Last weekend, several people played a game of Dirty Secrets at OrcCon in Los Angeles. In fact, the actual play report is right here. Last night, before seeing the play report, I talked with Ryan Macklin, who was one of the players in the game. It was a nifty conversation, but he mentioned a couple of things that clicked and were really helpful.
First, he said that this game of Dirty Secrets was like playing The Shield, which is his favorite TV show.
Second, he said that he’d heard about Dirty Cities, and that he’d love to playtest.
And things clicked in my head.
For a while now, I’ve been concerned that I’m trying to cram too much into Dirty Cities, that I want it to do several things that might not actually be compatible with each other. I’d even been toying with taking my different concepts and breaking them into separate games, either as a series of games linked by a campaign system or as an anthology of some kind.
After last night’s conversation, I’m convinced that I need to do something like that. Because I figured out the core of the game I’m currently calling Dirty Cities.
It’s quite simple, really.
1) Make up a crime organization (or a loose affiliation of crime organizations). Work up what they do and how they do it.
2) Make up a special police squad who has the job of stopping it. This can be the Strike Force (a la The Shield) or a detail (The Wire, Seasons 1 and 2) or Major Crimes (The Wire, Seasons 3 and 4 or The Dark Knight)
Now, play characters in both groups. Go!
I haven’t seen The Shield yet, but this would handle The Wire just fine, thank you very much. And, from all accounts, it will handle The Shield too.
So, a big step forward in the development of this game.
This may necessitate a name change, though. One of my ideas is to have a campaign system that would allow me to link together my various crime/urban games. (Yes, I have others bumping around in my head.) So, maybe Dirty Cities would be the campaign system, while this “major crimes” game would have a different name. Not sure yet, but I’ll keep you posted!