I feel like I have trouble describing what is critical in my game for people to be able to do. The core of many games could be considered: 1) Fight; 2) Explore; and 3) Socialize. I think this came up most with the D&D Next play test; however, I also saw it in reference to a Marvel Super Heroes hack where instead of "Solo/Buddy/Team," the split was along "Fight/Explore/Socialize" dynamic.
For my games, I'd probably alter the default list slightly and add a fourth category: 1) Fight; 2) Explore/Movement; 3) Investigate; and 4) Slice of Life. To break it down:
- Fight: Fighting is easy, doing harm and avoiding harm done to you. You can scale this up to size of the fight and range.
- Explore/Movement: Movement within spaces, as well as getting places in particular methods. Primarily for overcoming environmental obstacles, and the occasional chase scene.
- Investigate: Replaces social in my eyes, because generally people don't generally talk to just talk, or rather, they do, but dice don't hit the table then, they talk to find out stuff. Plus, the good ole "search the room for the clue" schtick.
- Slice of Life: My games seems to have a lot of the players just wanting to explore the world, set up merchant empires and other things that don't bring them into conflict with other people, but may generate plot lines that do so.