Deep magic game design, mon...
It used to be that when I looked at a new game system, the first thing I wanted was to read a gameplay snippet. Even today, I still think that your first chapter should be mostly gameplay snippet(s).
But these days I just flip ahead to the "conflict resolution" section, which is usually somewhere in the third fourth of the book. To me, a system lives or dies based on conflict resolution.
Most indie systems have simple conflict resolution systems, whereas most mainstream systems have complex resolution rules, but we're so used to them that we don't even notice. There's nothing inherently good about simple rules or bad about complex ones: it's just a tendency.
For example, in the system "Octane", your play on a roulette wheel (or simulation thereof). The rules are fairly simple, involving how many chits you have and how you bet them, and a few rules governing what happens when other players stick their big noses into your spin.
In D&D, conflict resolution is much more complex, involving multiple rolls of different kinds of dice, and often some kind of saving throw or special-rules feat/spell.
Compared to Shadowrun (which was essentially four completely separate systems glued together), it's a cakewalk.
The thing I like about complex resolution is that it offers a lot of texture. If everyone has the same abilities just with different numbers plugged in, then each person is really getting the same experience out of the game. Not only do many players want different experiences, but giving each player a different experience allows each player to contribute to the game in a different way. Classic example: mage/warrior/thief/cleric parties.
You need to be careful, of course: you'll be the bottleneck. If the differences in how various players approach the situation is too vast, then you'll waste valuable time trying to manage all of the approaches they take simultaneously.
Still, there's a lot to be said for giving each player their own "rule set". Mages have spells, warriors don't. (Didn't... they do now, and will be essentially indistinguishable from mages in 4.)
Whenever I make a game, this is at the forefront of my design.
For example, I made a LARP where everyone played psychics. Everyone had four psychic powers which were each charged in unique ways. One character could only charge one of his powers if someone asked him for help. Another would only charge his power if he was alone. A third could only get a certain power while he was in the dark, another when someone laughed, etc, etc, etc.
Even though it's the same fundamental rules, everyone's powers were different and everyone gained them in very different ways, which added a huge amount of texture to the game.
Still, the game suffered from severe bottlenecking. Too many players that needed "just a moment" of my time... it's always a tradeoff.
How about you folks? Do you prefer simple rules?