Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2021/06/review-bunnies-and-burrows-3rd-edition.html
Bunnies & Burrows has always been one of those games that elicits a variety of responses from gamers and non-gamer alike. Most often it is "really? there is a game of that?"
I will admit I was and am a fan of the original 1976 Edition. I never really got to play it, save for one time, but that was it. It was fun and I wrote a review for it.
I did, however, spend a lot of time back in 2007 rewriting the Bunnies & Burrows article on Wikipedia. Not only was I and others able to get the article to Good Article status, but I also had a Furry Advocacy group offer to send me money because of it. I just asked them to donate the money to the Humane Society. I didn't want my edits called into question if I Was doing them for pay. I was doing it to further my own RPG knowledge.
So when the Kickstarter for the new edition from Frog God Games came up, well yes, I had to back it. They delivered it and it looked great. And I promptly put it on my shelf never to be seen again. I was cleaning up some shelves to make room for more Traveller books when I found it. I figure I should give it a go again.
If you have never checked out this game then I say do yourself a favor and remedy that. This is a great piece of the RPG past and should not go ignored.
I am going to review Bunnies & Burrows 3rd Edition from Frog God Games. For this review, I am considering both the PDF and the Print version I received from Kickstarter. There is a Print on Demand version, I have not seen it.
Bunnies & Burrows, 3rd Edition
Bunnies & Burrows 3rd Ed comes to us from Frog God Games. Maybe more well known for the Swords & Wizardry line of books than rabbits, this game is still a solid contender for the Old School market. More so I say than some other games that people think of as "Old School."
In this game, you play rabbits. Not anthropomorphic rabbits. Not mutant rabbits. But normal, everyday, common in your backyard rabbits. If this feels a bit "Watership Down" then you are right on track.
Part I: Traits and Characteristics
Characters have 8 base traits, Strength, Speed, Intelligence, Agility, Constitution, Mysticism (was Wisdom in 1st and 2nd Ed), Smell, and Charisma. Different Professions (Runners, Spies, Shamans...) all have a primary trait. Traits are rolled like D&D, 3d6, and the bonuses are similar.
Every profession gets some special abilities. So for example the Fighter gets a double attack and a killing blow. It is assumed that your starting character is a rabbit or bunny.
There are other choices too, Raccoon, Jackrabbit, chipmunk, skunk, porcupine, opossum, armadillo, and gray squirrel. With the examples given, other small furry wild animals could be chosen.
Part II: Playing the Game
This covers the rules of the game and more importantly, the sorts of things you can do in the game. Covered are important topics like Habitats, Grooming, Sleep, Foraging, Diseases, and dealing with other animals and at worse, Man-Things.
There is a huge section on encounters and how basically everything out there is harmful to you. There are predators, humans, dangerous terrain, rival animals, and the ever-present search for food and water.
There are many sample scenarios and even a few mini-games to play.
Part III: For the Gamemaster
The last part covers the last half of the book. It has a lot of information on setting up a game, how to roleplay, and stats of all sorts. A lot of rival and predatory creatures are also listed in what would the "monster" section of other games.
There are a bunch of maps, scenarios, and encounters all throughout the book. There is no unified theme, nothing that ties them all together, other than "survive as a little thing in a world full of bigger, scarier things."
There is certainly a lot of Role-playing potential in that.
B&B makes you feel like it could all be happening in your backyard. That while we Man-Things sit on our decks and grill our burgers and drink out ices tea, there is a world not that far from us distance-wise, but one that is as different and far away as we can get. A world of survival just under our noses.
The game is quite attractive in terms of color and art. It looks fantastic.
There is a feel from this, I am going to call it the S&W effect, that I didn't feel when reading the original game. This is a polished game that is trying to feel old. As opposed to an old that was trying to feel polished.
The original B&B looks cheap by today's standards but it was such an "out there" idea for the time that it felt more important than say the representation it got in RPG circles. This new B&B has a similar feel, but maybe lacks a little of the gravitas of the original.
In any case, it is a fun game, and one every gamer would at least try. I don't think you can call yourself an old-school gamer unless you have played it at least once.