I don’t regret putting this on the list, but like some of the other qualities, this is such a general concept, it needs more exploration.
So, what makes a game entertaining?
This is a big question. One that’s going to have lots of answers, but here’s a preliminary exploration:
An rpg is entertaining when it engages players (GM included) in conflict.
• This can be dramatic conflict where story characters act against player characters or vice versa or
• Physical conflict in which players must make important tactical decisions to both survive and thrive or
• In an ethical dilemma where players’ characters are forced to engage the world in a way where no matter what their decision will matter.
An rpg is entertaining when “the plot” is not obviously linear.
• Good players will give the GM a break and go to a plot location, especially as the game begins, to help progress the story forward, but if the entire game the players are asked not to make real decisions but to simply jump from one plot point to the next and their input does not matter, then this is dull for the players. In such cases, the GM has something more like a novel outline, and not an rpg.
An rpg is entertaining when the characters have depth.
• A character who merely acts as the vessel for a player’s whims is uninteresting. Their past does not matter, their actions are not meaningful, and characters like this are all the more likely to break the mood or genre of the game. The player of this character in such cases might be entertained, but it is less likely the whole group will be (unless all their characters are this shallow).
The first statement could be seen as from a GM or game designer standpoint, the second from a GM standpoint, and the third from a player standpoint. There are obviously more answers to what makes a game entertaining, so feel free to share your thoughts.