Why break Ties in your Opponents Favor?

The reason is still opaque to me - why would you want to break a tie in your opponents favor?

To earn two checks.

Because a tie is not going to get you what you intended anyway, so break it and get two checks. And if your GM is any good, he’ll make failure interesting.

And the check economy is about gaining freedom to pursue your own agendas in the player phase. So in conflicts, if you have a good shot, sacrifice the die on the roll, and if you tie, break it, lose the point of dispo, and gain two more. It’s possible to still win and have everyone with 5+ checks at end of session. I’ve even seen someone walk away from a single conflict 7 checks richer.

Hmmm… I see. I can see how the future checks would be helpful, but it seems counterintuitive to lose on purpose. I will trust that it makes for a richer roleplaying experience and not knock it until I try it. Thanks for the explanations!

Bam, you said it! It comes down to the idea that failure is fun, not terrible.


The first few times, you may need to offer it to the players. Remember, you can make failure sting less by stating the failure branch as part of the task or at the tie, ie: Intent is to circumvent the river obstacle, task is scouting to find a branch-to-branch connection across, “Ok, so you tied; if you reroll and make it, you’ll get across before the hawk returns, if not, you’ll face the Hawk… Or would you like to face the hawk and earn a couple checks?”

A lot of games make a system of disadvantages or limitations a way to gain extra points for advantages, but during play the player pretty much just hopes the don’t come up, they were just a way to buy something else.
In Burning Wheel & Mouse Guard, a trait or belief is there for its own sake, and the game system backs up a player who chooses to bring up their limitation as part of an interesting character ESPECIALLY when it matters most.

My challenge at this point is to highlight those options during the game for the players. It might take some time for me to get my head around it, but it sounds interesting - much more so than simple success or failure.

I played twice this weekend with my 10 and 8 year-old. We went with the pregen characters for “find the grain peddler” and it was okay. Clearly my own fault. I struggled a bit remembering the rules and wasted time flipping through the book. My 8 year-old was having difficulty getting into it, but they both said they liked it enough to give it another go. The next night they used characters they created and we used a mission of my own creation. The light came on for my 8 year-old girl and she was brilliant. She was quick with ideas and even had a voice for her character. My 10 year-old is a natural. We decided he will alternate the GMing with me. This was by far the best roleplaying experience I’ve had to date.

I ran some demo games at my FLGS for a pre-teen game day event, and I had two groups of natural roleplayers in the age 8-11 range; they catch on faster than the teens I’ve run games for, and they don’t suffer the hang-ups of my generation still carrying around the baggage of trying to play AD+D when we were 10.

Highlighting the branching isn’t quite standard for Mouse Guard (it is for Burning Empires, tho’), but really helps players get over the fear of failure.