Last Monday, we were again down a player. So we pulled out Dogs again and had another go. The game went a lot better than the first, partly due to rules familiarity but mainly (it seemed) because the town was built to reflect issues that came up in the first game. This is what the text advises you to do. It reminds me that this is pretty much the best game text ever just because it tells you how to play well. Explicitly. And then repeats it a slightly different way. And has a summary at the end of the chapter. It all feeds in to make the game run perfectly.
Anyhow... Maiden Creek. A gold rush town in which the Faithful are now outnumbered by greedy unbelievers. Our Dogs ride in, take in the scene, and meet some Faithful who explain that there's this young woman working for an Unbeliever and ignoring the suit of young men who are interested in marrying her. Pretty terrible sinning right there, as the King of Life sees it.
So how do they deal with it. They have a bit of trouble with drunk unbelievers. The first fracas draws the attention of the Territorial Marshal. He explains that he knows what Dogs are and that they should be careful to stick to their own people and not cause trouble.
Soon one of the Dogs shoots a guy dead after he makes some suggestive comments, she grabs him and he went for his gun.
So the Marshal gets his deputies together and confronts the Dogs. There's a lot of talking back and forward, with the Marshal taking the high ground ("You said you'd cause no trouble and now you shot someone"). Some hard debating (and a big conflict roll) ends up with the Dogs convincing him to let them sort things out amongst the Faithful, after which they will go.
So they do a bit more asking around. Eventually they decide what the obvious solution is - that young woman needs to buckle down, quit her job and marry a nice young Faithful man. She tries to talk them out of judging the situation that way, but fails.
And they ride off into the sunset.
Interesting town. I was very interested that the solution to the town was something that I (and I suspect none of my players) would regard as the best way to sort out a real-world equivalent of this situation. To be honest, I think it's a repellent solution - the girl was simply and independant type who didn't want her life mapped out ahead of her. At one stage, some of the Dogs were considering telling her to move to a different town and see how things go there - this seemed to me like a better way to go.
We all had a great time again too. I was surprised, given the group's tendency to devolve into bad taste, off-colour jokes at the slightest provocation. However, this game taps into something more, and people seem to respond well to it.
Oh well, I'm sure they'll get to return to Maiden Creek later and see how their judgement worked out...