Of Mice and Mystics
The other evening I convinced Mrs Von D to play a game of Mice & Mystics with me. Now The Lady is not much of a strategy gamer – by her own admission – so this was stretching it slightly but I was pretty sure that the cute theme of mice adventuring a la Secret of Nimh, and the fact that the game was co-operative rather than competitive would sway her.
Turns out I was right and she enjoyed it enough that she wants to play again.
(Could this be the gateway? will she be rolling d20s this time next year?)
(I very much doubt it)
Anyway, the game is a charming dungeon-crawler that plays out the fairytale story of some humans transformed into mice and who must rescue their kingdom from an evil witch queen.
I won’t go into a fully detailed review here as I’m sure many others have done that already over on Boardgamegeek. Suffice it to say that the gameplay is fun and accessible. I like storytelling games and this delivered in spades. We played through the first scenario in the quest book and sadly failed to complete it due to rather a bit of bad luck I feel (half of our search cards were treacheries, when they account for only about 5% of the deck I reckon).
Although we lost by running out of time – measured by filling up a clock space with little cheese wedge counters – we are both keen to replay it so we get to find out how the story continues. Although the rules were simple to pick up, and Plaid Hat do a great rule overview video on their website, it’s worth me going back over them to ensure we played everything correctly.
Things I like about the game:
The story. The Sorrow and Remembrance campaign quest book is larger than the rulebook and there’s a fair amount of reading to do. This was fine for us as I quite enjoy reading aloud anyway and the Lady and I particularly enjoyed the story.
The production values. The miniatures are really lovely sculpts and all the components and production are top notch, with beautiful illustrations throughout.
The gameplay. The rules were simple, fun and quick to pick up. Yet there’s enough variety from a special ability cards and an extensive equipment deck to keep things varied for a while.
Things I wasn’t so sure about:
The ticking of the cheese clock. In our first game we only seemed to get about halfway through the level before we ran out of time on the cheese clock. When a villain rolls a cheese on any one of its dice, you place a cheese wedge on the clock and this seemed to fill up a little too fast for our liking. I feel the need to re-read the rules to check we were doing things correctly. I was surprised that in the very first mission, we failed to get half way. They usually like to ease you in gently!
Rules ambiguity. The rules for the most part are concise but we did have a few ambiguities to house-rule when it came to interactions of abilities and treachery cards. I’ll see if there’s a FAQ to clear some of that stuff up. And a rules re-read may also help. It’s only a minor niggle though.
Now the reason I’m posting about the game here on the blog is that, although it’s not a tabletop wargame, it does feature some rather lovely plastic miniatures that are really crying out for a touch of paint. Especially the hero mice so it will be easier for players to distinguish them on the board.
Oh and of course I’ve declared my love of Ameritrash boardgames here before so my talking about it may not be such a surprise.
I shall have to post up a review of Zombicide next. Zombies are slightly less cute than mice.