Greetings and Wow!

Greetings everyone, a pleasure to be here.

I was in a nearby gaming shop when I heard about Mouse Guard. I had no previous knowledge of the game otherwise, or the comic. The owner of the store commented that is was her hottest product this month, hands down. She didn’t have any in.

So when I saw it at my local gaming store, I grabbed it. I took one look inside. Beautiful artwork, and all by the same artist! Great layout and design. Nice pages, and a dust jacket!!! I am heading off to a gaming convention in a week of this writing, and couldn’t wait until then to see if it’s there or not. I bought it there and then, and sat all night in my Exalted game waiting to send my friends home so I could start reading it.

I’ve read up to page The Mission (pg 53) so far. This may change the way I am gaming. What I would like to know, in a snapshot, it what are the differences between BW and MG? If BW is as good as MG is so far, I have more money to shell out.

BW, MG and BE are all different beasts though the same philosophy underlies them all. If you like the philosophy behind how Mouse Guard RPG runs and works, then you’ll likely enjoy BW, though it has a bit more – more skills, more in-depth character creation; more rules; different set-up for conflicts in that there is Duel of Wits, Range & Cover and Fight! (and Mouse Guard has a single rule set for conflicts, regardless of type); magic and Faith exist in BW…

Lots and lots of differences but, as I said, the philosophy of design and play is similar throughout.

Well, I’d say BW (and Burning Empires) give you more complexity, and they are tooled for different games –*you don’t play mice, for example (though you sort-of can in BW :)). On the other hand, while there is more complexity in the rules, I’d say MG is the most structured with its GM’s Turn and Player’s Turn, and so on. BE has a scene mechanic, and BW is just play-along. So less narrative structure, more complex mechanics.

And MG is not BW lite. Only a little bit :slight_smile:

Take the dust jacket off and look inside it…

Systemic differences between Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, and MG…

Character gen-
— BW/BE are lifepath with point pools; MG is pick from several predefined lists.
— BW/BE Skills range up to 10, MG up to 6
— MG limits to 24 skills/wises posessed, BW/BE don’t (Starting characters can have in excess of 30 if one isn’t careful)
— MG has 34 defined skills, BE has 121, and BW more than 200; none of these totals include wises.
— MG limits at 5 traits, BW/BE don’t limit it.
— BW/BE has 3 belief slots vs MG 1 but…
— BW/BE has 3 Instinct Slots, which have stronger effects than MG’s instincts
— BW/BE has no Goal slot; use beliefs instead.

Skill Rolls
— BE allows one wise and one non-wise skill to “FoRK” to a skill roll; BWR doesn’t set a formal limit, and MG allows just one Wise.
— BE and MG always use 4+ for succeses; BW has provisions for abilities to use 3+ or 2+ for successes

Rewards aka Artha
— MG “Rewards” come in 2 flavors (Fate and Persona); BW/BE “Artha” comes in three (Fate, Persona, and Deeds). Deeds points double the non-artha dice roll.
— BW/BE have more uses for Artha than MG does, and more ways to earn them.

Traits — BW/BE traits are not combined advantage disadvantage and don’t have levels; each has a defined specific mechanical effect. Some, called character traits, only have the effect of generating artha if you play them; die traits add dice to skill rolls or change how dice work, and call on traits work like Level-3 MG traits.

Conditions and Wounding
— MG has a 5 conditions, each of which is Boolean.
— BW has 6 different levels of wound, each of which can be taken multiple times, and each time incurs a penalty to further actions.
— BE has 4 levels of wound, again, each can be taken multiple times.
— BW/BE Mortal Wounds require spending artha to survive them.

“Emotional Attributes”
— Mouse guard has one: Nature.
— BW has one per major race, plus two in Jihad, plus (IIRC) 2 in Blossoms are Falling, and 2 in Under a Serpent Sun, and several in Magic Burner. Each is some form of price/thematic fight against one’s baser instincts… Like nature, when they get too high, the character is out of play.
— BE does not have any!

Paranormal abilities:
— MG none explicit
— BE “Psychology” is a telepathy type ability if the bright mark possessed.
— BW has several in core (Dwarven & Elven Craft Skills, Elven Songs, Human Sorcery, Orc Sorcery), and 8 more in Magic Burner; Several more in Jihad (Ancestry, Fanaticism, Simhanada, Analyst) of far more narrow construction.

— MG is count successes and Failures
— BW/BE exponent (skill level) advancement is count number of tasks by difficulty - Challenging (Ob > dice before adding artha) Difficult (Ob > dice -3 and Ob > 1/2 dice), or routine. Only a few abilities require that you succeed to count the test; it’s not about success, as facing challenges.
— BW/BE advancement for skills gets much harder once you hit level 5.
— BW/BE dice from artha don’t count for figuring the experience category, so if you need to succeed on those challenging tests (which are absolutely needed for skills of level 5+) you will need to spend artha.
— BW “Shade Shifting” (permanent lowering of the target number for successes) is by tracking artha spent on a particular skill and is frightfully expensive…

Extended Resolution Systems
MG: 1, used for a variety of purposes, driven by reduction of Disposition. 4 choices. Script 3 actions
BW: 3 DoW, Range & Cover, Fight!
BE: 4 DoW, Firefight, I corner him and stab him with my knife, Infection
Jihad: adds a 4th to BW: Propaganda War
DoW: Duel of Wits - Body of Argument (Disposition) driven, 7 action choices, script 3 actions. a few resolution differences between BW/BE, but in really minor ways due to different skill lists. Pretty much only for Arguments and convincings.
Fight: No disposition. 12 options for actions; Script (speed stat, typically 2-8) actions total over 3 volleys. Ends when one side flees, can’t fight any more, or both sides agree to stop.
Range and Cover: No disposition. script 3 actions, 3 choices.
Firefight: Disposition driven. Scale is intended for units, not individuals, but includes ability to use individuals as units. Uses a map generated during resolution. Script 3 actions; 9 choices. Subsystem for individuals in close combat. Ends when all remaining units agree to do so, units can be killed or injured out, or can be “broken” by losing all disposition.
I Corner Him and Stab Him With My Knife - Mini Firefight. Only 3 action choices, but otherwise, it’s a subset of Firefight.
Infection: Disposition driven. script 1 action from 8 choices; play half a session of other stuff, then resolve. Some of that other stuff may enable modifiers to the infection action. Drives BE as a metaplot.
Propaganda War: Disposition Driven. Not Scripted per se; you script one action, then play out the action, then resolve the propaganda war meta-action. Drives Jihad as a metaplot.

Narrative Frameworks
— MG has missions broken into GM turn and Player turn
— BE has a scene budget; each player (and the GM) get a limited number of scenes after scripting the infection action but before resolving it. Players have to move to the “authorial” stance routinely.
— BW has no framework built in

— MG is very focused, and has few mechanical options, streamlined mechanics, but still maintains the core concepts. Simple enough for literate children to play effectively, but not written as a child’s game. Definitely aimed at adults. Excellent introductory game.
— BE is less focused mechanically, having several options, but fairly structured in play. Not really a game for novices, as it requires everyone to narrate scenes, or at least set them.
— BW is a toolkit with a few assumptions built in.

Holy bananas, look at that list!

Aramis, I applaud your diligence

This should be posted somewhere for posterity.
Perhaps we should just sticky Aramis’ thread separately in Lockhaven?

Thanks, gentlemen.

Thanks for the comparisons! I like what I see in MG, finished reading it last night and am going to run it at a con this coming weekend (Gryphcon, in Guelph ON, Canada). BW sounds like it would be right up my alley as well, I will now have to order it in.

Wikified and slightly expanded