I’ve recently been running a game of DitV, widely regarded by many as one of the best indie games in existence, and certainly one of the most well known. However, there’s something that’s been bothering me about it:
I don’t think it handles multi-participant conflicts very well.
Dogs, like many Indie games (Burning Wheel comes to mind), has a very intricate, very themed conflict resolution system with many options and nuances. The dramatic impact from Dogs comes out very tensely in the conflicts- however, this really only holds true for one on one conflicts.
When one has a multiple party vs. one person (or to a lesser extent, multiple party vs. multiples), the tension and dramatic impact is lessened because the side with more members is practically assured of victory. PCs team up? There’s no challenge, and very few conflicts that escalate because they’re over so quickly. A game of Dogs without escalation is practically no game of Dogs at all.
So how do we solve this? Split the party as much as possible, keep them isolated, keep the conflicts personal, and drive towards inter-party conflicts. But that’s a game-play solution, not a systematic solution, and the mantra of indie games comes to mind: System Matters, and it appears with repeated playing that the system of Dogs needs major work for a very common type of conflicts.