Ever have this problem? I've got a handful of RPGs that I really, really WANT to like - and yet I can't get my head around them.
Encounter Critical: I grew up in the Seventies. Sid and Marty Krofft shows, Marvel comics, Thundarr The Barbarian. Yet I can't seem to get into the headspace of EC. I can't seem to "get" the fine line where stupid shades over into awesome. Is it thinking like a sugar-hyped 12-year-old? Is it just running with whatever you come up with and not caring if it makes sense? Maybe I'm having trouble being Not Serious enough.
Unknown Armies: A big one with this is what I need to be reading/watching/listening to to get thinking along UA lines. It looks rather like The Dresden Files by way of Reservoir Dogs, but is that where it's coming from? A Laurel K. Hamilton book re-written by Philip K. Dick?
Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Now, I'm not stupid. I can figure out attacks or opportunity, I can do my own taxes, I've created more than one character for Rolemaster, I can remember a lot of background stuff for Tekumel. So why the hell do I have so much trouble keeping the various categories straight? Crinos? Lupus? Full moon, partial moon? I look at this stuff and my brain shuts right down and says "Non serviam!". Why?
Glorantha: The rules aspect of Runequest I have no problem with, apart from the unnecessary complexity of hit locations. But the world - where the hell do you begin? Where do I start learning about Glorantha and the Lunars and Pavis? Multiple game systems don't exactly help, either. Where's the Gloranthan equivalent of The World of Greyhawk Folio? I have the same problem with Tribe 8 - where the hell do you start?
GURPS anything: This is a special one, as, being a long-time fan of both The Fantasy Trip and its descendant GURPS, I get the rules and the mechanics. More complicated than I'd like, too many damn nit-picky skills, but on the whole I could cope with it. If it weren't for the books. Something about the art in the books, or the Steve Jackson writing style, the encyclopedic approach to subjects, or the typeface - whatever it is, I just find myself not giving a damn after about five minutes. Spaceship Zero and Stars Without Number get me all antsy to roll up characters and invent situations - GURPS Space just makes me go "Meh." and go looking for my copy of Human Occupied Landfill.
Traveller: Oh, god, Classic Traveller. Oh I love this game. I had/have scads of stuff, from the entire Book collection to classic Adventures like The Kinunir and Leviathan and Expedition To Zhodane. I used to sit up late nights during the summer, watching MTV (back when they actually played music videos) and rolling up Traveller sectors. And then I start thinking about the scale involved and how accurate the worlds are and details about flora & fauna and world histories and it just frigging overwhelms me. I'm trying to relax and think more of worlds in terms of Cliches, like in RISUS, but it's hard to turn around years of attitude.