Systems You Left after One Bad Experience

Well for us it only happened with D&D 4e... we tried one short adventure, but the system didn't really work for us for multiple reasons: the combat phase of the game was the worst, with too much emphasis on the grid, too slow, too rigid, and with an overall wrong feeling. We forced ourselves into a second evening to see if maybe the first session was a false alarm, but at the end we just had to drop it.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Well for us it only happened with D&D 4e... we tried one short adventure, but the system didn't really work for us for multiple reasons: the combat phase of the game was the worst, with too much emphasis on the grid, too slow, too rigid, and with an overall wrong feeling. We forced ourselves into a second evening to see if maybe the first session was a false alarm, but at the end we just had to drop it.
We tried for maybe a dozen sessions. The game part of combat was fun but the role-playing part suffered.

We like to play optimally, and not just wing it. 4E is hell on players with a tendency for analysis paralysis. Plus, the combat experience felt entirely disassociated from playing a character.

And perhaps most importantly, we want challenge. Setting up a battleboard and spending three quarters of an hour on a battle that is definitely won even before we begin feels like a waste. So our battles were exciting, difficult and rewarding.

But they took three or four hours.

A session felt like a few minutes of story, four hours of boardgaming, and then a few minutes of story at the end.

So we just had to stop, exhausted. Session after session, the storyline just crawled forward.

End conclusion: 4E is ultimately broken in that you need to make combats easy enough to be short enough, but that makes the activity pointless.

3E and 5E doesn't have this issue to nearly the same extent and works MUCH better for us.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Numenera
A nano with literally one usable power and one skill? Damage mechanics that unfairly punish other classes? No wonder this lasted one session.
You build your character. If that's what the player chose, then that's what they get. Numenera 2 does expand things a bit. But skills aren't as important for Numenera IME.

FATE Accelerated. Ran as a one-shot at work; thought the system would be open and fun, ended up with players trying to come up with increasingly ludicrous reasons to apply their favored approach, an ultimately annoying metagame that the rules seemed to encourage. I might still try FATE itself at some point, but I'm a hard pass on FAE.
Have your players describe what they are doing, and then say, "It sounds like you are trying X approach." Or even raise the difficulty if they are trying to use certain approaches for a task.

End conclusion: 4E is ultimately broken in that you need to make combats easy enough to be short enough, but that makes the activity pointless.
That's an unsubstantiated leap.
 

zztong

Explorer
Space Opera: I really tried, but ultimately it seemed unplayable as written. Never could actually get a group through character generation & start playing.
I've played that one several times back in the 1980's. I recall having had a good time, but that could have been the DM despite the system. Today, I couldn't tell you anything about the system. It wouldn't surprise me if it were a complex system.
 

zztong

Explorer
> Systems You Left after One Bad Experience

D&D 4e, Savage Worlds, Deadlands and Exhaulted -- I knew I would never run those games after I played them. In each case I played them for an entire campaign, not just one session. While the adventures were cool, I didn't care for the systems.

Firefly RPG -- I knew I would never run it after reading the rules. They were too similar to Savage Worlds.

PF2 and Starfinder -- It is perhaps too early to say, but if it turns out like the PF2 Playtest, I won't be running it. It might be mathematically balanced but I loath character generation. Its not too complex; its uninspired and the choices are often pointless. Because the PF2 rules were apparently based on Starfinder, I don't even want to try Starfinder.

HERO Fuzion -- I had forgotten all about this system. When it came out my local crowd was firmly hooked on the Hero System and didn't see a reason for HERO Fuzion. We participated in some of the early testing and had a sort-of "meh" reaction.

Call of Cthulhu and World of Darkness -- These are passable systems, but not genres that I like. I've played both, but wouldn't run them.

7th Sea -- I sat in on a game and watched folks play it. I was hoping for historical; I saw ludicrous.
 
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Len

Prodigal Member
Because the PF2 rules were apparently based on Starfinder, I don't even want to try Starfinder.
Really? I've played Starfinder, and it's a modification of PF1. It seems very different from what I've seen of PF2.
 

zztong

Explorer
Really? I've played Starfinder, and it's a modification of PF1. It seems very different from what I've seen of PF2.
Good to know. If the opportunity presents itself, I'll probably try it. I still might not be into it since I like more Science in my science fiction, but that isn't a deal-breaker.
 

