I’m very, very new to BW… which is to say, I’m captivated by the rules, but haven’t actually played it yet.
In D&D, I know that one-on-one games (just player and GM) are extremely challenging. Even without the combat (and combat balance) aspect(s), there’s just the fact that the GM has to take care of absolutely everything the PC is doing - talking to NPCs means talking to the GM, examining the environment means talking to the GM, and so forth. That puts a lot of mental pressure on the GM.
A great deal of that will, naturally, be the same in BW, but I’m curious if it’s different enough to make it actually reasonable to play that way.
So I was curious what you guys had to say on the subject. Thank you very much for being such a great community to talk to!
They work just fine. You can go to the “Playing Burning Wheel” sub-forum (scroll down) and read the stickies labeled one-on-one. Advice in the Adventure Burner suggests having a strong recurring relationship to help and be helped by.
I’m by no means an expert, but Perception and I have been having tons of fun, playing 2 different 1on1 games a week. I GM Burning Assassination for Perception on tuesdays, and he GMs Burning Raven’s Fjord for me on thursdays.
It’s my first time GMing and playing BW. Check our Burning Assassination game videos; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBaeKZgr6F_aSP5TdLJi16A
The best thing of 1 on 1 is the chance to play the exact PC in the exact situation you want. You’re the sole protagonist, so you guide play.
GMing is not much work in terms of prep, as long as the player has well crafted Beliefs. His beliefs guide play. All you need is an idea of the situation, and some guidelines for a handful of interesting NPC’s to start.
Of course, a low prep approach requires lots of improv. Just find ways to challenge the beliefs. If you can pit one belief against another, better yet. Make the player face tough choices.
NPC’s are not problematic thanks to Circles and thanks to the NPC rules on p.562
For Burning Assassination, Perception, the player, outlined the situation he wanted to play, and indicated where he wished to start the game. He wrote good beliefs related to his situation.
All I did to start was come up with 5 NPCs, and a relationship map between them. Each had his own motivation, each was in opposition to another, and had a positive (or at least neutral) relationship with another.
Once the player is put into the situation, his beliefs drive play and the whole game gains momentum. To the point where the GM just has to react to the players beliefs.
I can’t add much more than what Valannor said, but since BWG is so focused on the players it is actually my first choice in a one on one game so far.
BWG is optimal, in my opinion, with about 3 players. You get a lot of benefit from bouncing ideas and roleplaying off each other in any game, but in BW the clash and consonance of beliefs gives real mileage. But BW, because of beliefs and a prep-light system, makes one on one easier than most games I’ve played.
Most of the points have been covered so I will keep this short.
My favorite part about GMing One on One with Burning Wheel is that as a GM I am reacting just as much to what the player is doing as he is reacting to what I am throwing at him. In this way, GMing feels a lot like playing. You find yourself surprised more often than not but how a given situation resolves itself. It is my go to system for One on One games.