Selling this Game to Your Group

I apologize in advance, as I’m sure this has been asked before, but I’m too lazy to search the forums…

Think back to the days when you had first read BW, decided that you wanted to have it’s babies, and then started thinking about running it…

Or maybe you’re new to it like I am, and you’re in the same boat here.

I won’t go into gory detail about my group, but I worry that some may look at this thing (BWG) and decide it’s complex and never delve into what I think may be pure awesome. It didn’t help that my first effort at helping a friend create a character was accompanied by much more beer than I normally infuse my gaming with. Having said that, he’s the only guy to look at the game with me, and he really liked it. He just recognized there may be a “learning curve”.

So how did you “sell” this one to your group?

Honestly, I think I got by on pure enthusiasm. The thing I was most interested in, a system where character development was a first-class citizen. It gave me options that I yearned for as a player; none of my players seemed to, specifically.

When I explained to them all the ways they’d get input, it just sounded like more work for them!

These days, I think I’d be more inclined to just ask them to give it a try, tell them it was gritty fantasy, then woo them with the slick beauty of BW’s pacing tools - Say Yes, Intent vs. Task, creative failure.

EDIT: Having said that, I have written some love letters in the recent past.

I think I focused on Beliefs, emphasizing how the players can direct the story by choosing their own goals. And then I kinda paraphrased the cyclical nature of how in pursuing those Beliefs, you generate Artha and then spend that Artha to pass challenging skill tests and advance, thereby propelling the story forward and evolving your Beliefs. I also heavily emphasized how all die rolls are high-stakes in this game, how we won’t even touch the dice unless something directly relates to one of your Beliefs. This really drove home the point that the players direct the story.

I most certainly did not discuss much about the rules at all. Only a paraphrasing of the effects of the rules. I think this was the selling point.

as an untested noob, having just discovered BW on the internets (back in 06), to sell it to the my group i had them burn characters. we only had one book, so it took 4+ hours. they were so psyched to play that they forced me to do an opening scene that ended with a duel of wits. there’s something in the character burning process that really inspires people to play their characters. in between sessions, i work-shopped their beliefs by email (with friendly advice from Thor and Luke on the forum)

unfortunately, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out the rules and made lots of mistakes along the way, but the players were so attached to their beliefs and characters that for the most part, they dove into everything head-first and really tried to learn the rules. if you don’t manage that level of attachment and inspiration, it’s hard to get people to commit to getting past what some people find to be a frustrating learning curve. the players HAVE to love their characters so much that they are willing to commit to learning the rules.

the problem with that process is that it’s not the suggested or optimal way to learn/run BW - i’m just trying to be honest. i was lucky to have some enthusiastic players willing to follow me to death’s door for a good game, which it ended up being. the optimal way is to 1. run a one-shot scenario to get the rules, 2. then burn characters/situation, 3. then slowly explore each layer of the rules - basically, you’ve got to know your players level of enthusiasm and willingness to commit to learning something new

Well, you have one person that’s looked at the game and liked it. That’s great! Set up a time for you and your friend to play, and invite the other people from your group to join in. If they come, great. If they don’t, then no worries, they can continue playing what they like to play at another time.

The big thing to keep in mind is that if people don’t want to learn a new system, then any amount of forcing or cajoling is going to be met with resentment. If they want to try something different, they’ll show up. If they don’t, they won’t. Picture it like this: If there’s a regular Poker night, and you want to play Cribbage instead, then coming to the poker game with a cribbage board isn’t going to endear you to the Poker players. Setting up a separate night to play Cribbage seems a much better plan, because then the people coming actually want to play Cribbage.

Thanks for the advice all… More to come as I figure it out!

I started with excerpts from the Gold Edition itself; it is loaded with RPG enthusiasm. Stuff like “This is your game; live it, own it, bleed it.” (I may be misremembering)…that’s killer. Luke loves roleplaying, and conveying his love of roleplaying is a fantastic way to sell the game. I also had fun pointing out lifepaths and various spells (including the quirky references).

this is probably stating the obvious… Run “the sword” for your group.
It is usually the way I hook players to the game. You can talk about burning wheel all you like, but the best way, the only way, to get hooked to the game is playing it. "

after that, start up a game :slight_smile: you probably need 1 session to set up the campaign parameters and character creation. that is excluding creating believes and instincts!. you will need to take some time for those, especially the first time. I found out most new players need 2-3 campaigns to feel comfortable with the concept of believes and instincts. I blame traditional systems that induce laziness in players.

You know, I never did run The Sword. I tried pitching BW as I stated above, and I got some mild interest. Would probably have turned into a campaign if I had kept at it, though it might have just as easily annoyed them enough to never even try it.

What really got the ball rolling was how one day, when only half the group showed up for a Scion game, I happened to have my BWG book on me. I passed it around, and before I knew it, they were burning up some orcs. I ran a quick one-shot with a Fight scene at the end, and that was it, they were hooked.

So, yeah, I think that’d be the best advice I could give. Don’t talk about it much. Just show up with the book one day, and when you all have some free time, invite your friends to try burning up some characters. Just for fun. I’ll bet you anything that’d work.

One of the reasons we suggest running The Sword first is that it’s important that your group understand they’re not making a lifetime commitment with limited information. It’s a chance to take the game out for a spin and kick the towers without making a massive investment in time and energy that doesn’t pay off because someone doesn’t like it.

It’s much less stressful to experiment with a character that you know you’re only playing for the one session.

Additionally, it’s really a good idea to follow the advice we put in the game and only run it with the Hub and Spokes first. Don’t overwhelm your players all at once with every option. Let them digest the basics of intent and task, obstacles, Beliefs, Instincts, Artha, etc., before adding the more complex stuff.

Finally, if at all possible, try to get one of the members of your group on your side as an advocate. If you can get one other player interested in the game and able to provide some rules support for you, it helps tremendously.