#RPGaDay2018 3. What gives a game “staying power”?
The obvious, unhelpful answer is quality. Good games last, barring external factors (e.g., marketing budgets).
Becky Annison made a good point in her post about the key factor being cognitive load, i.e., we’re adults and ain’t nobody got time for that, etc.
At first, I thought maybe this wasn’t true for me, as the games I keep coming back to (which is how I am reading this question) — Burning Wheel and Champions — are generally considered quite complex.
But! It’s a cliche for both these games now, but I don’t find them burdensome in play. They are, uh, font-cognitive-loaded, if that makes sense. I don’t find them taxing my mastery the way, say, WotC-era D&D always does, i.e., “exception-based ruleset” = you’re almost always wrong about something — add to that the massive prep demands† and you get a game that I’m not sure I’ll ever come back to.
So, for me, these are games that reward mastery, i.e., get better the more you play them, and that are far easier to prep than they look. Add to that subject matter that appeals to me, and you have staying power.
† Please don’t try to counter me on this.