Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?
Ha! Note the plural in the question: RPGs, not RPG. If it was only the singular, the answer would be self-evident...I can run B/X Dungeons & Dragons practically in my sleep (actually, most editions of D&D, if you're just asking me run the thing and not prep and run). When I was running a regular game down at the Baranof, I could prep a multi-session adventure of B/X over my lunch break and run the thing despite two pitchers of beer and a very loud karaoke bar next door. Very easy.
But the reason it's so easy is because I've run it a lot. With practice, everything becomes easier (assuming you're approaching a thing with mindful intention). And so, when asked which games (plural) are easiest for me to run, it's really simple a matter of listing the games I've had the most experience (i.e. "practice") running. These would be (in order):
- Dungeons & Dragons (including 1st edition AD&D, B/X, BECMI, and 3E)
- Marvel Superheroes (the Jeff Grubb original, both Basic and Advanced)
- Vampire the Masquerade (1st & 2nd edition)
- Gamma World (2nd edition)
- Stormbringer (1st edition)
Boot Hill (2nd edition is my favorite) is fairly easy for me to run as a one-off session, but I've had pretty much zero experience running it as a long-term...or even multi-session...campaign. I imagine that doing so would be fairly tough without a real investment of time and attention to a particular setting (Western films and stories, the main inspiration for BH, all tend to center on a single town and scenario/situation).
These RPGs I've listed are systems in which I've run long campaigns, and I've an idea of how their games evolve and develop over time. These days, I'd probably stay away from Marvel (sorry, Jeff!) because I'm not a huge fan of its system/scale, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be easy for me to run...it's VERY easy, just not something I'm interested. The same holds (mostly) true for Vampire and Gamma World (the way they're written), though they might be more fun (for me) with a little modification to the basic rules and setting premise. Stormbringer is probably the easiest of the BRP games to run, mainly because its combat is more abstract, but putting together an actual campaign that doesn't bump into the albino sorcerer and his trail of wreckage (and making the campaign meaningful prior to the PC inevitable grisly demises) can be a real challenge.
I've run plenty of other games, but none of them are what I'd call "easy," either due to absurd fiddlyness, unfamiliarity, or badly flawed systems (examples include, Albedo, Sorcerer, and Rifts, respectively). The easiest ones are those I've listed...pretty sure that's enough for this post.