Burning Wheel Miniatures?

At the risk of committing blasphemy, I was wondering if there were any rule sets out there for playing out a fight with miniatures on a grid, you know, like all the roll-playing games do. I’m pretty new to burning wheel, so I can’t say that I really grok it yet, but I’m totally in love, or maybe just in lust. Eww. Anyway, while the Fight mechanics look interesting I wondered how well they might translate to ye’ olde’ grid and minis. I cruised around the forums a bit and didn’t find anything (though it wouldn’t surprise me if I just failed, so please let me know if I missed it), so I took some ideas from my own amateur rpg designs bouncing around in my head and put together the following:


It’s purely outline form so far. I’ve play-tested it twice and it seems kinda cool. It’s pretty quick with 3 or 4 players and it still maintains most of the BW rules so I think it still maybe feels like BW, but again, I’m a newb so what do I know. I’ve permitted comments in the gdoc for now, so feel free to let me know what you think or if you have any questions. And if anyone out there is brave enough to playtest it, I’d be delighted to know how it went.

If you did it right, you could probably use miniatures to set the scene and perhaps to help some players envision how the battlefield looks and get a better grip on such rules as Engagement and Advantage? You could add to the tension, perhaps, by moving the miniatures around to show the flow of the battle.

It would still just be a set piece, though - otherwise, I’m fairly sure it’s game breaking. There are rules in place that handle positions on the battlefield and who can fight who, and they are not made for use with miniatures.

Yeah, miniatures could only act as illustrations or interpretations of the action. They could be quite useful in understanding positioning if used in the abstract sense. Any attempt to make them inform the action, however, would be detrimental.

However, seeing as how this is the Sparks forum, new ideas are certainly worth looking at. I tried to go over your rules, but quickly was distracted. Perhaps later I can give them the time they need to digest.

Burning Wheel gave me the opportunity to make live the story. The GM tells a part of the facts/environnement, but, the players may also tells there part of the story. In a combat scene, everybody around my table who makes part of it, is free to describe things as long as it stick with the thing alredy been said by the GM or an other player. For me (even if i like minis: a got a lot of these!) to bring a grid/miniature with that systeme is a big game breaker. I don’t wanna bring established facts like: “the room is 20 meters wide and the fire place is at 7 square from you”. What appen if a player want to test is Castle-wise to describe a part of the room he’s in? I found out that most of the time, the ideas i’ve got in mind change because of what appen and what the players did.


I suppose I’m interested in exploring the space between the BW philosophy and the traditional minis on a map rp experience. I love the characters BW creates, the immersive rp constructs, and the interactive philosophy that it is based upon. I also know that there is a lot of fun and tactical interest to be had from minis games. I was kinda interested in whether the possibility exists for bridging the two, either as a way of creating familiarity and drawing interest from traditional rp gamers or as a way of creating a different tool that can be applied to situations that might benefit from a more tactical approach rather than, what seems to my (newb) eyes, a fairly strategic approach taken by the fight mechanics.
I agree that drawing lines on a map and using minis to represent your characters takes a lot of the immagination and openness away. But I suppose the fight mechanics probably do something similar compared to a standard versus test where the victor has relative free reign to describe how the fight went and what its outcome was. The mechanics of fight create a more prolonged and specific narrative arc at the expense of that openness and immagination. Maybe a tactical minis combat system is just one more step in that direction. Then again maybe it’s a step too far and goes outside the realm of the BW rp philosophy. Either way I’d be interested in what people think of the ideas in my OP, whether they are a tool extending BW, a middle space between BW and minis based rpgs, or whether they occupy a middle space that just could never work.

You should play Burning Empires sometime.

What I’ve heard of it sounds pretty cool. I wish I had more adventurous rp friends.

If you think it’d be too much (and it might be), Firefight can be completely extracted from the game, with basically no strings attached. So it’d work well for a sci-fi or post-apoc setting.

FireFight! does not threaten characters participating in it. EDIT: Not in an immediate, personal, and mortal way that Fight! and R&C does.

Unless there are fusors or PAcs involved. Then it definitely threatens the characters participating.

gack blasphemy!

Grids have no place in rpg’s in my opinion. They have a place in very bad miniature games or cool ones like silent death or car wars.

be free of the grid! embrace failure conditions.

Still not to the same extent. Entirely different levels.

as long as you have Red Shirts with you, precious PCs are safe from Direct Fire
when it comes to Close Combat, this is entirely another matter…

@ Aedhwish : gods will have your head for that: no grids in RPG ? what about Agon ???!!???

That is the exact reason why I prefer the BWG positioning rules, instead of the BWR positioning rules. I love burning wheel because it modulates storytelling. The combat Resolution systems just resolve conflict so we can concentrate on the story, the hero’s and the drama. I find games that have a combat resolution system that uses a grid concentrates too much time on that combat system. Roll-playing and story development usually plays a minor part in those game.
if I want to play a grid based combat system, I usually invite friends over for a game of chess to be honest.

That said… the best system I have ever seen that uses a grid is Fantasy Craft. I would recommend that system if you want to play fantasy but find that a grid based combat system is necessary for your game pleasure.
we loved the way that games gives freedom in creating characters and allows specialisation. the combat system was very well done. But unfortunately fantasy craft lacks the joined storytelling that BW offers.

Adehwish - You realize, of course, that En Passant is just an old fashioned term for D&D attack of opportunity?

The best thing about this thread is all the new rpgs I’m learning about.

Yeah, I love the joint story telling and the story based principles. I will note that when I playtested the rules in my OP it seemed pretty quick and dirty. It still uses BW so first blood usually sends an inexperienced character screaming for the hills or begging for mercy. Also, I’m not dropping a stack of “class powers” or anything like that, so it’s still relatively straightforward. In my mind this means that combat is still likely to serve the story as a medium. Players won’t be itching for the next fight to use their powers like d&d 4, because they don’t have any powers. Instead they have a relatively quick and dirty, though less abstract, system for resolving the physical conflict and moving on. Of course the “less abstract” part seems to be one of the main critiques, so that’s valid. Also my assertion that it’s quick and dirty is based on a couple playtest with inexperienced players and characters, I’m not sure how this idea scales.