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Tabletop QOTD 2020-06-09

The ones that resonate with me are the ones that I"m still thinking about even after it's put away. The ones that rewire something about my being in a way that is meaningful. Those are the greatest games.
RPGs? I will always have a spot in my heart for L5R.

Board games? Always and forever: Dungeon Twister.
What sets apart the truly great games is the community. This is a step beyond the "get it to the table" factor. It's what allows a potentially great game to reach that potential - to reach the level of depth it can offer.

SFB tourney play could only become SFB tourney play because of the community of players pouring themselves into it.
Oops. I misread the question. :-)

I like RPGs where the mechanics support the story the game is trying to tell. It's one major reason why I thought the d20 glut was so bad - most publishers didn't customize the d20 engine to make it better at other things. City of Mist does urban fantasy noir very well. Legend of the Five Rings has an odd mechanical elegance that I'm a sucker for. At least until 5th Edition, but even that has some appeal.

Similarly, I like board games where the theme and mechanics support one another. Dungeon Twister is two teams face-to-face trying to get across a maze, dealing with each other and the maze itself.
A great game is one that makes its mechanics make the theme work. One where the mechanical decisions I am making are the same as the in-character decisions I am making.
A great RPG for me, like others said, has mechanics that support the themes it talks about, efficiently and effectively. Dogs in the Vineyard has a progression system that makes your character change based on their direc experiences and failures, and it does in small incremental ways. For a game that has an important theme of personal growth, it does convey that theme very well in its mechanics.
Another great RPG is Kagematsu: the mechanics are very simple, but they interact and interwine in such a way that makes me deeply *feel* the love and shame, the hierarchic distance between my character and the Ronin and the uncertainty of romantic relations.

For boardgames I think a really standout game must be replayable, which for me means that it must be deep, each game can be very different from the others.
That, or it must be really memorable.

I'm also a sucker for a small number of relatively simple rules with interesting interactions, but that's more a matter of tastes than quality of the game. If a game becomes too complex it's usually a turnoff for me
Any game where you finish and immediately want to play again because you know what you would do differently next time. Games where you are trying to go to sleep but keep playing over situations from the game in your head. Games where two days later you have a eureka moment and realize a strategy or tactic you totally never considered before.
RPGs: the games where you forget you are playing a game and get so involved that you have to take a minute to come back to reality when they are over or when that scene is over. A game where everyone at the table stands up and leans in over the table because they are so invested in what happens next, be that an important die roll or a reveal from the GM. Games where you should have stopped at 11 but we so invested in what's going on that you've played until 1am and didn't even notice (those ones suck the next morning).