This GNS stuff has come up with a yawn in another thread, but I'm wondering how people feel about RPGs that lean to one of these three qualities.
Basically, every game falls on a continuum of:
1. Gamist. How gamey it is. Everyone at the table is focused on character and kit builds, strategy, and winning. I'd also argue that Gamist RPGs will provide a gameplay mechanic that is inherently fun to do over and over- you don't feel like you're playing if you take away that mechanic. The rules can be altered to make way for cooler rules.
2. Narrativist. Focused on character's individual and group stories and character arcs, focused on engaging plot and group storytelling. Players make choices for the good of the story, not just their own PC. The rules can be changed/fudged to allow for more natural or interesting scenes to take place, or removed entirely if they get in the way.
3. Simulationist. The purpose of the game is to provide rules that describe how everything in that world works, with or without player involvement. A player wants to accomplish something, and she and the GM decide how the rules allow or describe it. Simulationist games trust their participants to manage the storytelling (if they want it) or the challenge of combat and conflict (if they want it) and focus on providing a set of manageable gameplay mechanics that work and feel appropriate to the genre. The rules can be altered if they can provide a more accurate simulation.
IK under D20 was somewhere between Gamist and Simulationist. The d20 rules provide for a meaty simulation of a world's gears all turning, and the character and combat rules encourage "builds" and strategy and winning. Story is left up to the GM to worry about, and when you ran into situations where the story demanded hand-waving of the rules, it stank to high heaven.
"Whatever happens, Alexia gets the sword and Oberen gets away" feels like an insult to Gamists who did everything right to "win" and to Simulationists who know that this upset breaks the rules.
IK MK2 seems to lean further towards Gamist (based on the simplification of many rules seen so far, and the focus on 'cool character builds' in pre-release materials) with possibly a dash of Narrativist (points awarded for good roleplaying?). Is everybody cool with that?