A play-by-mail game
that allowed 100 participants at a time to control a fictional (I hope) gang
. Imagine Everquest
combined with Chaos Overlords
combined with correspondance chess
Every week, you could send in your orders to the gamemasters, instructing your gang to peddle dope or weapons, hold up businesses for cash, expand your turf, ambush other gangs, recruit new members, or commit arson on buildings in your turf to bolster your reptuation. Torching a church was an especially good way to do this.
After a few months of this, the top 10 gangs were promoted to syndicates, and the other 90 gangs competed to become the top capos of other syndicates. At the end of the game, the most powerful syndicate and its most powerful capo would win a free entry in the next game.
Outside communication with other players was enocouraged, and you had to make and break a few truces with your more powerful rivals in order to get ahead.
It's A Crime! had its heyday at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, just before the internet became big enough to render it obselete.