Archive for December, 2008


The Pawlice – The Wire done Mouse Guard

20 December, 2008

I just finished reading Mouse Guard and watching the second season of The Wire. I guess you know where this is going, right? I couldn’t fall asleep last night and lay awake for three hours thinking about how perfect the Mouse Guard mechanics would be for a The Wire style game. This is what I’ve got so far, and if you haven’t read Mouse Guard or Burning Empires you may well be struggling already at what the heck I’m babbllng about.

One of the main things about The Wire is that a case investigation lasts a whole season, where the detectives gather evidence bit by bit over a long period of time. The Burning (whatever) system of eating away at a disposition suits this incredibly well, so I guess Burning Empires would be just as good a fit for this, but MG is more refined, more honed, simply: better. What I would like to nick from BE is the phase disposition – in this game that will tell us how well the case has been solved,  but more on that later

So, the big kahuna, the case, the investigation that overarches the whole thing and lasts for many sessions is the seasons. Every time the GM uses a twist based on the case, you move one space forward in the big picture, and when you reach the end the case is closed, whether it’s solved or not. Sometimes the bad guys get away, and that’s fine. In this the police version you have to start from the beginning, of course, whereas in MG you can start in any season. The player group may determine from the outset how many sessions the want the case to last.

That leaves the winter season. I’m not sure whether I need to bring that over, but just have Beginning, Middle and End as the “seasons” in the police game. The middle would then be extra long and hard, like so for example:

Beginning (3) – two sessions
Middle (5) – four sessions
End – (4) – two sessions

Every game session will be a GM-set mission turn and a player turn, just like normal MG, which is also perfect for this. And after each full session each side gets to try and eat away at the “case disposition” – the players for the police side and the GM for the criminals’ side.

Mission problems: case, location, authorities, people.