Still A Little Confused About Building Scenes

Thought I’d get some advice about how building scenes work. I just sent this e-mail off to my group, to clarify how we’re going to run building scenes and tests:

Also, here’s some hard and fast rule about tests (i.e. rolls). Everyone makes 3 tests in a session, OR initiates a conflict. Those tests needn’t be used in one scene but are always considered part of your building scene. As per the rulebook, scenes can have multiple associations (for example, one scene can be two people’s building scenes, or a building scene piggy-backs on a interstitial scene), so the fact those tests are intermingled with other scenes is no biggee. Yet, if you use a test in someone else’s scene, it has to service that person’s scene. (You could, of course, make that scene intermingled with your own building scene, making that one scene count as two scenes).

The only scene you can make building tests without them “counting” is when they are used in a conflict scene (and that’s only in service to that conflict, such as making a bazooka with a Resources test or a soldier with a Circles test). Of course, then you don’t get any building tests for the maneuver, in any scenes. This means, you can’t build and also start a conflict in a maneuver. You can use a building test for conflict, but you either have to push that conflict off until next maneuver, or be involved in someone else’s conflict scene.

Does this look right?

I also have a some questions about Circles, but I’ll save it for another post.

That’s pretty close Zoom*,

For example, in the game I ran this weekend, the smuggler character was in the middle of his building scene – rigging a shuttle to explode. He rigged it, but was caught due to a failed Circles roll. It was his second roll for his builder, but I immediately jumped in and initiated a conflict. As his hammer was pulling away from the station, I dispatched some assault shuttles to pick him up. I asked him if he wanted a Firefight to get away and he was like “Hell, yes!”

One minor quibble, you can use your building scene to get into fights and blow stuff up, but you have to be able to resolve that stuff in one to three rolls. If you can’t, you do indeed push the major conflict off to the next maneuver.

Also, in the book it states that each side has an optional second conflict per maneuver. I don’t think I clearly state that this conflict can be used by anyone on the side, regardless of which previous scene they took.

Does that help,

*Real name, please!

It does help. In a previous post I mentioned how little time we had to play (about 3 hours) and you said we should stick to one conflict per side. And we’re having difficulty fitting that in! (I’ve only initiated 1 conflict in 2 game sessions, and it was really tacked-on) So, no extra conflicts for our game.

And my name is Steve.

Hi Steve,

Ok, once you’re familiar with the rules, with three hours of play you should be able to comfortably get a maneuver done.

Be patient, take it slow and make sure everyone gets their turn in the spotlight. How many players do you have again?


There are five players. Although last Wednesday night we only had two players and had to push it to get through everything.


Push it how?

We had some pretty leisurely scenes … we had a lot of metagame discussion … we had a bit of confusion about the rules. Plus, with half the gaming group missing, my conflicts weren’t really viable anymore.

We meet at 7:00, the first conflict was at 8:30, and the second one was at 9:30 (a Psychic Duel, with us spending a lot of time looking up rules). We finished around 10:20.

So, this week I believe we’ll have everyone present, and see if we can’t get through a big chunk of it. We still haven’t done a Firefight, so I’m suspecting that’s gonna take a bunch out of one of our maneuvers. I already said to the group that it will likely be a lot of fumbling for the first few sessions, with us finally deciding whether we want to continue at the end of the phase or not.

This is common when approaching these types of games for the first time. It should speed up with familiarity.

On saying that, from my experience with cooperative games, try and make the scenes snappy. Colour scenes should be short and focussed on getting whatever point they need to get across. They are mostly there just to fill the gaps between the conflicts. Build scenes should be pretty pacy and advance quickly to testing the stated intent. This will help build the break neck pace and tension that makes BE what it is.

One piece of advice is that once the player sets the intent for the scene, it should give everyone a clear idea of where to push the scene and they should feel free to do so as hard as they can. Don’t wait for the other players to set up an argument, start one yourself :slight_smile: This can take some getting used to but a player who aggressively supports or opposes another player’s intent is actually helping them by giving them something to bounce off.

When we first played PTA and WGP we found that players waiting for the GM to create the antagonism. This is certainly a part of the role but due to the cooperative rules, everyone should feel more able to race in creating exciting scenes full of conflict.

Another way to look at it is that a player has a lot fo authority to add things into a scene. They should be honest about what they want to achieve. Once this is set then the GM should feel free to oppose this using tests and conflicts. Overall, there should be less time wasted on trying to earn the intent and justifying things as the PC creation and rules have done that for you for the most part. Eventually you should feel freedom to leap into trying stuuf, whilst relying on the rules to present the opposition.

Skywalker’s right. Push back, firmly, gently and quickly.