1 Light rules vs Crunchy rules - For purposes of this conversation, I am considering the level of crunch to equate almost entirely to handling time (i.e., how long it takes to resolve an action/conflict). Through all the games I played, I figured out I did not like ultra-lite games (nearing freeform RPGs) and I did not like ultra-crunch games (Champions and the like). But there are games that I absolutely love. The Wing Commander video game series taught me I would put up with anything if the story was good enough (for me that game was really hard to play, but I wouldn't give up, because I wanted to know what happened next in the story). But story wasn't everything, I did not like super light rules, nor did I particularly enjoy collaborative story telling (e.g., freeform RPGs). I like playing the game as well. An example of this was Basic D&D, played without minis and maps, there was not a lot of game there. You rolled to hit, you rolled damage, kept doing that to until someone ran out of HPs. So I have figured out what I like:
a. GM tools are well-developed and provide for creative use and interpretation,
b. Player input into the game and story is meaningful and allows for creativity as well as impactful decision making.
c. Collaborative story telling, no one person dominates what happens to the characters and the events as they unfold.
d. Rues/Mechanics with enough tactical depth to challenge my mastery as a player (Dogs in the Vineyard is a good exampled. The dice play is not mindless, but it does not stop the story until it is resolved).
And that is what I strive for in my designs. I want to make a game with a setting and in-world events that inspires the players to action. The setting should be rich enough that players want to take their favorite system and port the setting to that system. But, the game must be fun enough that you would want to play it even if there was no story at all. I feel like I have achieved that with Steampunk Crescendo and City in Darkness. Some of my other Game Chef entries and early attempts at design are close, but not quite on the mark.