New to Mouse Guard, question about skill advancement

I have decided to teach my boys how to play RPGs and Mouse Guard looked like a good game to use to teach them. I really like what I understand, my only complaint is that Luke used “fat bastard” to describe something bad happening. Yes, I am a prude when it comes to what I let me kids read. :slight_smile:

So, I am a bit confused on skill advancement. Do the characters mark every time that they use their skill in a conflict or is it only the first time? Or am I just confused on if they need one more to advance that they can choose to wait on the roll that they need.


Hi Lars,
I think the answer to your question is on page 228.


Thanks Luke, I read page 228 and got lost on page 229. I need the cliff notes version. I was just now making a character with my wife and thinking “Now where did I read that.” Give me time and I will have the book memorized and be able to turn to the page out of habit. I am looking forward to trying out the game, going to see how well my kids pick it up on Sunday.

How old are your kids?

9, 8 and 6. Their mother was playing D&D once when they were at her house and the two younger ones have wanted to play a RPG since. They are not that into Star Wars so I didn’t think that would keep their interest plus some of those rolls can get math intensive. My wife had heard of Mouse Guard and mentioned it to me so I looked it up and the reviews were all positive. They have read Fall and are excited to try out the game. The 6 yo was dressed as Liema on Thursday before going to his mom’s, asking “Can we play it right now?”

I have hopes for role playing to help with some life skills that I want to work with the boys to learn. So I am hoping that they now have the attention span to play now.

So far I am impressed. I love the story teller system so I like how rolls are handled in Mouse Guard. I liked the idea behind original Call of Cthulhu’s skill advancement, so once I figure out the ins and outs of skill advancement, I am going to really like that. I actually started out with another question and as I was writing it finally saw how the GM turn and Player turn works, so I answered my own question on that. Rereading skill advancement cleared that out. So I think I have the basics down and am ready to try my hand at running it for them.

I played with my nephews 8 and 6. The game itself was too much for the six year old. The eight year old did fine with the conflict mechanics when I had him confront a beetle-eating toad.

If you were playing one-on-one with the nine year old, you could probably play the game as written. But with three kids, I’d jettison everything except BIGs, versus tests and traits. The turn structure works, but the checks systems is probably too much.

Good luck!

I am not a big “roll” player so the dice rolls are only when I want to keep me in check. However, I think that they might want to roll the dice a lot so we will see. I am good at adapting to the players so I am not too concerned. I am most concerned with the 6 yo getting bored but I can just take over his character if the other two want to still play. I might start out doing things like I use to play but I like the conflict now that I am understanding them. I can keep track of the checks for them since I like the sharing aspect of it. (They have trouble taking turns.) Also, I could see my 9 yo being a rules nazi when he reads the rules. (He loves to read so I see him reading the rule book.) I am hoping to teach him to be more descriptive since he has trouble with creative writing in school.

Tonight, they are going to describe their characters to me and I will make the characters, I highly doubt that will keep any of their attention on the picking skills.

Many 7-9 year olds can handle more complexity than the check system presents. It’s best, however, to use tokens of some kind for checks and rewards.

My daughter was able to play MG at age 10 without issue… full-up rules and all. Of course, she’d been playing D&D and T&T at 7, so…

Also: I’m a teacher by training. (all I’m missing is student teaching on my masters in Ed.) I routinely use more complex tasks with 6 and 7 year olds by simply layering complexity in steps.

Well, we got the characters almost completed. We have done 17 of the “21 easy steps.” I was planning on assigning the skills but they did well picking the skills with my help when I explained what the skills did. The youngest want his concept to be “good with animals” and picked out the skills appropriate for his concept.

BTW, I am doing student teaching right now. I went back to finally get my undergrad degree. Might be partly why I want to use RPGs to help with areas that they need extra work doing. What area are you going to teach? I am doing secondary science.

Edit: Add an update about our first “session”

Overall, it went well. We broke the session up into two parts to give the 6 yo a break and allow me to double check the rules. The 8 yo asked when we would get to play again so that is a good sign. If nothing else, I might be running solo adventures for him.

I’m Elementary Classroom & Elementary Music.