Forming enemy teams in combat

There’s something I’m not sure I understand with forming teams in combat. Let’s say three mice are facing a snake. Each of these form one team and everything’s simple. But what if three mice face nine weasels? Obviously, the mice will be outnumbered, but what if they really want to fight anyway? How many teams do the weasels form? Do they form teams of three like the mice, or do they count as only one team? If the mice decide to fight an enemy that is clearly superior to them in number, should the GM divide them in a large number of teams (making the fight nearly impossible to win) or should he put them all in one team (making the fight way too easy)?

If the nine weasels just want to stomp the three mice, then sure, they could just stick together and stomp them. But as a GM I’d find it much more interesting to split them into three groups of three and have each group set separate goals. I do this in my scenario “Defend the Scent Border,” which has five weasels in a group of three and a group of two. The bigger group is trying to kidnap a scientist who knows the scent border formula. The smaller group is trying to burn down all the town’s crops. The PCs will be pretty likely to succeed and be able to stop one group, but if they want to stop both groups they have to split up…


Easy? A team of nine weasels is going to be a monster. They can muster 8 helping dice per roll, including disposition. Ouch!

Anyway, the book recommends the GM divide his characters into a number of teams equal to the players’ teams if possible.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about helping dice… you’re right. The mice are gonna get crushed. Still feels weird to me that two snakes are only a tiny bit stronger than one snake when they’re teamed together. Thank you!

In my [-Planning-and-Play-Summer-1153"]Summer 1153]([MG) session, I had four crows ransacking a wrecked caravan face off against my patrol of five mice. Knowing I had a large group of players who would have to split into two teams (as per page 100) for any conflict, I chose the opposition such that it would make for a good two team vs. two team conflict.

More or less, I’m saying that I agree with Matt above. Also, I’m noticing that page 100 reads “The GM’s characters form teams to oppose the players’ teams.” Determining participants and teams is the second step in playing out a conflict (see p. 97), so it seems to me the players get to pick their battle when confronted with more than one opponent.