think any people who pair up whether they are roomates or irl best buddies or just online pals who game together often and like to go into MU*es with paired concepts and then run wild can either be fun or a problem. The issue is often how much OOC info is shared, and how much of the game is 'played' OOC vs IC, and I don't think that has much to do with who is a couple real life or not.
My husband and I play on MU*es together sometime, though he is a far more casual player than I. He and I also both come from a MUD background and he is slower to move on to the MUSH culture of sharing -anything- OOC, even the stuff that everybody shares, so for us it really isn't a problem. He gets PISSED at me when I try to discuss with him even the most benign details of game plots or plans or ideas for doing something cool OOC. I can't even tell him funny stories that have nothing to do with anything if they happened on the game and are "IC Information' as he dubs it. We have in the past played against each other and enjoyed the heck out of it, and also sometimes play on the same 'team' with some kind of connection or other. It really ends up being no big deal, no more influential than playing with a friend who I have never met.
Relationship RP with other people when we play is no big deal either, unless the other party (the text one) gets weird in some fashion, like there was a time some girl his character was in a relationship with yelled at him because he wasn't online when he said he would be to rp relationship fun with her because he'd spontaneously decided to take his in the flesh wife on a date. That kind of fluke aside, it's been pretty easy though.
If people are going to be weird, I think it doesn't matter what their relationship to one another is. They'll be jerks anyhow.
To elaborate a bit more, If a character opts to use the Hold Maneuver in a grapple, both characters lose their defense. While not entirely unclear, I don't personally believe that someone under the effect of Hold would be subject to a killing blow; it takes more than a lack of Defense for that. However, from a Hold one can apply the Restrain Maneuver, which may be enough.
It is literally derived from their Rail Wars wargame. They produced that and Deadlands, and the wargame version won out. Would it feel better to call it a skirmish game?
Most RPG rules hold their basic form based on their descent from wargames. The most famous would probably be Blackmoor which gave personalities and goals other than win this battle to a wargame, and inspired Dungeons & Dragons.
A few examples of games moving away from that would be Burning Wheel/Burning Empires, the Apocalypse Engine, FATE, and more free narrative oriented systems like Don't Rest Your Head, The Solar System.
It's never about what you resolve, unless you can only resolve combat I suppose, it's about how you go about it.
And yes, I agree with you @ThatGuyThere. It fails to be engaging as a roleplaying game, nor striking as a wargame. Malifaux and other skirmish games do better because they know the game mechanics and how you go about resolving things is the game play and has to be engaging. Savage Worlds relies on the strengths of any roleplaying group to make their generic system fly.
tldr; My criticism is that as a system it aims at the personal engagement level of a skirmishing game. That it is not great as a skirmish game only makes it worse.
I got into MUSHing in 2006. I was aware of MUSHes prior to that, but didn't know much about them (I only got internets in 2000). A dude by the name of Dredclaw (dredclaw-2k5 on Deviantart) who I got to be friends with eventually invited me onto Transformers 2005 MUSH, and I joined that June.
I too have tried spawns. For whatever reason, my brain just cannot seem to attend to them. I'm not sure why. (This may be why I also struggle with/rarely try to multiscene unless one person truly doesn't mind prompting me and/or wants a very very very slooooooooooooooooooow scene. I do have some favorite people who due to work/otherstuff pose in the 30-40+ minute range). Someone was very super sweet and walked me through setting up spawns on potato and it was a disaster because I totally lost channels and ooc communication for the night.
Maybe this is an acquired taste thing though, and if I trained myself to "see" it better it would be helpful. In theory I love the idea. In practice I think my brain is scattered enough that separating things out futher just isn't helpful to me. I do however really love and make use of name/phrase highlighting.
This is also the reason that I don't use them. For some reason, I just work better with a thousand different things in front of me all sort of cluttered into one monstrous pile that my brain somehow parses into something elegant and beautiful. I didn't even use spawns when staffing, but I think the two-windows thing helped to at least keep that somewhat organized.
