Q: What do you mean, you neither railroad players nor have a prepped sandbox?

A: Improv!

Q: But wait, what does that mean?

A: OK, ok. Here's the long answer. Games like Dungeon and Dragons necessitate a lot of GM prep, because building monsters and dungeons is hard work. It takes time and energy and brain juice. And then you have an incentive to get the players to do the things you've prepped. But, here's the secret, deserving of its own paragraph: 

That is a product of game design.

There's a whole other way to do game design where play emerges from player choices, and this is baked right into the rules.

Some examples, from most accessible to least:
1. Dungeon World (DW) has many of the trappings of Dungeon and Dragons: classes, hit points, even a move called "hack and slash". The GM has to do a lot of prep compared to some others, mostly in figuring out what the players may face. Still, this game can represent a radical departure from traditional games and change people. Lots of dice, but no d20.

2. Fiasco, by Bully Pulpit games. Fiasco gives 3-5 players, in 2-3 hours, the ability to play through their own Cohen brothers style film. Fiasco is GMless, requires no prep, and is single-session driven. You -- as a group -- choose the playset, which determines the genre. From there, individuals make decisions and act in character in ways that determine the course of events. And yes, dice help, too.

3. Apocalypse World (AW) has characters (playbooks) which, by their very nature, alter the game, set its tone, and can determine how play starts. The obvious example is the hardhholder, who is the leader of a settlement and has a private army. At the start of every session, the hard holder rolls to determine if there is trouble. This trouble can readily create the course of a session or even campaign. In AW and its ilk, while the GM is encouraged to come up with "fronts" the players will face, these are meant to emerge from the first session of play.

+Alex Schroeder , who asked a simple question and got a long-winded response.
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