August means the #RPGaDay program is live. We are now in the second week of this month-long series. The RPG-a-day project is hosted again at Brigade Con blog, were you can find the full list of questions.
What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hours or less?
As luck would have it, the 2 hour session in the question broadly matches what happens in our Tales of the Hero Wars games already. I suspect the question assumes longer sessions as standard. Sadly, this is not how our game runs.
Thus, HeroQuest is my unsurprising answer to this question. The contest resolution mechanism is short, and the narrative can cope with almost anything being resolved with a single opposed roll. We make frequent use of the extended contest rules, but this is the result of preference, not demanded by the rules. In this way, we can skip through a lot of content in our two-hour window.
However, for a two-hour pick-up game, I would choose the other main RPG I am running: Basic D&D. Character generation here is so much quicker than out story-focused approach for HeroQuest. The core mechanisms in Basic D&D are easy to teach, and a five room dungeon should run smoothly within the two hours. These simple rules allow Players to engage with the core activity rapidly.