Me and my group have recently be on a 180 mechanical rules flip. After playing 3e and Pathfinder so long, then seeing what they did to 4e… we started thinking back to when we were young… when we didn't even use maps. All we would do is draw a rough room and X's for where people were… and they would ask stuff like "Can I hit him from here? How 'bout if i move here this round?"
I must say, reading this thread has made me think of checking out this Warhammer Fantasy RPG. Also, I have already started pondering ways to use EotE in non Star Wars settings.
This was me a a couple years ago. I have and still enjoy Pathfinder. I GM two different campaigns, one live that I have been running for almost 10 years (we converted it from 3.0/3.5) and one on a message board.
When I began exploring "something else" I came across all kinds of things. I picked up the Revised Core Rules for Star Wars and shortly after, I picked up the Core saga rulebook. Saga for whatever reason just didn't spark my creativity. I don't think it was the game, I just think I wasn't really interested. Played a ton of board and card games for awhile and kept thinking about Warhammer Fantasy but the price kept scaring me away. Finally, I was tired one night and amazon had it for $59. I said, what the hell and ordered it. We played it once, everyone hated it. We had become so used to playing Pathfinder that it was just too big of a jump and I didn't really know "how" to play it. Then I tried out some old Alternity stuff and that didn't do it for me either. Tried Gurps and hated it. Tried Rifts and hated it more. Tried Ex Machina and Eclipse Phase and had a good time but the group kinda split when some of the players moved. And then I got into Pathfinder Society and had a blast with it in all its crunchy goodness. Then I just kinda got burned out for a bit.
Returned to the board game and card game world for about a year.
Then I decided to go back to roleplaying games and I found and messed around with Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader. This sparked my interest and I found myself reading a few of the novels. Soon enough I had a game going and I began lurking on the boards at FFG. For whatever reason, I decided to dig out the Warhammer Fantasy stuff again and really read through it and I had an epiphany.
I had forgotten how to roleplay without maps and minis. In fact, my entire group had forgotten when we played second edition and even first edition ADnD. That isn't to say that we didn't roleplay. We did, but combat took on a more board game aspect. This was ok as many of us enjoyed the board game aspect but as I came to realize that we were playing half the time roleplaying and the other half was a board game. The thing that drove me away from WFRP3 is actually the same thing that brought me back. This is a narrative system. Its very open to player interaction and the players do such a good job of contributing that once everyone gets on a role, they do far more for the story than I ever could have on my own.
The dice mechanic is brilliant.
The other part I struggled with was all the chits and bits. Once I realized that all that stuff was really optional and only needed to be used as an aid, not a requirement, it all started to slip into place. Players went back to tracking things on pen and paper and spent their time playing the game instead of worrying about all the pieces. It was a fun and loose system. It isn't perfect as I had some issues with some of the mechanics but while playing, it just seemed to work and work well.
Then I see the anouncement of Star Wars and how they seem to have removed all the pieces while maintaining a highly similar narrative dice system. I'm excited. I like the setting idea and know I have players that are interested as well.
So, if you like the idea of a game that doesn't need maps and minis, get either this game or the Warhammer Fantasy Game. The investment for WHFRP has been big over the years for me but I love the system. Fantasy Grounds and Maptool have allowed me to play these games online as well. Its worth playing if that is what you are looking for. It is a loose system and once the players understand that it isn't a tactical game any longer, they will remember the best parts of how it used to be.