Thursday, 29 November 2007

Initial thoughts on Burning Wheel

So I'm on the road at the moment (the joys of multinational employers) and I have Burning Wheel (Revised) with me. It's been a good read. The rules are a clever combination of simple and expansive. On the one hand, the core mechanic is simple and easy to remember. On the other hand, there are rules for everything. Stacks and stacks of options for how to do things. I like it. Still, it makes for a complex series of page flips to get it right, but the indexing is good enough to let it happen quickly.

The mechanic that earns the game its big reputation is the Duel of Wits. There are two kinds of things to say about it. The first is that there is even a mechanic for this at all. The second is whether or not it works.

So, should we even have mechanics for this? Do we need mechanics for social interaction? Damnit, yes. Yes we do. It helps the people who have weak roleplaying skills. It forces players to actually go with the strength of the character rather than the force of personality of the player. That's right, there are roleplayers who have forceful personalities - and they can't play well at all. They just shout their way through the scenario and merely force themselves into a series of powers or abilities. At least with a social mechanic this kind of play is locked out.


The second one is about whether it works. To be honest, I don't know. I need to play it sometime. That just hasn't happened yet. But it will. So if you're into Burning Wheel and you live in Brisbane, drop me a comment and we'll hook up for it.
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