Product Review – A Dirty World

A Dirty World
Greg Stolze
Cover Design: Daniel Solis
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
Page Count: 70
Available Formats: Perfect Bound & PDF
Cost: $17.03 – Print and $10.00 – PDF
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing

A Dirty World is an immersive setting that placed player characters int he gritty  Film Noir style setting. Can you and your friends solve the mysteries that Film Noir PI’s face on a day to basis? Can you unravel the Femme Fatale’s sinister plot? Maybe yes and maybe no, these are the types of thematic adventures in A Dirty World.

I own the printed book and the quality is stellar the binding is tight and it shows no signs of coming loose. The off-white pages are sturdy and the text is easy to read. The interior art (B&W photos) gives the book a Film Noir feel that the reader will enjoy. The cover is a little thin for my taste, but it doesn’t negatively impact the overall physical quality of the book.

The game uses a modified, however slightly, One-Roll Engine (ORE) that gives players what amounts to a pool of dice to roll when trying to resolve a conflict or engage a skill. This particular adaptation of the ORE, not that I have played many, establishes pairs of qualities that work on a continuum. It is these pairs of qualities that form the basis of many of the dice pools that will be used to resolve any number of issues or contests in the game. The resolution mechanics revolve around getting matching numbers after rolling the dice pool; the more the merrier. Conceptually, there are some things in the system rules that were hard for me to wrap my head around, like the gobble dice, don’t ask me to explain this one; I am still wrapping my head around it even though I understand it in practice.

Film Noir! Need I say more? Ok, so I love the theme of the game. The short rules allow for quicker engagement with the game itself. the extensive example of play that is included really gives the reader a sense of how the mechanics are used in play. The three “cases” or scenario foundations that are included at the back of the book are a great place for first time GMs to start from. There are also lots of little tidbits of GM information sprinkled through the book.

While this is not an overly complex game, I recommend first time GMs play one of the other games in the ORE system of games; better yet find a GM that already knows the rules to run a game for you. It will go a long way in helping a new GM internal the rules that are specific to A Dirty World and the ORE. Getting used to the results of the dice pool and how those results resolve a situation or contest was a little tricky.

Thematically, it’s a great setting, but it’s bare bones at best. The rules themselves, despite the ORE system, have many games to its credit, is divergently different from the mainstream and will take some getting used to. That is not to say that the rules engine, as written, are bad, it just means that the GM and players will have a learning curve associated with the game. Your mileage may vary, but the game is worth taking a look at!

~ Modoc

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