First thoughts on Mouse Guard

This is really interesting. I bought it mainly for the mechanics, in particular to get the Conflict rules. The mice look fantastic, but I think I have trouble envisioning forest mammals as big monsters. Then again, I have a big soft spot for NIMH.

The “we’re definitely the good guys” ethic is somehow refreshing. :slight_smile:

I’m really interested in how the scene economy plays out. I’ve been wishing for a way to infuse BW to get a sense of a more ‘epic’ fantasy game (i.e. that covers more world time per session), and this looks interesting.

The way that, during the GM turn, players are really railroaded into tests is fascinating. (I’m referring to how players don’t get to debate other ways of solving the problem.) Does it feel cramped, or is it over so quickly that nobody minds? I bet it keeps things moving at a real clip.

I can just see the AP reports.

“Dude, it was like… snow, then river, then weasels - then scouting.”
“No way.”
“That reminds me of the time we had snow, river, then owls and scouting. Fuckin’ awesome.”
“Wish I’d seen that one.”


I’m curious whether the “we’re all in the same army doing the GM-provided mission” mold is instrumental to making this work, or whether it would work just as well with the GM making up the ‘mission’ obstacles in response to metagame player priorities. (e.g. “Let’s take on the Lich next!”)

I also like how Beliefs and Instincts have been placed on a continuum, with Goals in the middle - that makes a lot of sense, and the word ‘Belief’ works much better for it.

I like the standardized traits, and trait levels. The Nature idea is really cool, too. It’s very un-Monster Burner, and to me that’s a Good Thing, the flippage always bugged me. (e.g. “Rosy Cheeks (Cha), Ruddy Complexion (C-O), Redfaced (Dt)”)

And come to think of it, it’s very consistent with off-the-cuff NPC creation. Average Goblin Mook? Goblin Mook Nature 4.

Actually Nature is really neat, it’s like a kinder, gentler emotional attribute. It reminds me of … whatever the hell that stat was called in Vampire - Humanity? (Also - Bio-E in Palladium TMNT.)

It’s also really interesting to read a game written for an audience that doesn’t necessarily know what role-playing is. It catches me off guard. (e.g. “The players interrogate the GM, pretending that he is the spy.”)

I agree with another poster who worried about the term ‘checks’, except my complaint is ‘Obstacle’, which is both part of a mission and a test target number. Why not ‘Challenge’?

Another minor point, the third paragraph on 78 is confusing me. What does order have to do with it, when you’re choosing only one option?

I love love love skill advancement, I think that’s fucking brilliant. Gone are the test-difficulty charts and the required-tests charts - but on the face of it, it seems like it would have much the same effect. Players still need a mix of hard and easy tests to advance, and test lobbying happens a lot less given how checks work. This is one of the things I’d love to see back-ported to BW.

I also really, really like combat. Not two days ago, I was pondering writing to ask if anyone had combined RNC with bloody versus, so there was a form of combat that could integrate ranged attacks more smoothly. (Imagine a mounted lancer and an archer fighting a dragon - a very mixed-range combat.) And lo, here it is! I’m surprised at the form it takes, but I’m excited!

I really like the way the calendar year progresses based on a count of weather obstacles, that’s very clever.

More… as I read further!

I didn’t have so much problem with Ob vs Obstacle as Checks vs checks vs check…

The narrative structure works quite well, and my players don’t break it apart by obstacles, but by the scenes that occurred as a result of those obstacles. (I have found it’s much more obvious in BE, but still just as much blending into a story by the nature of memory. )The Recaps show the “memory blending” effect. The session recap really does refresh the memory, and make it memorable as a story.

My understanding is that if you are Hungry/Thirsty or Angry or Tired you must alleviate the lesser condition (as per recovery rules). If you are not any of the above and your Nature is taxed then you must recover a point of Nature. If you don’t have taxed Nature or the above conditions then you choose to take a test for advancement, pass or fail, for one skill or ability.

Ah, I see, that makes sense.

That bit really interests me too. I’m really interested to see how it plays out in Actual Play. The way it seems presented in the rules really is “GM sets up a challenge, tells the players what skills to roll (possibly provides them with an alternative) and then the player role”. I think the counter to that is the meta rule of table chatter. It doesn’t specifically say this, but I think the idea is that the players can provide an alternative solution to the challenge via table chatter.


Page 70:

“Players may suggest other tests, other ways to navigate the situation.”

Paka, you’re currently my favorite person on the planet! I totally missed that the first and the second time I read through the rules. Rules make total sense now.


The GM sets up the situation of the obstacle, and should have a “default” resolution in case the players don’t… but should let the players work it in other directions.

the Obstacles are “situations” not skill rolls, but should be easily translated into rolls.