Combat in the Gold Edition

Hello there.

I’m quite new to these forums, and have a question concerning Gold vs. Classic.

I recently dug out my old burning wheel books (serial number 001375) and started reading through them due to a fall out with the Pathfinder system (she’s not always resonable that one ;)).

So far I really like the Duel of Wits and character creation systems, but I’ve reached the combat chapter and it’s … well, I find it … Never mind, suffice to say that I find it cumbersome and rather topheavy, especially to new players and GMs.

So my question is: Has major modifications been made between my raggy old version and the shiny new Gold edition?

Love on earth and peace for the Orcs

  • the Monkey

Yes, positioning has been completely redone for Fight. You position once at the top of the exchange to determine who is engaged and who has advantage.

Some of the other fiddly bits have been ironed out, too, in regards to anything with natural defenses.

The core of it is still similar, though. You script actions over an exchange and resolve them similarly.

As to your “for new players” bit, you should really follow the advice in the book on p. 77 (Revised, I think it’s p. 78 of Gold) and just play with versus tests to start.

I find Fight to be way simpler than 3.x/D20 combat in general, but it is different.

Yes, start with versus. A lot of the time you will use versus anyway, as there is no need to break out the scripting sheets unless the fight “really” matters.

Once you do a couple of Fights! though, I think you’ll find the system to be pretty intuitive. My players weren’t all about it either, at first, but now they really enjoy it.

Until you pick up Gold, you can elect to:

A) leave most fights as Versus tests
B) Do a Versus Positioning at the top of each exchange, and if someone wants to reposition otherwise, it’s a “Physical Action” (2 actions).

You may want to look at the Fight! Strategy guide I put together for BWR awhile ago:


Love the guide, Chris. Question, since I don’t have my book handy: Can you still buy initiative in BWG?

Pretty sure that awful rule is gone.

couple of good points here have been made.

with most fights you end up do versus tests. when would you take advantage of the bloodied versus test? I have been working through the book and figuring out some of the mechanics.

would you consider it the idea of using versus test for mook fights, while the bloodied versus more for duels and then the full on Fight! rules when the fight is a story shaking battle.

my group ran through the demo for “the sword” and loved it but we get stuck on the Fight! rules cause they wanted to jump right into it.

Yeah I second this. Once the whole table “gets it”, combat is resolved very quickly. Usually in a few Exchanges (2-3 D&D rounds)

First, do your players have a good grasp of FORKs, Helping Dice, and describing what they’re doing for Advantage dice? If not, I’d stay with Versus & Bloodied Versus.

If so, then I generally go like this:

  1. Is this that “end of the movie” brutal duel between only 2 or 3 characters where it’s personal, it’s ugly, and it’s going to be mean? If so, full on Fight!

  2. Is this more a running fight (capture/get away/rescue/get through the gate/hold the gate/etc)? Versus or Bloody Versus, depending on how serious I feel like it is.

The last thing you want to do is have a giant melee with tons of enemies and do a full on Fight! when really the Intent isn’t MURDER THIS BASTARD over the 35 guys running int the room as much as “Stay alive and get up to the tower”.


Thank you for the replies :slight_smile:

I think I shall follow the advise about the vs. method and try to wrap my head around the scripted way later.


My experience re: Versus tests vs. Bloody Versus has been that it depends on the stakes:

Use a Bloody Versus if there’s a chance that both get injured (a swordfight, etc.). If there’s really only one party who’s likely to get injured (even if that’s “whomever loses the test”), use a Versus test. We had a situation last night where an Orc Whisperer was trying to escape before I could spear him (we tested Speed versus Spear, and I pinned his foot to the ground).

In the case of a mook battle, I’d definitely go with a Bloody Versus. It’s often not a question of who is going to win, but whether/how much damage the heroes will take in the process.

To sum up: Bloody Versus admits the possibility that both parties may get injured; Versus tests generally end with only one injured. Versus tests are generally all-or-nothing: you get your intent or you don’t. Bloody Versus can often be inconclusive, as even the loser may only be injured. Neither is difficult or time-consuming at the table, so don’t think of them that way–just choose the one that best fits the fiction.