There a few good ones we’ve had over the years, but I’m going to go with the combat system a friend and I cobbled together one evening to address the weak combat system for Castle Falkenstein. We had been running Space: 1889 in CF to remedy the badly flawed mechanics of the original GDW rules, but found the pause/move thing they were trying to emulate didn’t play for cinematic sword fights and fisticuffs. Something more was needed, so we took a page from Lace & Steel‘s book…

We had characters’ hands based on their agility or skill. You had between 4-6 cards. The suits represented different lines of attack: diamond (intellect skills otherwise) became head, heart was chest and arms, clubs, lower; and spades were a defense only card — dodging, etc. that could be used for any line defense, but not for attack. You would pull a card for an attack, announce the line, the opponent would draw a card (if you didn’t have the line of attack in your hand, each card could be thrown as a 1, otherwise, it was the number of the card.) Add to your skill and the higher won the round.

It worked quickly, gave the players a chance at strategy in combat, lent a real cinematic flair to fights. You could see the uppercuts, jabs, the slices and stabs.