It is the acronym for Quick Ass Game System, and that is pretty accurate. What is QAGS or more to the point why is there a QAGS?
Well QAGS grew out of the same need that gave us Fudge, Fate and GURPS and even d20.
QAGS though is a little looser than GURPS, but not quite as loose and Fudge or FATE.
QAGS is nice because it works well as an entry to Role-playing that is not a kids game (by no means is this one for kids!) and it can be used by the old pros out there. Yums-Yums aside of course!
Chapter 1 then is all about Character Creation. What I like about QAGS are such things as the descriptors of your character. In fact they are not even called abilities but "Words". So there is much more of a author feel to this than say character creation. You describe your character in terms of these Words, such as Body, Brain, and Nerve as the base ones, and others like Job, Gimmick and Weakness. I also like the tacit nod to "Who Will Play the Character in the Movie" which is something everyone does anyway. I snarkily always say "Gary Oldman" cause he can play anything and anyone. Like with other games I have played, there is something to learn here. This chapter could help you define who your character is regardless of what game you play.
Chapter 2 is Doing Stuff or how to play. The system is pretty simple really. Words are given a value of 6 to 16 and skills can add up to 5 to these. These numbers then become the target numbers.
Chapter 3 expands on this with Combat.
Chapter 4 is the most entertaining, Yum-Yums. What are Yum-Yums? They are pieces of candy that are character rewards. They are points on your sheet, but they are also a pile of M&Ms or other candy in front of you. They are used like Drama or Hero points in other games, but if you eat them all well then your are literally out of luck.
Chapter 5 is a bit about role-playing your character. Making them more than a concept and stats on a page of paper.
After this we have the GM (Game Master's) section. Chapter 6 covers the basics of being a GM along with the rules and what you can do with your new found power over life and death. Chapter 8 goes into the Fine Art of GMing.
Chapter 7 deals with the story you are trying to create.
The Appendices are rather nice. The first one is a Big List of Words used to describe your character. Which seems to me would have utility in a Fate or Fudge game as well.
Appendix 2 is the quick start rules. 1/2 a page. They got the Quick part right. So quick in fact it is "Qik" start.
Appendix 3 is the section of Genres. Each one gets a page and covers the basics.
Appendix 4 is a collection of sample characters.
Appendix 5 is a list of creatures
Appendix 6 includes some equipment
Appendices 7 & 8 are sample adventures
Appendices 9 & 10 are dumb maps and dumb tables respectively
And 11 is a conversion from QAGS 1st Ed.
Finally ending with a character sheet. The first I have seen that lists Social Security Number.
QAGS is fun, but it might be too silly for groups. Or it might be perfect if the GM opts to play it straight.
[4 of 5 Stars!]