I have to admit to a little dissatisfaction at the moment.
Not with my players or the campaign - things are going about as well as they can, people keep coming back, the players are getting really involved in things that are going on (hunting for beetle-glands for local wizards, rescuing Gnome-slaves of the nefarious Orcs, searching for ancient weapons mentioned by shady 'legitimate businessmen', and whatnot).
Nor is it really the ruleset. For me Moldvay Basic is the single best introduction to D&D. Things will be added once the PCs get past 3rd Level for sure, but for the moment almost everything is handled through that slim red book. It's a simple, flexible system, and I think it does what it does really well.
But it doesn't do what it doesn't do.
It's great for dungeon-bashing. That is what the party is up to. In the setting that the PCs are in, there is a cave-complex about two miles from a largish but very recent town - a kind of gold-rush sort of place, built on adventurers exploring the caves. There's scope for the party to get involved in 'the town game' if they want, with factions, feuds, guilds, politics, weirdness and shenanigans should the PCs want to scratch the surface. If they don't, that's also fine, they can play using only the surface and concentrate on the nearby caves (a sort of megadungeon). In other words, the 'town game' can entirely be used to generate rumours and hooks for more dungeoneering (where is the stolen loot from the merchant caravan? Somewhere in the caves! What's this about a kidnapped noblewoman? She's somewhere in the caves! etc).
And that's all great. That's totally in line with how the campaign is supposed to run. I set it up like this to be an open table where players can drop in and drop out, and that dictates the structure. Every 'morning', the PCs troop out of Rift City and go to the Rift where the monsters are. They explore, fight, loot, puzzle and ponder, fight some more, hopefully find more loot and don't die too often, then come home of an evening after a hard day at the Orc-face and take their boots off in front of the fire. If they can be bothered, in the 'evening' (ie, between sessions) they message me to say 'Noggin the Dwarf goes to an inn where adventurers gather and tries to find out if anyone knows about Ulfang the Kobold Lord', or 'Crimp the Thief talks to Madame Nightshade about the poison he found', or 'Jorgar the Fighter goes to the weapon-dealers' shops and tries to sell the armour we looted' or whatever). That generates further involvement in what's going on - more rumours, more gold, more contacts. It's all working pretty well, I think. But if they want to, they could completely ignore the caves and just get involved in what's around town. It's pretty robust and gives a lot of choices to the players. That's obviously all good.
What I'm dissatisfied with I think is D&D. But, honestly, I don't know anything better. It remains the game I've played longest, and most, and am most familiar with, and my players are probably most familiar with (though a couple of them haven't played Basic before, and some started with Mentzer not Moldvay, so... I dunno, maybe it's just me that's most familiar with Moldvay).
What I want - and this is why 'games we aren't playing' - is not a game where players are pest-controllers who 'go to work' in the dungeon, but a game with something of the epic scope of the fantasy literature that supposedly inspired the game. Conan didn't start by clearing all the ruins/dungeons/temples in a 5-mile radius of some town; the Fellowship didn't set up camp outside of Moria and raid it every day, returning back to camp at night. Perhaps the closest match to the way D&D is generally played is the Lankhmar series, where Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser often travel out of Lankhmar to kick monster-butt (though I'm totally prepared to accept that D&D is nothing to do with fantasy literature and much more to do with a 'heroic' tactical-simulation wargame as this post on Unbalanced and Pointless argues - this is very much related to my point that D&D is perhaps not the game I want right now. It's also perhaps related to noisms asking 'what's the blogosphere for right now?' in this post).
What I want is a game where PCs have 'quests'. PCs (who cannot then just be selfish) involved in epic world-spanning plots. How to marry this to player agency? I don't know. How to marry it (even more importantly) to busy lives and uncertain schedules, well I don't know that either. But I want something that puts 'dungeoneering' in the context of a bigger story. Thorin's Company went into the Goblin-tunnels sure (though not by choice). But they didn't even know they were there. They were journeying from one side of the mountains to the other. The Goblin-tunnels were not 'the point' - taking back Erebor for Durin's Folk was the point, travelling through the Goblin-tunnels was an incident on the way.
Same with the Fellowship - the journey through Moria (and Sam and Frodo in Shelob's Lair, and the Grey Company at the Paths of the Dead) were the result of trying to do something else. Jill and Eustace and Puddleglum in Bism; Taran and co in the passages under Spiral Castle or the mines in the Eagle Mountains; Dolgan and his companions in Magician; were going through the caves and tunnels of the underworld because they were trying to go somewhere else to do something more important. They all had quests that compelled them to go to dark and dangerous (and wondrous) places, rather than those places being the reason for their quest. The 'dungeons' were a means to an end (travelling for the sake of the greater quest) rather than the object of the quest itself.
So what would this 'quest' game look like? I'm not really sure. Of course that means I'm not sure I can't do it with D&D. But it would be D&D with a particular set of assumptions in place. First, that play is directed to a particular goal, which would progressively change. Second that players would generally stick to that goal (PCs might come and go but 'the Quest' must continue). I don't even know yet what other assumptions I need but they're sufficiently different to how D&D is usually played that they'd require a lot of thinking about before even commencing.
Maybe the PCs need to take a message in person to the King of the Elves or deliver a young noble to a distant castle to be married or transport three dragon-eggs to a Princess of the Horse-People. I don't know. But there must, surely, be a way to generate over-arching narratives to make play more than just violent shopping at the local cave-mall.
More will come (that's a prophecy)...