I've been going slowly over my past gaming experiences for the last couple of months, looking at this and that and the other thing. And I came upon this one weird turning point in the way I think of games that I think might deserve, well, bein noted.
Many years ago, I played Heavy Gear. And our game was blessed with an entertaining assortment of characters... We had a reporter, and a Gear duellist, a foot-soldier veteran, and two engineers. These are the PCs (I was the veteran).
The engineers were Howard and Donald; while not related, they never left each other's company, and came to be known in the game as The Duck Brothers (by way of their names).
In the course of the entire campaign, neither of the Duck Brothers took up arms. We had plenty of fights; they never fired a shot. During fights, they took notes on the fights.
And then they tinkered with crafting, with the Gear-construction rules, with all of that. We had the coolest, most wicked gear in the world, custom-built for exactly our actions and skills, and the players of the Duck Brothers had a great time tinkering while we ran around and blew stuff up.
At a marked, basic level, they were not playing the same game that the rest of us were.
And it worked. With buttery ease.
I've had many, many similar experiences since.