Those of us who play pen and paper RPGs may play many games but we have our favorites. One system/company/ or title that we have strong attachments to whether from nostalgia or because we have played it for years. These games are like an old comfortable pair of shoes, you know their strengths and their weaknesses and how to walk around in them without tripping. However, what happens when no one plays them anymore? Or when the game changes so you are no longer so comfortable with them? To use the shoe metaphor again, your pair of lucky sneakers finally becomes unwearable and you go to the shoe store only to find out they don’t make that shoe anymore. You can’t go around without shoes so you have to find a new pair that will fit well. This takes time and money, in some cases lots of money.
I had two games that I was comfortable with. 2 Ed. AD&D, and R. Talisorians’ Cyberpunk 2020. Both games radically altered their rules and “settings”. I am not saying this is a bad thing here, just that they are no longer recognizable to me in terms of what I worked so hard at mastering.
I would like to say here that learning a game and mastering it are different animals. I can run a good number of games and have no trouble picking up a new system in a couple of weeks, but for the system and setting to become a comfy pair of shoes takes actual play time. Players need to be put through their paces, to run into all potential snags and hiccups along the way. When you can have players call you up, inform you that they have all gathered somewhere, and need you to show up and run something…. and you can without breaking out in anxiety hives, then you have mastered the game.
These aren’t the only games I am able to run or play, but I find myself wishing one of the two was a game that didn’t radically alter the core rules. Maybe GURPS, or Palladium. Trouble is when you have a full time job and a family you don’t have a lot of the freedoms you used to (not to mention lacking disposable income). So either it takes more time to reach the comfy sneaker point, you need a less rules heavy game, or you keep on beating up your comfy sneakers until you look like a Hobo (no offense to Hobos intended). However there will come a point when all the shoe glue in the world won’t stop your players from wrinkling their noses at your old stinky high-tops.
Maybe you have a different experience, or an alternate view point on this. So, what’s your game? Chuck Taylors or Reeboks?