During my usual rambling of nonsense, I've been told something that made me think.
Everybody knows what game they know best... and like always, I don't accept myself as part of that group.
A statement was made: I must know Exalted better than Mage
Since I claimed that there is no measure of how well you can know a game, I've been informed that I do know what game I have read more and which I played more (all contributing to the knowledge of a game) so it follows I know Exalted better than Mage.
And yet, I feel unconvinced by this argument.
It is true that I read more Exalted books than Mage books and I played/run Exalted more.
If you were to ask me a question about Mage, I'd need to first look into a book. However, if you were to ask me a question about Exalted, I'd need to first look into a book... it happens more often that you think...
Just the other day I was asked what a player should roll to remember an information from their past incarnation's memory. So I guessed that would be Intelligence + Lore, then I looked at some Merit to find if there are any modifiers for that sort of roll. I found none, so I made them up.
Another player asked me if there are any smoke bombs in Exalted. I said yes so he asked about the book with them. To which my reply was: "I don't know, I made that up."
You might say that since I've had to read any and all information about the setting and use them regularly in the game I run, that I know it better. While it is true that I know every kingdom there is in the area we are playing in, what their political situation is, recent history, rulers, culture, military activity, the powers behind the scenes, the Essence lines, the history of the place, etc. and I know it all because... I made it up. All I could find in the official material is that there are hundred kingdoms in the area and they export food everywhere. You might say that I'm not running Exalted in its setting since the Hundred Kingdoms are said to rarely go to battle, whilst in the game I run, they are on the brink of a full blown out war with one another.
Since I know what Mage is about, its theme and mood, I read the base setting and I can refer to the book. I'll take those things, that feel of the game and add my own details. Just like I did with the Exalted game I run. As such I don't feel I know Mage any less than I know Exalted. Especially since there's a ton of people who answer questions about both games that I had no clue someone would ask.
Memorising the setting and mechanics is just not fun to me. I do fine with an excel sheet to do the math and a doc file to store the additional information so I don't have to remember it. I have a lousy memory so it often happens that I need to look into the rules for one thing twice in a game session... unless the player remembers it from before.
Setting discussion and mechanical optimisation of characters just bores me. I don't like anything that adds to the mechanics because that only ends up making my gaming experience less fun. In a game I don't look for either a simple or complex dice engine, neither to I crave for a rich setting of lack thereof (Scion!)... all I want is something to stimulate my imagination and that is easily achieved.
My conclusion would probably be that I wouldn't consider myself knowing one game better than the other. It might be bullshit on my part but yeah, I just don't see it...
Preferring one game over the other, now that's a different matter ;)