Thin Blue Line

7 January, 2011

The devil triumphs when good men do naught

I’m through my New Year depression, and have begun re-writing my Mouse Guard Down in the Hole hack from the bottom up. The game will now morph into its own entity, complete with a new shiny title Thin Blue Line. Among some of the changes, informed by playtesting (thanks, guys!), are: character templates (“packs”) to enable quicker character generation, optional but recommended rotating GM (“Chair”), more streamlined reward cycle and missions structure, and shared game setup.

These are excerpts from the new draft, with more to come.

This game is a tool to collaboratively create and share stories with three to four friends about a group of police officers put together to solve a tough case. The game’s rules and structure will put some interesting creative constraints on the participants, taking the fiction you create in perhaps surprising directions than if you had simply come up with the story yourself.
For it to work, you and your friends will have to trust that the rules can do such a thing.
All of you are responsible for getting it to work, and that you are exploring themes and stuff you all would like to see. One player, the Chair, will have responsibilities different from the rest of the group. The players each create and play one character in the game, while the Chair sets scenes in the game and play all supporting characters. Both being a player and the Chair is very satisfying, and I recommend taking turns from session to session so everyone gets to try both.
In the end, both the players and the Chair contribute to driving forward the fiction you create and share when playing the game.
Please note that neither how the story goes, nor what the player characters will encounter or how they will react is prepared ahead of playing, but grows out of the combined decisions by you and your friends while playing. It’s an activity very close to playing in a band, so if you’ve experienced that, you know exactly what I mean.
With this game, you and your friends are both the musicians creating on the fly and the audience listening at the same time, which I find is a fantastic activity.


  1. Glad to hear you’re out of the blue corner and back in the blue… wait!

    I really like that introduction although I’m not sure it’s enough to align expectations, but you have several other sections to do the rest of that bit.

    A thought: Sometimes writing the introduction to your game is the most important bit. At least I want to read a bunch of introductions now and see what they have to offer. I suspect they offer less than I hope.

    Second thought: Is Sorcerer one-sheets campaign specific introductions?

  2. True Blue!

    Sorcerer’s one-sheets are indeed awesome, but they are different in one important aspect: it’s the on-sheet creator’s vision of the campaign setting, and players have to buy into that beforehand. In a way I’m trying to have a lot that would normally belong to a one-sheet being created by the player group. I hope hope it’s a way to get greater buy-in from participants.

  3. I agree with Uffe – but also think that an introduction should include some colour text that will get me in the mood for playing within this particular genre. Perhaps someting about the premise?

  4. I haven’t even started on colour text yet, that’s still to come. Premise is OK and ready, I think. But I don’t want to “sell” this on colour – or, rather, have someone buy into it on colour alone without buying into the responsibilities as a player as well.

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