View Full Version : Burning Wheel

The Oakenshield
2011-04-13, 06:48 PM
Anyone have any experiences/opinions to share?

I'm thinking of buying the game, but I'm not sure...
...my group isn't very good at learning new things... (we play 3.5)

Thanks Playground!

2011-04-13, 06:55 PM
1. I've heard good things about Burning Wheel. (Turn-on.)
2. I've heard that Burning Wheel is rules-heavy. (Turn-off.)
3. This would get more attention in the Roleplaying Games forum. :smallwink:

I haven't played it myself, but it's dead even on turn-ons and turn-offs, so I probably won't pick up a copy. (Mouse Guard, on the other hand...)

The Oakenshield
2011-04-13, 07:17 PM
Well, if this isn't the best place for it, can it be moved, please?

2011-04-13, 07:19 PM
Yeah, just ask a mod for the move.

Lord Loss
2011-04-13, 07:19 PM
Well, if this isn't the best place for it, can it be moved, please?

Try reporting your post and asking for it to be moved in the description. That should do the trick (at least I think that's what you're supposed to do).

2011-04-13, 07:39 PM
Here is the most current thread about it in the Roleplaying forum (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=191660).

I think it's young enough that bumping it would not count as Thread Necromancy.

Archonic Energy
2011-04-15, 06:30 AM
Glug. i choose you!

*throws poke-ball*

Totally Guy
2011-04-15, 07:51 AM
Dude, I'm at work. I'll write something useful later. :smalltongue:

I ran a scenario called The Gift at the last UK GitP meetup. Archonic Energy played a totally badass dwarf and got involved with a plot to poison a trio of elven diplomats, one of which being the prince! When it all went wrong he then tried to frame the second in line to the dwarven throne!

Amazingly there was a happy ending, for all player characters, brought about by the luckiest dice rolling I'd ever seen.

Edit: All the people he wronged throughout the session, the elves, the dwarves, were all other player characters.

2011-04-16, 04:13 PM
It's complex, but I wouldn't call it rules heavy. It is lighter than 3.5, for instance. It is a very worthwhile game to investigate. heck, the two "core books" only cost like 25 bucks for both, so it ain't even that expensive to check out.

I am heavily biased,mind you. Been running BW for like a year and a half and it is largely the RPG I had always been looking for.

2011-04-18, 05:04 AM
I would call it rules-heavy - about as heavy as 4th edition D&D, but not as heavy as 3.5, in as far as these things can be measured.

(That is, poorly and subjectively.)

The key thing to note about BW's complexity is that it's all front-loaded. Once you get over the initial hump, everything just works. Some people (myself included) find the combat system quite cumbersome, but some people (myself included) also find 3.5's combat system quite cumbersome, so make of that what you will.

And although the game is playable with just the two basic books (which come packaged together) the extra books are pretty much essential if you want to do anything fancy. In this it is kind of like D&D, although there are fewer books to buy and they have a greater useful-information-per-dollar ratio.

Compared to 3.5:
BW has a far more flexible character generation system. It's points-based, but with a 'lifepath' mechanic that limits what you can spend points on.
BW is grittier. Characters never scale the same heights of power as D&Ders.
BW has less magic.
BW has a much more integrated mechanism for social skills.
BW doesn't require party cohesion or balance like D&D does.
BW requires a different approach to the game than D&D; trying to apply D&D principles to it won't work, so you're better off starting with a blank slate.

All told, I recommend giving it a try. As Britter points out, the core books are reasonably priced, and if you try and don't like it... eBay!

2011-04-18, 05:17 AM
I will grant you the front-end complexity. It is a hard system to crack into. However, I think that in actual play, it is infinitely simpler than 4e. You simply don't have half the minutiae to track. 4e is just full of tiny details.

As for the combat in BW, there are three different options to run combat, covering the gamut from incredibly simple (a basic vs test) somewhat nuanced (the "bloody versus" test) and of course the much more complex and dynamic Fight! system. However, BW doesn't require you to use the more complex subsystems, like Fight!, unless you and your players want to delve into them. The game plays just fine if all you ever use are the first 100 or so pages of rules.

Regardless, there is a good deal of front end complexity, and a definite play-style difference from DnD that must be taken into account if you are going to give the system a whirl.

2011-04-18, 05:27 AM
I'm not sure what the actual words I should be using to express this are, but I'll put forth that I am of the mind that Burning Wheel is, in a way, more complex than 3.5e D&D.

For example, character creation.

In D&D, you have thousands of feats, and thousands of prestige classes, and (for some) thousands of spells. That makes it seem very complex. However, only 1% of those are actually useful in any way, shape, or form. And, to the character you are trying to portray, there are only a few options that fall in the middle of the venn diagram for "Useful" and "Applicable to You".

The complexity isn't in building the character. The complexity is in sifting through the garbage to find the gems, and then playing tetris with the prerequisites. If someone has already found the gems for you, and lays them out, it's pretty obvious how to stick them together. It's not complex at all.

In Burning Wheel, for any given character concept, there are a ludicrous number of completely legitimate and meaningful choices I can make at every step of the way. I've never burned up a character without saying a dozen times "Well, X is awesome, and Y is awesome, but I only have points for one!".

I can't really say that about "Should I get +1 to attack rolls or +2 to basketweaving?". I can say that about whether my character should have Macbeth or Halitosis. It's going to be a huge deal.

2011-04-18, 05:31 AM
Xefas, I agree completely. And the meaningfulness of your choices at any given point is imo a definite feature, one of the strongest of the games many strong features.

However, I want to be clear that I think that the complexity of character creation and in play choices is one thing, but that the actual mechanics of play are much simpler, in my opinion, than those of 3.5 or 4e DnD. Others may disagree, and thats cool. Like I said, BW is my dream RPG, the exact game I always wanted.

2011-04-18, 05:49 AM
Ah, okay. Yeah, I agree with that. The basic mechanics for doing things are much much simpler.

Also, I'd bet that Burning Wheel is the dream RPG for a huge number of D&D players. They just...get scared of roleplaying mechanics, I think. That's the number one issue I've run into, personally. My theory is that it's all the emotional scarring from Alignment.

Totally Guy
2011-04-18, 07:11 AM
However, BW doesn't require you to use the more complex subsystems, like Fight!, unless you and your players want to delve into them. The game plays just fine if all you ever use are the first 100 or so pages of rules.

Frequent use of the subsystems are the best way of combatting artha bloat. I found the learning process of getting to grips with Burning Wheel to be a painful process.

The other players still struggle with a lot of things. Like they'll write beliefs about things that they don't actually care about so that nothing they do care about will be targetted by the GM.

I think that nobody else in our really wants to play any longer but none of them will admit it.:smallfrown: And of could they tell me I'm wrong.

But I know BW is awesome. I attended 10-10-10 and participated in games where everyone cared and they were amazing games. I ran The Gift for 7 players and that too was amazing.

2011-04-18, 10:22 PM
Yeah, you are right on Glud. Without the subsystems to spend artha on, you do get a lot of bloat. Fight! and Duel of Wits are the best things ever, in my opinion, and I love to use them as often as is appropriate.