This post on Bankuei's blog (which spawned a disagreement in the comments that I have no comment on myself) pointed me to this abomination of a thread on RPG.net, a place I rarely go, and this reminded me why.
Every other post in the thread was by "Evil Dr. Ganymede," to whom a copy of Burning Wheel apparently did unspeakable things when he was a child, because he spends more time and effort on RPG.NET trashing it than I can imagine the average ardent fan spends playing it. Clearly Burning Wheel is a big part of this man's life, and affected him deeply. It is his nemesis. He dreams of it, and wakes up screaming "CURSE YOU BURNING WHEEL, I SHALL NEVER ESCAPE YOUR DARK CLUTCHES BUT I WILL WARN OTHERS AGAINST YOU, AND DENY YOU FURTHER PREY!"
I assume this is the thread Matt was talking about here, with many headshaking comments posted since.
I'd always thought BW probably wasn't for me, tagging it as too "rules-heavy," but getting to talk to Luke about it at the con suggested to me that maybe that wasn't the case, and even if it was, I might find it an interesting game to read... And there was just something about the sheer gamer joy of Luke himself that made me want to own his game. "I must own this man's game, or at least learn who his dealer is for whatever stuff he smokes, sniffs, or ingests to get that way."
There are these strong personalities amongst indie game designers and fans. Many of them strong happy-making personalities. (So as not to embarrass anyone I am erasing a paragraph of examples of strong, positive personalities in the indie scene that I'd started writing. Awesome people don't need me telling them they're awesome. And people who are awesome that I don't quite know well enough to describe their awesomeness as well don't need to see the list and notice they were left off it and wonder why.)
From the very little I got to meet and observe him at the Forge booth, Luke is one of those really strong powerful positive personalities. He loves his game. He loves that people play it. He loves the people that play it. And it's a hardcore gritty bloody toothy shrieking badass game, and that makes the crazily positive energy of Luke all the more striking.
So Burning Wheel was on my list of "get that after I get home and am not so poor" games when I left the Con, and reading the thread with Evil Dr. Ganymede for page after page (I never got though the whole thing) brought it back to my mind...
I thought, "any game that has such power that even someone who hates it cannot break away from his obsession with it must surely be mine," and I ordered it.
Like they say, no such thing as bad publicity.
I await it in eager anticipation.