Game Set-Up

Hey All;

Here’s a little list of questions I’m planning to use in tonight’s game. It’s based on a post from Thor some time ago, slightly modified for my own use.

Any thoughts would be cool.

We are playing tonight, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Game Set Up
[ul][li]Recap the situation. Everyone makes a note of conflicts that they are interested in and where they sit, who is involved, etc. No outcomes discussed.
[li]Players select the conflicts that they are most interested in.[list][]Narrow the choice down to two conflicts.[]Decide which one the group is going to play out.[]The other conflict is foreshadowed.[/ul]
[li]PCs rewrite Beliefs if necessary. If any are changed, declare the change to the group.
[li]GM selects Maneuver.
[li]Players discuss Maneuver.[ul][
]While the players are discussing the maneuver, GM rewrites Beliefs of NPCs relevant to this game’s conflict.[]The GM identifies NPCs who are not part of this maneuver’s main conflict. He thinks about how to set up the next conflict, or point to another one the group is interested in, using the left-out FoN’s scene resources.[/ul]

I like this aspect a lot.

I’m less certain about this one…

…if only because I think that as the Maneuver progresses there should be some tension for the players regarding which conflict their characters are going to pursue, and therefore where to allocate their one or two conflict scenes. I like hearing the players, whether in character or not, debating their courses of action. It provides some insight into their thinking and their concerns. But it’s only a minor thing.


One thing I found very helpful for pacing was to jot down a quick plan for building and conflict scenes for GMFONs, including a couple alternate progressions. Most color and interstitial sceness follow from this, although I would often save a color scene for the session ender.

I’m not saying a full on script. Just a few minutes of thinking (I did it on the subway ride to the game) and a couple quick notes just before the session begins.

The way we did it, and which really helped the game hum for us:

One player would keep a list with a running tally of the goals of the individual players (i.e., Get revenge on the Baron, Spring the general from prison, etc.).

  1. At the beginning of the session, we’d go around the table and update the list, striking off anything that had been accomplished and adding anything new. We did this fast!

  2. Each player would select one thing from the list to gun for in the coming maneuver. Sometimes a secondary goal would be noted as on deck for the coming maneuver, meaning the player would attempt to set up for it in the current maneuver. If another player stated a goal that lined up with a goal of yours, you might change up what you had planned to do so you both hit those notes at the same time. It is important to note, though, that we didn’t plan out scenes or anything like that. Those things were left for play.

  3. If necessary, we would rewrite a belief to target our stated goal in order to maximize the chances of fulfilling a belief in the session.

  4. Based on the list of goals we had on deck for the maneuver, we’d select our Maneuver. If our goals sounded most like a Take Action, we’d Take Action. If they sounded most like a Gambit, we’d do a Gambit.

  5. We’d note who had the skills for the maneuver on deck. That didn’t necessarily mean that a single person got singled out as the one who would take the conflict (sometimes we played it that way, sometimes we didn’t) There was a tacit understanding that we would maneuver to highlight the player or players that had the appropriate skills in order to justify letting them make the rolls. But if it didn’t work out that way, it didn’t.

  6. We’d start to play. All of the above took no more than 5 or 10 minutes!

Hey Guys

This is really awesome. Especially as a way to be aware what all the other players want out of a given session.

Do you think something like this would work for Burning Wheel? Although there are no maneuvers etc. I think that thinking in terms of scenarios and what players what to achieve with their characters is a great way to build teamwork.


Good ideas! I’ll use it.