It struck me how to phrase it.
I think a game system, if it’s going to have a group play any different than they do normally/be worth playing, needs to be like another player at the table. In fact the game system need to be like another GM at the table. A GM who comes ahead of the human GM.
In traditional designs, the system is like a glove puppet.
Like someone, typically the GM, holding a little glove puppet at the table and talking out of the side of their mouth “Okay, I’m the system, and I say…s’alright, s’alright!”
What you get with gamers is early in their careers, they buy this. Even the GM buys it!
Latter they say “Hey, we don’t need to listen to the glove puppet! Were REAL roleplayers if we just do what we want!”
At which point everyone puts on a glove puppet.
I mean, if your just doing whatever the hell you want, why are you rolling? Why? Because it’s a glove puppet – it’s a make believe the roll somehow controls something, when it’s your hand inside.
A game with a complete procedure isn’t a glove puppet. Actually a few indie RPG’s with complete procedures have come out. Capes (or atleast the quick start, as far as I know). I think 3:16. Spione (assuming I’ve read accurately). Oh, and except for a tiny bit, escape from tentacle city.