The first drafts of this post (dating back to a over year ago) used to contain a long description of the reasons I love GURPS as a system. Since then, Colin posted an excellent article detailing exactly that, and I share most of his views on this matter: GURPS is one of the most consistent and well-tested systems available on the market. I’ve been playing since ’88 and I’ve had the opportunity to play with most major systems, plus quite a few more obscure ones. GURPS, especially in its 4th Edition, can not only cope with any genre or style, but can help you make the most out of any theme. It’s not just compatible, it helps your stories come to life and shine where they need to shine, be precise where and when it makes sense or feels right to and let you hand-wave the rest with a two-line rule. Again, go read Colin’s post on his blog and watch the review the Gentleman Gamer made of GURPS.
A friendly community
In addition to being an excellent system, GURPS has developed a unique community around it. The game turns 30 this year, and not many games can claim such a longevity in the field. The community gathers old-timers, who were around since Man to Man and new comers, who have just a few months of Pathfinder under their belt and are curious about this game they’ve seen people play in a convention.
In many communities, it can be hard for people from different generations to get along together. In fact, for some, hostility toward newbies can be part of the identity of the community: “We were here before, we know better”.
It isn’t so with GURPS. From my experience, people from all kinds of horizons, with any level of experience can join the forums, ask a question and get helpful answers and friendly advice. If you’re after more and want to present your project, be it a new magic system, a complete world or adaptation for your new game, a PC or GMPC you want to play or anything else, go over to the forums and, provided you prepared a reasonably good write-up, the GURPS community will help you with it.
Dedicated, curious and creative
I should emphasise that well written questions and answers are appreciated, since this is to me one of the key aspects of this community. The average quality of blog posts, reviews, game aids, forum answers and questions is very high. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. Here are two reviews of After The End 1: Wastelanders, one at the Blind Mapmaker, and the other at Gaming Ballistic. One of the forum post I link to above now clocks at 125 pages of discussion, is nearly 10 years old and is still going! And what other game can claim to have a supplement entirely devoted to social interactions, ranks and prestige, that spawned two extensions of its own? GURPS has a community where having a curious and meticulous mind is much valued, and where putting said mind to work might well give birth to an interesting discussion, an article in Pyramid or even a whole supplement.
Speaking of Pyramid, having a monthly magazine dedicated to your system and being able to discuss with the authors in the forum is another big plus for me and another asset for the community. I know of no other game or system lucky enough to have such a publication (White Wolf Magazine was cancelled in 1995, and even Dungeon and Dragon have been put on a hiatus). Some have had fanzines running for years, but I believe the way the GURPS community tends to join forces and work on a single, common periodical remains not necessarily unique, but at least pretty distinctive.
I realise this might read as a love letter to the community, and maybe it is. Like many, I don’t participate that much though, and I only wish I had more time to do so, to give back in return. I started using GURPS for the system, and I kept using it for the community.