For my birthday this year I was very lucky to receive a copy of Mice and Mystics, a board game which is like D&D but with mice.
Review done! Phew that was short….
Alright, alright – all joking aside! We finally managed to pick a rainy day where we were all free to try out this great game, and I thought I would write a review for you all.
As I summed up (very briefly) in the beginning, the easier way to describe this game to people that haven’t played it before is a “campaign in a box”. You have all the components you need to run a campaign with your friends – miniatures, drawn up characters, maps, items, even a story to play through. All you need to do is read through the rules on how to play, pick which mouse you’re going to be and play the story!
The game is designed for 4 players running through chapters in a story, going through different rooms and fighting various “minions” to complete the objective within a set time limit. The minions follow easy rules to make their turns quick and simple for players, as it is designed to be played without a GM. Each chapter has the opportunity to earn ‘achievements’ in the game which gives you bonuses for the rest of the chapter (for example, there’s an achievement for defeating 4 roaches in one area).
Now it’s at this point I must confess we tweaked the rules a little to fit our group. The game calls for 4 players, and we regularly have 5 of us meet up to play games. Initially we ran a chapter with one of us playing a GM and controlling the enemies and controlling all the additional pieces (there is a *lot* to keep track of in this game). However for the only time in his entire life he somehow developed the ability to roll well, so after our spectacular failure at completing the chapter we decided to try it as a 5 person campaign. And to be honest I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work with that number – the difficulty is already ridiculous (the designer admitted that he wrote this game to only have a 25% success rate for completing each chapter), the only tweaking required (at least for chapter 1) was the number of players that can stand on a square. Once we agreed that we could work with 5 players on a square each scenario played out pretty well.
It took us a good hour or so to get to grips with the mechanics of the game, but once we had that it down we could focus on the game itself. The time just flew by when playing it, and as one of our group said to me after – it is one of the few campaign games where it’s easy to fully immerse into the game play and see everything unfold in front of you.
The game is really well presented, with detailed miniatures you can paint yourself if you so desire (so adorable!), and well made boards that map each location. The character cards are beautifully made with artistic drawings as well. And the story book is wonderfully illustrated as well, and written clearly so it is easy to progress through each chapter.
Overall I loved playing this game. Although we weren’t playing it exactly as intended, and we did play it wrong for the first couple of turns (teething problems that happen with all new games), we all had loads of fun. I didn’t even mind failing the campaign with our first run-through and was eager to play the same chapter again, a sure sign of a good game.
I highly recommend picking up a copy for your own group of adventurers. It’s a brilliant opener into playing role playing games if you are interested in trying it out, and even if you’re an old hand at them it’s a wonderful addition to any gamers collection.
If you want to see this game in action I highly recommend watching Wil Wheaton’s playthrough on TableTop – the first part is linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YquWfQ7eSU . It’s what got me interested enough to want a copy, and hopefully this article has sparked interest in getting your own copy. If you do, please let us know how you get on!
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