GURPS is flexible, but GURPS is big.
Yesterday I talked about what I see as a big strength of GURPS, demonstrated.
Today, I want to address what I see as some of its flaws.
GURPS's big flaw is its very depth of choices.* There is a lot out there. It's very completeness, and its plethora of choices that often go in diametrically opposing directions (cinematic rules vs. rules for more realism), makes it tough. It's a big elephant, and while you can eat it a bite at a time it's not clear without some experience, guidance, or specifically narrowed supplements (like the Dungeon Fantasy, Monster Hunters, and Action lines), or settings like Madness Dossier or Banestorm.) And many books, like my own GURPS Martial Arts, are there to make the whole thing bigger.
I get that, I really do.
It's not an easy game to just hand someone and say, play this. It's a system for making your imagination into a shared experience, not a pre-set game with its own assumptions. You can't turn to some kid and hand them a GURPS Basic Set and expect they'll figure out what to do with it. Because you can go so many different ways with it, it's tempting to try to go in all directions at once.
I reject the idea that GURPS is "half a game" or an "incomplete game." It's complete - you have everything in the toolbox even in GURPS Lite to run a wide variety of games, and enough in GURPS Basic Set to play any number more. The supplements after that merely expand or demonstrate what you can do with the basic tools. It's no more half a game than white box D&D is half a game just because you have to make your own dungeons.
But the very size and variety of what's in it makes it a game that demands you know what you want and how to cut it down to size. It's a potential strength (see my last post - flexibility), but it's equally a problem until you get a handle on how to manage it. I think it's worth the effort, but I totally get how much people like a completely "solved" mesh of game rules to game world right out of the box. The GURPS supplements do that, but even then, the many dials you can set means you kind of have to know what to see and where to set them.
How to Be a GURPS GM, which I'm reading now, goes a ways towards helping people do that. My own posts try, too. But it's something I think will always be off-putting to people about the entirety of the GURPS system - it's a big, big toolbox, and not everyone wants or needs that.
* Something that Jeremy French brought up yesterday, even as I was starting work on this post.