For instance, when researching, I will never have just one book open at a time. I will have like, eighteen, all stacked on the desk (probably open), working my way through the threads of the thing I'm following. I couldn't do it one book at a time, like some of my friends. They like, have all their shit on the shelf and just go to it when they need it.
How does that even work?
Edit because Mietze is not Ganymede, and for some reason I thought I quoted Gany.
I tend to agree with that Staff should always enforce theme, but I've always been on the theme-strict side of the equation. In fact, I can recognize that my theme-strictness as Staff has helped cause the dwindling or death of a couple of games in the past (Dark Times and The Fifth World if anyone's curious).
There is definitely such a thing as holding on to theme too tight, and not letting players push the boundaries. That much I have learned. Players don't like to be constrained, or told that they're wrongfunning. It tends to make them less likely to try to be proactive in the future. And proactive (non-idiot) players are a treasure.
On the other hand, you need some way to gently nudge people back into theme when they go haring off into some wild-eyed version of what they want to do.
Say they're in the early Dark Times and they want to steal a full-stocked Imperial-class Star Destroyer from its crew with a half-dozen non-Force Sensitives by shooting their way to the bridge, and then go marauding around blowing up Imperial bases. If this is a good player and you want to guide them into a way to pull something like that off, maybe run a planning scene that a Staffer attends as an ex-Imperial Navy officer, where you can guide them into something a little less insane (pick a Victory-class or a frigate instead of an ISD, arrange for the Stormtroopers and Naval Troopers to be dropped planet-side for some purpose, suborn the Captain to relay your orders to the remaining crew, etc).
I've become a big fan of "No, but" and "Yes, if" for enforcing theme. Either the general goal works, but the plan needs some changing, or the plan works, but the goals need to be shifted, or something like that. Even if you're shutting down part of the player's idea (or even most of it), there definitely still has to be something that you can encourage them with. This is, of course, barring people drinking Coca-Cola in ancient Egypt or flirting with the Prince at Court in your Crinos form and expecting hit to flirt back.
On original theme games, this becomes even trickier, because you have to be able to express the theme clearly, lead players to the expression of that theme, and guide their exuberance for exploring that theme. To use an example from The Fifth World, when players started talking about using a weapon of mass destruction on the Hostiles (invaders from another world within the planetary system), I pretty much just straight-up shot them down on OOC channels. I clearly shouldn't have done it, despite our emphasis on a blending of fantasy and sci-fi, rather than straight-up sci-fi. It drove off a couple of players and made several others grumbly for a while. Looking back, I would have very much preferred to see how they were thinking about using the WMDs, how it could build RP rather than shutting down the war, and if there was a plotline to develop that made sense within the theme. Channeling the enthusiasm while retaining theme.
Depends on if it's combat or not. If it's not combat, I generally go with Rule of 3. Three poses after yours, you can go again so long as it's not an action pose, this is pure social because large scenes tend to devolve into circles responding to each other anyways since 10 people rarely have a conversation. It's one person talking, 3 people listening, 3 other people talking about something else, and a pair of people mocking everyone.
For combat scenes I have the five minute rule. Pre-type your actions so that you can declare easy and roll then pose the attempt/effect whatever.
It's still a long thing depending on how many npc's there are and whatnot but that's what I do.
@AmishRakeFight I think the problem most games come across with PvP is that they lack mechanics for alternate conflict resolution, let alone incentives for them. On RfK there were both, which is why I think it worked so well. You had boons as a way of settling matters and backing off, or by way of making a loss or a win mean something, and proxies in the form of actual territories/influences you could attack instead of blowing the person up. Then you had further incentives to avoid killing anyone because it was against City law. Vampires being vampires (with all manner of ways to ferret out a secret), and players being players (mostly incapable of keeping secrets, IC or OOC), if you did do a PK you'd probably lose the character.
Sandboxes are ruled by combat thugs because inevitably all conflict boils down to a question of if you can PK the other, and the only consequences come from the possibility of some buddies seeking revenge.