Every year, the hashtag #RPGaDAY makes its way around the social medias, and gamers try their damnedest to answer each question every day. Most fail. I probably will too. BUT. I will try!
Today's question: What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?
I honestly don't know how to answer this one, because I feel like 10 sessions is a sweet-spot for so many games. So instead of boiling this down to The Definitive 10-Session RPG, I'm going to go with my most recent success story.
I recently ran a Savage Worlds game known at The Thin Blue Line by Melior Via. Set in modern times, this game is all about a rag-tag precinct of the Detroit Police Department; but in true Savage Worlds fashion, there's plenty of 'weird'. Corktown Precinct is actually a sort of paranormal containment crew protecting the great city of Detroit from things that go bump in the night.
The campaign ran for 8 sessions and was incredibly fun the whole way through. So it was 'about 10 sessions', and realistically could have gone a session or two longer without affecting the pace of the story.
So why was Thin Blue Line work so well for an 8-10 session campaign? I think it has to do with the nature of 'police work'. Each session could be designed almost as its own little one shot, monster-of-the-week, type game while fitting into an over arching story that played out over the course of the campaign. Think along the lines of Supernatural.
This was definitely not a game that could have stretched into one of those epic, multi-year campaigns. However, I can envision a 'Season 2' campaign with a similar structure and length working very well.
Like I said, though, I think there are so many games that fall into this sweet-spot campaign length, that just about any game not specifically designed around single session games (like Fiasco) could be just as good of an answer.
I guess then, it bares asking, "Why is 10 sessions great for so many games?" There's a lot of benefit to a campaign of this length:
It gives a complex and deep story time to play out without feeling rushed or artificially long
Players have enough time to really get into character
It lends itself to the Three-Act Structure; 2-3 Sessions for Act One, 3-4 for Act Two, and 2-3 for Act Three
The GM and Players don't have time to lose interest
The campaign can be wrapped up within a few months even if you're only playing every other week
So there you have it. Go run a 10 session game and see if I'm just full of it!