number of players

Hi all -

I just received Mouse Guard 2e box set. Wow what a nice product! I had posted on EnWorld a few days ago (I hadn’t discovered this forum) that I was going to likely be playing with my two kids (9 & 12) for starters with me as GM. The person who replied to my thread made it sound like it’s not suitable for small groups due to the need to share resources. This goes against a lot of other posts on the web at various place and in reviews where people seemed to be happily playing 1 on 1 with another person. In the RPG manual it says the game requires 2 to 6 players which implies that 1 on 1 (and for that matter 1 on 2) is viable?

Can anyone shed some light on gameplay with 1-2 players and a GM? Is this frowned upon?

Also totally off topic did 2nd edition box set do away with the plastic mice minis? My box didn’t come with them.

Thanks for any help!

If you read through the rules thoroughly, you’ll begin to notice a pattern. More dice. And then more dice. Roleplaying aside, a lot of what you are working towards is getting more dice on to the table, which you achieve by each of you telling a story.

A very easy way to get More Dice is for another player to help (skills and abilities: How Can I Help?) or offer advice (wises: I am Wise). With 4 players and 1 GM, each player has a chance to very easily gain 3 extra dice to any roll they perform (providing the other players are willing to accept the risks and are qualified).

So with just a player and a GM, you miss out on a LOT of extra dice. This makes the game a lot harder than it would be with a larger group.

There is also another problem: Without other players to discuss what is happening, it becomes a conversation directly between the GM and their player. The pace of the story is lightning fast and the GM will need to prepare a lot of material or the game may be surprisingly short. The more people you add to a game, the slower it runs, which means you don’t need to spend so much time writing notes before the session. Different players will have a range of ideas and more discussion will happen.

It’s perfectly fine to have a game with only a GM and a player, but I would recommend it for an experienced GM. At least two players will let you find your way before trying a solo session.

Lastly: There are no minis for 2nd Edition. (You don’t need minis to play Mouse Guard.)

I think that you can run a game for just one person or many. It is helpful to have been a GM before, so that you can learn to scale for group size, but anyone can do it as long as you use a slow pace at first. That will also help you to not need as much content for a long game if you are taking more time at first.

The young age of the players may mean that you will need to guide them along much more. Check out Ghost Crawlers Videos Here:

This helped me a lot in getting down the flow of the game. They are all very good, but keep in mind that everyone flubs a rule from time to time and this game is not an exception to that. That being said, you will learn to correct for what you dont know as you play. The best advice that has been given to me is to just start playing and to have fun while learning the system with each other. It really is the best teacher.

As far as helping dice are concerned. Do not let the Teamwork rules on Pages 93-94 confuse you from the Teamwork in Conflict rules on page 103. For teamwork it seems that every player can contribute a die to the acting mouse unless it is for a single action in a conflict. In that case only two mice may add dice to the pool. This will not be much of an issue for you, as you only have two players, but if you ever have characters you are controlling act in a conflict for the patrols benefit, then you may run into a limitation with this rule.

I hope this helps and if you ever want to coloaborate on ideas then you can find me on twitter Neil Rickmond @fox7p0. I have used twitter at times to ask Luke Crane (@Burning_Luke) to clarify rules that I have trouble with. I try not to ask him too much, and have found the forum very helpful most of the time, but for on the spot times twitter can be useful.

Thanks guys for the great information and help. First thing I have to do is finish reading the rules and then hopefully the YouTube videos will help in clarifying things.

I’ve done some very basic GM’ing with DnD and Pathfinder starter sets with my kids so have a tiny bit of experience although while my kids had a good time playing those, I felt like I did a terrible job as GM (although i’ve read that that is a fairly normal feeling the first couple of times).

thanks again!

Ah, small warning: Adam gets the Help rules on the Player turn wrong. At no point in the 2nd ed. rule book does it say that you have to spend checks to help another player.

If you want some solid GMing advice, you could pick up Adam’s Dungeon World RPG. Lots of solid advice in there for new GMs (plus Burning Wheel is now the publisher, so you’re still with the same crowd).

On the issue of the teamwork rules for small numbers of players, I forgot to mention one obvious thing: NPCs can help as well, it’s always a nice surprise for the players to find that mouse they were chatting to is skilled and wants to help.

Thanks for the heads up - going through those videos now… And funny you mention DW… I just ordered the book so hopefully it will help or if MG turns out too hard I can use DW for now and come back to it.

Also I was going to ask if NPC’s existed conceptually and I see that they do. That can help

I’ve still got a good bit of the rules to get through but one thing I was curious about reading last night was for the first session or two can you gloss over things like Senior Artisan, Parents, and maybe only use Mentor or friends just to simplify DM’ing? It seems like they’re basically all optional anyway based on my first read but I do understand how they can help move the story along but it also feels like I’d have to be very comfortable GM’ing to use all those in a GM turn.

I’d like to keep the game short and fun if possible the first time and not get too bogged down in detailed rules and then slowly incorporate things as both I and the players get more comfortable. Not sure if MG is amenable to that yet as I still have a lot of rules digestion going on :slight_smile:

Think of it like a buffet. You’re not expected to eat everything at a buffet are you? You just take what you can manage and put it on a plate. Yes, there’s a lot of variety, but that’s only so that you can different meals each time.

If you want to introduce people to Mouse Guard, yes, you the GM have got a lot of rules to swallow. The players though can survive only knowing about skills and How Can I Help. Once they’re comfortable you can introduce wises, fate and persona, traits, advancement points, etc. Conflicts you can leave till last. If you lay it on slowly, it won’t be too overwhelming and they’ll be happy to know there’s another way to get more dice.

DW is probably a better beginner’s RPG, but I still prefer MG because of the altruistic play style and the focus on characters growing and developing beyond their template.