Review of Burn 2d6

Burn 2d6 shows that there are lots of ways to make a 2d6 system interesting and engaging, and it includes four totally different pulp action settings to outfit to the type of genre you want to explore! Check it out here, and happy gaming!

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Burn 2d6 great for ages 8+

I’d recommend Burn 2d6 for about ages 8+ since this has a base of a rules-lite mechanic, but there is some nuance to track. This, however, I think makes it great for 8+ because it is easy to pick up the core mechanic, and then there’s opportunity for strategy beyond that (which I know I loved getting into with board games when I was around that age).

The settings can also be easily outfitted to any age since they give a general location or world (or space system) to explore and let you fill in the story details. You’re given an overview and then have control to include or remove what you want versus being in a rigid storyline. And there are four settings, so, for my kid, I would probably elect to do the space or superhero setting but maybe not the gangster one.

art from Burn 2d6

Settings for Burn 2d6

Like I just said, Burn 2d6 includes four settings, and they each have some cool special features. These settings cover: The Pulp Era, Space Opera, Myth & Magic, and Supers.

They come with a description of the scene that could include history about the era or fantasy lore, plus there is a unique mini-system for each area. For The Pulp Era, it’s investigations, for Space Opera, it’s running spaceships, for Myth & Magic, it’s spells, and for Supers, it’s superpowers. This gives you the opportunity to try out the different settings in a way that feels right for that story while still using the same core 2d6 base.

These areas also come with unique character types, themed character sheets, new equipment lists, NPCs, and a map with descriptions of each of the locations listed.

Art from Burn 2d6

Your character in Burn 2d6

To create your character in Burn 2d6, you’ll start by choosing one of the character types specific to the setting that you’re playing in. So, for Space Opera, you might pick a space rebel challenging the galactic empire, but for Myth & Magic, you might pick a knight.

Each setting has over a dozen to choose from, and they each have a premade stat block that has skill points already spread out, a starter equipment piece, and some general backstory, so it is REALLY easy to start with a premade character. You just write the details in your character sheet, and you are all set.

Mechanics in Burn 2d6

The core 2d6 mechanic

Before talking about the “Burn” part of the system, I’m going to cover the “2d6” part of the system. At it’s core, Burn 2d6 revolves primarily around rolling two six-sided dice, adding them together, and then comparing it to one of your four stats (Move, Heart, Eyes, Soul).

You want to roll UNDER the number for the stat to succeed, which means that higher valued skills will have a higher chance of success.

When something becomes more challenging, like it’s a boss fight or it’s something that is particularly hard to find, the game guide can add d6’s to the dice pool. For something a bit more challenging, you might need to roll 3d6 instead of 2d6… and still try to roll under your stat. For something VERY challenging, you might need to roll 5d6!

art from Burn 2d6

Burns, surges, and helpers

With those bigger rolls, it helps to have some tools to help reduce the number of dice being used. You can do this by burning the dice, using a surge, or getting some help.

With Burn, you can elect to take damage to your stat in exchange for reducing your current dice roll by 1d6 for each point of damage. This is like a wizard dumping A LOT of mana into one spell to make sure it works, but then draining that mana for later. It’s a high risk/high reward scenario because if you incur too much damage, you could take some heavy penalties or may eventually not be able to take actions, AND it is a great way to get players thinking about strategy.

Surge is kind of like a single freebie Burn that lets you reduce the dice pool without taking damage, but once it’s spent… it is really hard (and sometimes a bit painful for your character) to get back. The only want to recover Surge is by rolling ALL 6’s on one of your rolls. This means that for 2d6, you’d have to roll 12 total, which is going to probably fail most stat checks. It’s an opportunity to fail forward and get a bit back after a very tough roll.

Burn 2d6 also sets up for helpers! There’s rules for using sidekicks (for if you’re playing solo) and also mechanics for helping out your friends by taking on a Burn to temporarily add to another player’s stat and give them better odds. Helper rules are always a big win in my book since they create a clear incentive for teamwork and give an easy way for supporting tough rolls while still having some impact that requires a thoughtful decision.

Overall thoughts on Burn 2d6

I thought this was a fun system to try out, and I liked seeing something with some strategy and variation built off of a 2d6 core. It seems like there’s a lot to learn, but it really was a rules-lite system that just happened to offer quite a few options, and I enjoyed checking out the different settings. Having multiple genre options that are fully set up with maps and characters is awesome when you’re crunched on time and need a quick game to run or are new to running games (or want to train a young game guide to take up the mantle). Overall, I liked getting to check out Burn 2d6, and I think it’s both a solid system and a great adventure starter!

Find a copy of Burn 2d6

You can find a copy of Burn 2d6 in both digital and physical print here on DriveThruRPG!

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