The game is not easily found at local book stores or even local gaming stores and needed to be ordered online from a few different book sellers to get the 3 core books. Once they arrived I was surprised to see how small the books are. Instead of the large 8.5" X 11" trim size that every other RPG system I own is manufactured at these books are shorter and fatter at around 5.5" X 8.5". The core book, pictured left, is a new updated edition of two books combined in one. It explains the core rules of the game as well as adding the mechanics for creating a character. This new edition is called the Gold Edition. At almost 600 pages it's not a quick read. I have not read it cover to cover.
The game uses a simple system conflict resolution system with only common six sided dice. Character creation is more in depth then D&D or other RPGs I've encountered and requires creating a characters full background, history, desires, acquaintances etc. Characters in Burning Wheel are everything. The character burner, the section of the book that gets you up to speed with character creation, does not get going until page 77. The book itself recommends that first time players of Burning Wheel read the first 75 pages and then "burn" a character. After that you and some friends should start playing the game.
I myself have not actually played The Burning Wheel yet. I tend to do more reading of game books, and guides, (especially the complex ones like this) then actually playing. Short games of D&D, Heroclix, Monsterpocalypse, and some home brewed stuff the kids cook up tend to be the norm at my house. Still reading and absorbing other gaming guides is fascinating for me and The Burning Wheel is no exception. This is a very well thought out game created by someone who obviously loves to game. think of it as the ultimate home brewed system taken to the Nth degree and published.
There are no adventures for Burning Wheel and the book states early on that there are already so many great settings and adventures out there. Can this system use other adventures from old and new D&D as well as other adventures from Dark Heresy, Gamma Word, etc? My guess is yes. The system seems to be heavy on the story/RPG aspect of the game. Game mechanics and task resolutions are well thought out and constructed for a GM to run a game using other game adventures as source material and overlaying Burning Wheel mechanics over top. I find this system completely fascinating. All the gamers, GM and players alike, are encouraged to come together to decide on what type of story everyone wants to play. The core book even lists fiction, non fiction, games, films, and music in the back of the book. The rules too are not listed as mechanics that must be adhered to entirely, but rather decided upon by everyone. varying levels of complexity are encouraged. If you want to play a simple game with the core dice mechanics, burned characters, and a GM taking you through a heavily story based game, that is fine. The core book has expansive rules that can be used or ignored. More than enough is contained that you will never feel something was left out. The back of the book has entire in depth indexes to help you quickly find anything in the lage book you might suddenly consider needing to refer to.
The two other books I picked up from this system are Monster Burner and Magic Burner. Monster Burner is a Monster Manual of sorts. In addition to listing monsters, it aids in their creation, (burning) just like when you create your player character. Magic Burner builds on concepts from the core book and the monster book and expands on them adding new systems of magic, modifications, a new attribute, guidelines for creating your own magic systems, and new character lifepaths for wizards.
The second two books are obviously not necessary to get playing but they seemed to fall into the trilogy of core rulebooks that most RPG systems have.
In conclusion The Burning Wheel is a RPG game system that stands out amongst all other RPGs. It is obviously a labor of love and is so well constructed and thought out that it reads more as an intimate bible then a game. If you and your friends are creative enough to bring your own stories to the tabel or have the will to convert existing material that you always wished could be a RPG but does not exist then The Burning Wheel is for you. Be prepared to do some heavy reading as the book is not written for kids. My guess on the reading level is 12 and up. Also this would be a great gift for any gamer as it is something they just might not have already stumbled across in their travels.
Possible Michael Clayton Realm + Conquest,
& Burning Wheel Connection?
& Burning Wheel Connection?
After seeing Michael Clayton I was so taken with the film and the book Realm + Conquest in the story that I went looking for it online. To my dismay it does not exist. The writer/director of the film Tony Gilroy created the book, card game, and computer images in the film to fictionalize real life books and games he and his son played and connected together with. Realm + Conquest in the film are made up likely from source material such as Magic the Gathering card game, Pokemon, various video games, and RPGs that already exist in the world–stuff most young kids tend to play.
Even side by side comparisons of art from the two books show similar pen and ink styles.
I'm glad I stumbled upon this possible connection and as I further read Burning Wheel and re-watch Micael Clayton I will add more information or insights I have as they come to me.
Thanks for reading.