I know Bill’s already done some stuff on this, but it’s an interesting question and I figured I’d bring it here and see what other folks have to say. From the original tweet:
Name one ttrpg you love because of the system.
Name one you love in spite of the system.
Name one you love for inexplicable reasons.
Name one you love because of the setting.
Name one on you love because it invokes high nostalgia.
Because of the system: Masks. While in no way perfect, I do still love how the mechanics reinforce the core premise of the game so well. And this sort of goes for all well crafted PbtA game. Ironsworn may topple this in 2020 though as I continue playing.
In spite of the system: Shadowrun. I love cyberpunk and I love weird fantasy, so when you mush them together they create this great Reeses effect. But the system (every version) is hot garbage and the way the creators have treated their “fantasy races stand in for ethnic groups so we can clumsily talk about racism” theme has been dodgy at best.
For inexplicable reasons: Ars Magica. It’s not totally inexplicable though. I love crafting systems and anything that gives you ways to measure projects over weeks and months. It’s why the only Dungeons and Dragons supplement I bought this year had the tagline “book of domestic magic.” And Ars Magica gives you that and applies it to everything. Want to read a book this season? Cool, here’s the rules and what you get out of it based on the quality of the book. Want to have some tiled flooring installed into your lab for aesthetic purposes (which are also mechanical purposes)? Cool, here’s what you need to do or pay some laborers to do it for you. Find me a game that does that and I’m hooked.
For the setting: Got to agree with Bill, Exalted has an amazing setting that has everything I could want out of a high fantasy game. The system is just… well, I’ll go get the initiative chart.
For nostalgia: Warhammer Fantasy, specifically second edition. I’ve probably played more Warhammer Fantasy than any other game other than D&D and maybe Shadowrun. I doesn’t help help that the longest ongoing game I ever played in (1.5 years, 6 hour sessions weekly) was in Warhammer 2nd edition and took us all across the Old World and beyond. Mentally, I still compare every new ongoing game I play against that game (good news, the Menagerie campaign ranks right up along side it).
So how about everyone else?