I'd like to open a discussion on generic story games. Archipelago II
is one such game that springs to mind; games that can be used to tell any story, in that they supply both the means to create a setting and resolve narrative challenges within it without predefined fictional elements. Do I presume to much in this definition?
Personally, I've always been turned off by generic games, always allowing a specific setting to grab my imagination and guide my enthusiasm for a certain game. I was made aware of Archipelago II (and the Norwegian Style blog) after reading J. Morningstar's Last Train Out of Warsaw
and, while I appreciate the workmanship of Archipelago, I wouldn't be quite so admiring of it had Last Train not revealed its potential to me. Interestingly, however, it's a huge subversion - while Archipelago II is generic and thus leaves great potential for creation, Last Train doesn't even allow you to create the character you play (not to say this is at all a negative thing).
Conan, what is best in life? Potential for invention, or narrative focus? Or?
Finally: The chance to author a setting and characters from the ground up in a sandbox situation is one thing but it strikes me that a system which furnishes a group with the means to enact any story they can devise, should perhaps, in addition to the means of conflict resolution, offer formal structure?
I'm aware Archipelago II isn't the only game of its type, it just made for an easy example. I hope this piques your interest.