Barking Alien posed a good one this month: What is your ultimate game?
I'll answer that, and then I'll expand upon it a bit: how does that drive your other games? The one's you're running now that are not your ultimate?
First though, time for some self-examination:
"The universe is your playground" - Supers!
I outline the setting, I sketch out some factions and villains, the players make their characters and we see where things go. No metaplots. No adventure paths (as an entire campaign anyway). I would figure out certain events that would be happening in each "season" and the players could react (or not) to those in any way they choose.
*Open Table* would be the holiest of grails here. . Supers is the easiest genre to justify characters dropping in and out from session to session. Maybe I run the first and the second Saturdays each month and whoever can make it makes it.
We might only meet once a month, but I'd like to get through more than one or two combat encounters in that session. More comic book "let's go!" and less planning and optimization ahead of time.
I'd like to have multiple groups running separately in the same setting. Some players might overlap, no problem. Might be an East Coast team, might be a West Coast team, might be in the same city, might be a space team for special occasions too. I'd let the players drive this after a while. Over time I'd like to see the players make multiple characters for different parts of the campaign. I'd like them to design some of the villains too.
I agree with BA here - in many ways this is the least important element. I have a multitude of systems and editions of those systems for running supers and I could have a good time with most of them. M&M, Champions, ICONS, Marvel, DC - all of them are worthy.
Now for my contribution: How does thinking of this as my "ultimate" impact my other games?
- Potential Games: Well, I like Rifts. It covers a lot of the same ground as far as freedom while having a more specific flavor. A Savage Worlds Rifts campaign where the rules add to the fun instead of blocking it is very attractive.
- Actual Games: I like a lot of the "weirder" Pathfinder games. Wrath of the Righteous is PF dialed up to 11 via Mythic Power. It throws balance out the window pretty quickly and the latter half is looking more like a cosmic superhero campaign than a traditional D&D game. Our most-likely second choice after this is Iron Gods where lasers and robots and wrecked spaceships are all part of the package.
- Other games: For western games I like Deadlands - because there's super tech and supernatural abilities. For Space Opera I like Star Wars - freedom and force powers. For post-apocalyptic I like Gamma World and Rifts - more powers there too.
As far as "have I run this" - no. I've brushed up against it in some ways but I've never had the full package I discussed above. Have I run my best game already? I doubt it. I like to think I get better over time at this. New games, the occasional new player, a new tool - all of these things help adjust attitudes and approaches to even old games. Knowing what's important and what is not improves with experience. Knowing a particular group tends to improve over time. Hopefully those best games are still ahead!