Defining conflicts and Mouse Guard (the comic)

First, before I post my question, let me say how much I am enjoying Mouse Guard. I haven’t been so excited about a game in…well, I can’t tell you how long. It’s a thing of beauty and I can’t wait for the hardcover to arrive!

So on to my question(s). I understand that one of the earliest steps in any Conflict is defining the type of Conflict (Fight/Argument/Chase, etc.). So, inspired by a Story Games thread about handling conflicts in Mouse Guard I’d like to see if someone could walk me through the some of the following questions, all of which use a situation in from Chapter Four: The Dark Ghost as the model.

A major moment of conflict in Chapter Four involves Kenzie, Saxon and Celanawe. Kenzie and Saxon have been taken captive by Celanawe. In the conflict Celanawe is threatening Kenzie and Saxon with torture (and trying to get them to confess that they have stolen his axe) while Kenzie and Saxon are trying to convince Celanawe that they are not thieves and that there is a conspiracy against the guard.

Okay so using this as an example to be modeled by the game, question #1 is: What type of conflict should this be defined as? It seems pretty clear that it should be an Argument (but read on).

Question #2: What would state the goals of the teams to be? I’d suggest Celanawe’s goal is “Get these mice to confess that they’ve stolen my axe and tell me where it is!” and Kenzie and Saxon’s is something like “Convince Celanawe of our innocence and let us go (and perhaps getting him to join us)!” Does that sound about right?

Question #3 (the biggie): How do you handle, however, Saxon’s attack on Celanawe during the conflict (with the fork: a failure) and Celanawe’s attack on Saxon (with the pan: a success)? This would seem to violate Mouse Guard’s rule that conflicts cannot be mixed (if it’s a fight, it’s a fight; if it’s an argument, it’s an argument, etc.).

As this is a pretty key moment of drama in the book, I’m pretty sure that Luke has a ready-to-hand answer for how to model it according to the rules without violating the rule against mixing conflicts. I’ve got some ideas of my own for how to do this, but I’d rather hear from Luke or someone else with real experience with the game before I voice them.

Thanks again, Luke for a great game. I’m really looking forward to trying this out with my nieces and nephews over the holidays!

Re q3: I’d handle that as a Maneuver… knocking a die or two off of Celanawe… Mght even let them use Fight instead of persuade.

If they’d lost, they could have demanded an angry and/or injured in the concessions.

As for kids: my 9yo daughter had a blast playing with us. She’s adopted Sadie, and renamed her Sally…

Hey Aramis, thanks for your thoughts; they’re certainly food for consideration. Glad to hear that it went well with your daughter playing. Was this her first roleplaying game experience?

While I will definitely consider what you’ve proposed, I’m hoping Luke will wander in here and share his thoughts.

No… At 7, she was playing Basic D&D (fighter only), and while not doing well then, she’ grown up with RPG play around her. With Mouse Guard, she was able to be a contributory member of the party, and not just as a sword for hire.

She also is an avid boardgamer.

1: Argument

2: Sounds good.

3: Roleplaying. It’s like the protagonist in film noir slapping the femme fatale. Also, Intimidation and Promises weapons on page 120.

Hope that helps.



I had a feeling that it would be something like that. So it’s mostly a bit of narrative embellishment/color that gets added while we’re all engaged in an Argument.

Right. Off to go play MG over the holidays. Hope to have some good AP to report when I get back.



Ok Eric have you got back yet and if so whats the verdict? Did the game go well?

I have a 10 year son and this might just be the game to bring him in on.


Hi all,

Sorry to be out of touch, but (sadly) I have nothing to report as I never got a chance to run this over the holidays. This had to do with some problems with my laptop (where the pdf of the game resides) that are now sorted out but that meant I had no access to it over the holidays.

The next opportunity I’ll get to be with that branch of the family won’t be for some time, so I’m afraid any reports from me will have to wait.

I am hoping to try out one of the sample missions soon with just my wife and daughter, but as I’ve got a bad case of “finishing the dissertation” at the moment I can’t be sure just how soon “soon” will be.