Hi all, I’ve probably passed the proper time for making another post in the kneejerk review. With some sheepish apology, I submit the next post in the series.
I’ll respond to the question regarding the box set supplement: New Rules New Missions. The easy answer is that nothing has changed, but that’s not wholly accurate.
Let’s move through together. I’ve purchased (in past) the .pdf copy of the box set supplement from 1e. I won’t make direct one-to-one comparisons, and also will not copy rules text directly. So, dear reader, if you have never seen the 1e box set supplement, hopefully this won’t fail to illuminate the benefit of this purchase; whereas, if you have the 1e box set supplement, I hope my review won’t give you pause to purchase the 2e box set.
This short chapter provides ‘weapons’ of Journey, Speech, Negotiation, and Fight Animal conflicts. Further, it provides description of Mounts in War conflicts and the Mace weapon for fighting or fighting animals.
The weapons of Journey, Speech, Negotiation, and Fight Animal have not changed from 1e rules. These are exactly as previously written. Similarly, the rules of Mounts in War remain unchanged. The rules of Mace are altered to reflect the change given to armor in the 2e rules. So, as the armor is now absorptive, the mace bypasses this feature. It was a simple change of wording to provide the proper function.
Flintrust, Grasslake, and Sandmason are presented wholly unaltered from the 1e box set supplement except for a few marked changes. In this case, these town write-ups provided Recruitment notes regarding Skills and Traits which would typically come from such settlements. In 1e, the towns of Flintrust and Sandmason offered a selection of one Wise and one Skill; that has now been altered to offer a selection of two Skills. You’ll have to buy a copy (or ask someone else) to get those Skills told.
In the spirit of other content, this is unaltered. If you’ve never seen it, this chapter tells GMs and players what to expect when attempting to acquire a mount in Mouse Guard. It isn’t impossible, but it isn’t easy either. Mounts in War is repeated–I don’t know why.
As seen in the 2e rules text, the new mission have been included with minimal alteration. I did find some text has been improved somewhat, but the general structure, Obstacles, and NPCs stats of the missions has been retained.
Unfortunately, the -wise stats on Sadie was also retained, although others were properly edited to reflect the change in Wises. Oops, a small oversight, but I’ve got to mention it.
Lastly, another new mission has been included written by Doug Brundin. I’m pleased to see another mission, but I super jealous–really super jealous–since I love to write custom missions, yet none of mine were invited for inclusion. I’ll get over myself–really I’ll super get over myself. I’ve played once under Doug Brundin as a GM and once had him play under my GMing, so its kinda neat to know the writer.
Now, I want to call out some valuable notes from the additional mission. First, the pre-gens included have a special line under Goals. For each presented character, the Goal has not been written according to the mission; instead, these have been given a clear statement for players to write a goal related to something. I’ll provide one example: Merry, a Guardmouse from the patrol, has the Goal statement of, “Write a goal about leading the way on this dangerous mission.” This is a beneficial addition for introducing players–the pre-gen hasn’t got a specific goal, but does have a suggestion for a player to make a statement while also providing a clue about the character they are selecting to play.
The other valuable note is that of how the Animal Obstacle is presented to the GM vs the Players. In this case, I must be careful. The description for the GM admits the animal selected doesn’t eat mice, while also reminding the GM that the mice (not players, the mice) don’t know that yet. I like this; because, it offers instruction to a GM about creating a secret and a foreshadow of the confrontation. Players might still be quick to draw weapons against this animal, thus, admitting to GMs that mice don’t realize the lack of predator intent discourages a GM from telling the players to stand down–it actually encourages a GM to let players fly off-the-handle and see what shakes out. Now, of course that’s my opinion in the matter, but I do think the wording is a beneficial treatment for GMs and players in this respect.
Now, I can’t let this be a kneejerk review without a bit of pontificating from my myopic viewpoint.
I did notice a little bit of text errors–nothing to grievous. I want to mention the Conflict matrix was removed from this booklet; since, it was placed into the primary rules. The booklet is small, and might not feel consequential.
I just kinda wish all–all–of this content had been included in the 2e rules book. I can (1) imagine a whole chapter about Conflict Weapons and Gear, (2) easy inclusion of three settlements in the Territories chapter, (3) additional notes of Mounts in the Denizens chapter [similar to my wish for more Livestock notes], and (4) additional missions in the Sample Missions chapter. That’s not easy! Really, I get that isn’t easy to pitch to a publisher who already knows the fanbase for MG isn’t giant. The purchasers for 2e probably include very few new buyers; having to increase page count would be pretty tough to accept. I just wish for it.
What this could have–might have–opened for the Burning Wheel crew is more space to really pry back the lid on creative ideas for a 2e box supplement. If the 2e rules had included the 1e box set supplement content, then what do you place into a 2e box set supplement?! I’m glad you ask.
Here’s some things I could imagine are lurking behind a creativity-vault-door: (1) NPC Recruitment, (2) Weapon/Gear Design, (3) other new Settlements/Missions, (4) Animal Design, (5) Weather Event guidance, (6) Wilderness Terrain guidance, (7) Historical context for campaigns set in other eras, (8) Weasel Design/Recruitment, (9) Mice of varied speciation [I admit this might imply or infer racism, but I think there is some context for having mice which reflect deer mice, harvest mice, wood mice, cricket mice, etc. which might await behind a creative-vault-door], (10) context for The Black Axe canon/lore in campaigns, (11) reflections or meditations on Seyan and how to include canon/lore of death among mice and other beasts [which is hinted as a topic by way of Legends of the Guard], (12) Setting and Hack guidance or downright inclusion.
Ok, I probably could go on. At that list of 12 imagined topics, I think another lengthy book could be produced to serve as box set supplement. Again, I get the page count and sales pitch is nearly impossible for Archaia/Boom to swallow. That’s a load of new work, art, editing, writing, marketing, and more.
I’ll have to return for more of the kneejerk review before Thanksgiving–otherwise, I’m going to fall behind so far that I lack relevance in the conversation. See you later.