ART!

Explorer
Numenera. My reaction after two sessions was "sure, you could design a system like this, but...why?" ;)
 

Staffan

Adventurer
It's an intermediate step. Starfinder is to PF2, what Book of 9 Swords is to 4E.
I think a better comparison is Star Wars Saga. SW Saga was fundamentally a 3e-based game (though more akin to d20 Modern than D&D), but it served as a test bed for some of the concepts that later showed up in 4e (mainly every offensive thing being an attack roll instead of a save, and broad level-based skill competence with training giving a bonus on top). Similarly, Starfinder is primarliy PF1-based, but a few concepts that also show up in PF2 show up there.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
On the main topic of the thread, I can't recall any games we've nixed after a single session. Either we've been able to winnow them out before even playing, or we've played at least a few sessions of it.

We abandoned Starfinder after playing The Reach of Empire, the first part of Against the Aeon Throne. That could have been the adventure design though, combined with bad luck (at the end of the adventure, the PCs were defeated by an equal-tier ship with crew better suited to space combat, and we didn't think it worth to make new characters for the next part). But I got a strong feeling of Starfinder having the same problem as Pathfinder - sure, you can make any character you want, but you really need to min-max in order to be even vaguely competent.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
4E D&D. Took 90 minutes to get started and I had borrowed a PC. Then took an hour for the first combat. Boy those players were a bunch of "losers."
Note. I now play 5E D&D regularly with three of the "losers."
 

Staffan

Adventurer
4e comes pretty close. I can't recall if my main gaming group abandoned it after one or two sessions, but it was pretty quick. A while later some of us made another attempt, thinking it might work better if we start a few levels in, but no.

I think there might be a good game in there, but you can't play it like traditional dungeoneering D&D. You kind of need to treat each fight as a spectacle, and that drags things out and gets tired after a while.
 
Palladium's Ninja's and Superspies. Didn't last hardly past character creation. It took all night and my dedicated martial artist had a character sheet 3 pages long from all the styles and moves. I don't want to read a book when referencing my character.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
That's an unsubstantiated leap.
That's a strange criticism.

Assuming you don't merely mean "I disagree" but like the faux-objective sheen of pseudo-lawyerly talk better, and actually ask for reasonable context, what kind of evidence do you want?
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
That's a strange criticism.

Assuming you don't merely mean "I disagree" but like the faux-objective sheen of pseudo-lawyerly talk better, and actually ask for reasonable context, what kind of evidence do you want?
You are asserting a general opinion of preference as if it were an objective fact of the system. Even if I agree that it were broken (not saying either way), I would not use language that strong for such an opinion.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
I played a bit of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars RPG (d6) and Battletech (forgot which edition)... all with the same dreadful DM, making me never want to play those systems again. I realize that is unfair towards those systems, but these experiences just left such a bad aftertaste.
 

Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
I am hesitant to say 5e D&D because I made several attempts to let it grow on me. But the fact is my first session playing in the Adventurers League sealed it for me. It wasn't the DM, however; he was a friend of mine and handled it well for what he was given. It was most of the players who showed up like it was a chore they had to do in order to get rewarded. They selected characters from a rotating stable of sheets with no names (i.e. "Barbarian 4", "Cleric 2", etc.). And despite early comments from the group being fans of Critical Role, almost everyone was reluctant to participate in any activity or play that didn't involve a roll that would lead to dealing damage to someone. FYI, the adventure was largely centered around a puzzle/riddle dungeon. The first time a creature appeared and offered a riddle, half the party charged and forced a combat.

It was then I decided that 5e (and public play in general) was not so appealing to me. What I had with 4e was no longer there, and it didn't seem it would be coming back.
 

ART!

Explorer
I played a bit of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars RPG (d6) and Battletech (forgot which edition)... all with the same dreadful DM, making me never want to play those systems again. I realize that is unfair towards those systems, but these experiences just left such a bad aftertaste.
If it helps, I had a similar reaction to D&D 5E early on, but my group recently finished a much-loved 2 year-long weekly 5E game, so sometimes these things come back around.
 

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