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Background

As newbies to RPGs, 4 friends and myself have decided to play Bunnies and Burrows, 2nd ed. It looked like it would be, and certainly has been a blast thus far (we played one session today). However, the time management for the game is entirely based on in-game minutes, and most often, involves multiple "timers" that I need to keep an eye on constantly, including in-game time/day/month. I worked out a quick and very dirty way of doing this, but it was a headache.

Examples

  • Eating takes 1min or 10min depending on food.
  • Mites can be attached to a rabbit, have a chance to be detected every 10min, and do 1 dmg/mite/hour. Variations of this exist for other pests/diseases
  • Every 10min/20min/1hr/6hr there is a chance of a wandering encounter depending on each rabbits current location and visibility
  • 1hr/day can be spent learning a language
  • Being at less than 0 energy causes 1 dmg/point of energy less than 0/hour
  • There is a character who is decidedly addicted to dandelions, has a chance of withdrawal kicking in after 1hr
  • Medicinal/poision effects can last 10min/30min/1hr/1day

My current method was to just tick off things as each minute passes creating a huge mess of pencil and eraser marks across multiple pages of notes. I can, and did, wing a lot of the timekeeping and keep loose track the counters, otherwise I found myself spending a lot of time keeping track of everything. However, the nature of the game is deeply rooted in these counters.

What can I do to make this easier to keep track of for myself? Is there a program or application that exists to keep track of arbitrary amounts of counters like this? Is there a well organized paper and pencil method of keeping track of this?

EDIT: Unfortunately I never had time to put in to an application to handle this, I started it but other projects took priority. And, the paper and pencil method of time keeping notes in the comments below only helped a little bit, keeping track of all of the elements of play got to be very stressful.

I've tried to play the game to exactly the rules stated in the manual, and I've tried playing fast and loose and only implementing things when I see fit. However both still had a lot of things to keep track of. I have since looked in to the GURPS edition of Bunnies and Burrows, and am currently planning a reboot of our session using that since right now we are at a good changeover point. Initial read through suggests that there is a lot more standardization of things (like fighting, no giant lookup tables to sift through for EVERY attack), and some elements cleaned up for ease of play.

It looks like this question might be dead at this point.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for adding the bunnies-and-burrows tag! I was sad to see it didn't exist, but it is an almost 40 year old game so its not surprising. \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Nov 2 '14 at 7:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The scale is different, but I think the problem and its solution might be the same as in this question: How to keep track of campaign timeline? Do the answers there help you? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 2 '14 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That is certainly an option, and was something I came across previously. However, there are some aspects of play that do mildly complicate it. If no other suggestions come up, it would be something I implement, or I might create my own application to keep track of this. I just hate re-inventing the wheel. \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Nov 3 '14 at 5:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let me just say that after reading your question this game sounds totally bonkers. In a good way. :) \$\endgroup\$ – fgysin reinstate Monica Nov 3 '14 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fgysin Its fantastic so far! It also helps that I am playing with a group of crazy people. The fat bun successfully pinned a ferret, and the proceeded to tie said ferret in to a knot. \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Nov 3 '14 at 20:10
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A simple time tracker may be what you need. I use this method in my Dungeons & Dragons games and it helps immensely. Basically, you take a sheet of grid paper and make a list of the different time intervals that you use within the game. For D&D (v3.5) it is ROUNDS, MINUTES, TURNS (this is a holdover from earlier editions that I use, but is not included in the Rules as Written; a TURN lasts 10 minutes), HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS, & MONTHS.

Beside each time unit entry I put a collection of boxes. Since there are 10 ROUNDS to 1 MINUTE, I put 10 boxes beside ROUNDS. Since there are 10 MINUTES to 1 TURN, I put 10 boxes beside MINUTES. 6 TURNS to 1 HOUR will require 6 boxes beside TURNS and so on. It looks something like this:

ROUNDS [][][][][] [][][][][]
MINUTES [][][][][] [][][][][]
TURNS [][][] [][][]

Every time one of these increments occurs, I check off 1 box. When one line is full, I tick off 1 box on the next line and erase the full line and start over. For instance, if we had just gone through a 10 ROUND combat, I would check off 1 MINUTE box and then reset the line for ROUNDS. After 10 MINUTES had elapsed, I would check off the box for 1 TURN.

You don't have to keep track of everything in 1 ROUND increments, though. If it takes twenty minutes to go from point A to point B, you simply check off two TURNS. I hope this is helpful to you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, welcome to the site. I applied some formatting to your answer to make it a little clearer. You might consider, for example, swapping all-caps for **bold** or something; might be easier to read. Anyway, I recommend some term other than “turn” for your 10-minute blocks, since the game rules use the word “turn” to refer to a single character’s actions during a round. Using the same word for two very different periods of time seems like it would confuse things. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Mar 1 '15 at 18:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is a similar concept to what I was using previously. However, I don't need to just keep track of how much time has passed, I need a quick way to have timers that I can easily create, use, and destroy. For example, mites, as I noted above. If one player gets mites at minute 1, and the other at minute 8, I need to roll a check for each one every 10 minutes after their infestation, and every hour deal damage. I need a way to indicate that every X minutes I need to attend to an event. Some events recur infinitely, some are one off, and many are in the middle of those two. \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Mar 4 '15 at 16:04
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Short of an entirely custom solution, your best course might be to invest in a dedicated interval timer.

For example, the Seconds Pro app for Apple devices (one I found after a few minutes with my search engine) allows you to set up multiple types of timers on your device. Of course this presumes you have an electronic device available and present.

Another reasonable solution would be a pool of coloured glass beads. Different colours can represent either different time intervals or different things that are being tracked. This takes up a bit of room on the table but is probably easier to manipulate and take in at a glance than a mass of pencil marks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately this times in real-world minutes as far as I can tell. I need to be arbitrarily advance time, generally by one minute. A generic interval timer was something I went looking for, but I couldn't find one that really fit my needs. \$\endgroup\$ – Kris Bahnsen Nov 23 '14 at 6:50
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Given my discussion with the author of this post I don't think this solution will be entirely what he is looking for; however, I often use the reminders app on my phone for situations like this. (assuming devices are allowed) I stack the list with things that need to be checked most often at the top and least often at the bottom. once a check no longer needs to be made you can just clear it off the list. Also you can organize them with tags for ease of reading. I.e. one min checks are in red, five min checks are in blue etc.

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