Length of conflicts?

I am new to Burning Wheel in general, and decided to start with Mouse Guard. I’ve run the “find the grain peddler” adventure twice, and I’ve run through lots of sample out of context conflicts to get a feel for the system. I’ve come up with two major questions.

  1. How many volleys should a conflict take? All of the conflicts have ended in 6 or less volleys (2 rounds). Some have ended in the first round. Is this normal?

  2. Feint is very swingy to me. It seems to end the conflict if and when it gets played. It either crushes the opponent (against a defend, and ends the conflict) or gets crushed by the opponent (they attack and destroy the feinter), but either way it ends the conflict. Maybe it’s due to the meta gaming we have going but it has made people very adverse to using the “defend” action when low on disposition… and since no one wants to defend we get conflicts ending quickly. Does “feint” get used often, and does it usually end the conflict?

Thanks for the help.

  1. That’s reasonable.

  2. Those are your tactical choices. I assure you they are not univerisal results.


I really just wanted some sort of conformation that things were going par for the course. I think the feint issue will fix itself after we play more, I see it as a sliding scale, where since no one uses defenses currently feints won’t get used much their is a lot of risk vs. the reward… then as soon as people start using defenses again (no feints happening, so they are safer) then we’ll see a well timed feint coming back in and causing havoc (in a good way). The pendulum will sway back and forth as the nature of the conflicts and system get meta-gamed.

If I see my players not using defends often, you’d better believe I’ll start hammering them hard with attacks. Throw in a follow up conflict with similar circumstances later, and then they’ll expect an attack, THEN feint 'em. Just make sure that it fits the fiction/story.

In other words, if I’m doing a journey conflict versus the season, and I’m describing pelting rain as constant attacks, they may assume that I’ll continue to use attacks, which I will. But then it would be so much fun to hit them with a feint of, say a sudden flood that washes out their camp (defend).