Role playing games have many different types of rules sets. From Crunchy to Abstract and everything in between. It depends on the player, game master and group on what to play, I have met players that are up for anything, others don’t like abstract, they want dice rolls and a more defined world to play in, and yet others want everything defined. There are so many games out there to try, if you don’t try you will never know if you like it.
“Crunchy” people want realism, which includes usually chart after chart. For example Rolemaster, you roll to hit, then look on a chart and see where, and then on a chart to see if it is damage or a critical hit. Crunchy rules take time. Combat will take a long time there is no getting around it if you want to use charts you will be absorbed in rules.
“Basic Role Playing” people want less rules but still a framework to deal with. For Example a lot of Rpgs are basic, Call of Cthulhu, Dungeon’s and Dragons, Pathfinder to name a few. Now these games have basic frame work but have advanced rules to add more crunch to the game depending on what edition of the game you use. These games are roll a die, see if you hit, roll damage and go on. Combat is faster and the game moves more smoothly but there can still be hiccups.
“Rules Lite” is usually for people getting their feet in the door. Rules Lite is usually basic starter boxed sets. You do not get all the rules but enough to play on. A boxed set usually comes with watered down rules (not that that is bad, it is usually good for the starting players) pre generated characters, dice and an adventure or two. Call of Cthulhu, Dungeons and Dragons, and Shadowrun all have starter boxes. Now Rules Lite does not belong to only starter sets. Different Editions of games have been labled “Rules Lite” Shadowruns “Anarchy” system is rules lite, Some people say Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition is rules lite because it condensed feats, skills and some rules to smaller, faster rules sets.
“Abstract” people prefer storytelling over rules, and get more of a sandbox rules set. Abstract rules describe a WIDE range of rules sets. From the original Storyteller (White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade, to name just one in their world, where you discuss and roll dice last), to games like Fate system where you barter with the gm and roll dice, and Amber the Diceless role playing game where no dice are used at all.
In the end it breaks down to are you a Role player or Roll player…and how good you can speak do you let your mouth do the talking or the dice.