In my mind a so-called "gamist" game has certain requirements to be truly effective and engaging:
First: Each player (including the GM figure, if any) must have equal opportunity. Not equal power (effectiveness) but the equal chance for power.
Caveat: If there are "sides" or "teams" (player VS GM, for example), each side or team must have
equal opportunity. In a case of one GM and five players, for example, the GM's opportunity for
power should be roughly five times that of a player.
Second: This opportunity must work in the system, and it must be enforced.
Example: 3.0 & 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons - The CR system should match the GM's opportunity
to that of the player-team. However, it doesn't work very well and isn't enforced.
Third: There must be different domains (physical attacks VS magic attacks, power VS quickness, etc...) and different choices within each domain. Some choices should be better than others, especially situationally, but each domain should be roughly equal in opportunity.
Fourth: Choice is the basis of the game. Some choices NEED to be better than others. Choices will fall roughly into two catagories: Pre-Game/Between Game (for example, character building) or during game. Some games will emphasize the importance differently, but different players will enjoy the pre- or during- choices in different ways.
Fifth: Randomness is not needed, but may be useful. The game should not really too heavily on randomness, however - it should rely on player skill.
Sixth: There must be a way to "win" or at least some clear indicator of success, and players should not be made to feel bad becasue they are more effective (or "win") more than other players.
There's more, but this is a start to me putting some thoughts together. More later. Any ideas, folks?