Secret Maneuvers...or not?

Stumbled into an interesting difference of interpetation about how each side chooses their Maneuver (I’m guessing it’s an editing artifact). Looking for opinions.

In the section on choosing maneuvers (p. 410-411), it reads like the GM secretly chooses his Maneuver but the rest of the group openly picks their Maneuver. However, in the Infection Procedure checklist (p. 438-439) under “Session Level”, it says each side privately picks their Maneuver. Huh! That sent me back to reread p. 410, which in fact states the players openly discuss “their options” but not, explicitly, their Maneuver…except for the last sentence of that graf under “Picking Maneuvers,” which says the GM notes the players’ Maneuver choice.

I think I prefer the GM knowing what the players are aiming for, but I can definitely appreciate the vibe of the GM being on equally unsure footing.


I’m for gm’s secret/player’s open: helps the gm coordinate dramatic/appropriate opposition and keeps the players in a little suspense.

I’d be curious how a double blind maneuver would turn out, though. Anyone try it?

As written, GM must note the player’s maneuver. The private discussion thing isn’t clear, but it’s meant to reinforce that the GM can’t be a part of the player’s maneuver choice discussion.

Groovy, thanks for the clarification.



Regular RPGs have GM’s Secret Meetings, where the game master takes a player outside the room and the two have a private conference.

Burning Empires, however, has the Players’ Secret Meeting, where the GM leaves the room on his/her own and all the players have a private conference with each other.

I mentioned in a previous post how, even with the completely open nature of play, a Burning Empires GM can sit at the table with a smile his players haven’t seen since the last time he ran them some PARANOIA. Now, I’m suddenly imagining the GM coming back into the room to be met with eerily similar smiles from all of his players…

“Yep, that’s our manoeuvre. Yep, we’re sure. Oh, you’ll find out why soon enough, Mr. High-and-Mighty GM…”

Private doesn’t mean secret. I think the GM just has to sit there quietly, and not influence the maneuver choice with suggestions.

Rob, that’s a possibility, but not a necessity. The GM still has to note the maneuver on the maneuver sheet. So he’s going to know. And being keyed into your players’ kibitzing is a good thing. The GM is there to play the antagonists. So knowing what direction to head in can’t hurt!


It’s much more fun to have the GM in the room, trying to put on his best poker face, as the players guess what he’s doing and plan their maneuver in front of him.

Jon, Luke, Mayuran, thank you all for coming back about my post. I was uncertain on how secret “secret” can be, but I do see that the GM leaving the room could take competiton - which, although important is secondary to and serves collaboration - a tad too far, at the possible detriment of the group collaborating.

Then there’s the times where you pick Manoeuvre A and then the players go and pick the Manoeuvre B… the very one that A totally destroys. It’s hard keeping a poker face when the players are sitting there discussing Manoeuvre B, toy with some other manoeuvre that would work out much better for them, but then settle right back on B.

The slings and arrows you face latter on when the players accuse you of cheating on your manoeuvre is a perverse but amusing pleasure, indeed. :wink:

Merritt, I like the way you think! :smiley: