Questions on Conflicts

This is the most interesting game mechanic I’ve come across in a while. And it’s confusing as well. I guess that’s the case with anything new, eh? These are a few of the questions that I’ve got based on the Resolution Chapter of the book. I’ll just throw them out, please quote the question or put a number so that it’ll be easy for me to see which answer goes to what question.

  1. (p.112) There’s an example at the end of the page about a river being part of a conflict. How does a river “attack” or “defend” in a conflict?

  2. (p.103) Starting disposition - can you chose to add Nature to your disposition instead of Fighter (or another skill) so that you end up with a higher disposition?

  3. (p.106) Like question #1, how does a season attack, defend, feint, or maneuver?

  4. (p.107) When having a Feint vs. Defend, Feint tests at Ob 0? Also, does the phrase “the Defender may not test” mean that the Feint automatically hits?

4a. Feint vs. Attack - does this mean that the Feinter is open to attack? Does the phrase “the Feinting player may not attack or defend” mean that the Attacker automatically hits? I mean, he’s already feinting, how can he “change” his action into an attack or defend?

4b. Therefore, a feint is risky only because it leaves the Feinter open to an Attack action? A Feint vs. Feint is a Versus test, so that’s okay, a Feint vs. Defend means the Feinter gets the upper hand, so that’s the only downside I can see.

4c. What is the difference between a Feint vs. Defend (defender does not test = independent test = Ob 0) and a Feint vs. Maneuver (test Feint at Ob 0)?

  1. Taking turns - assuming a game with 2 mice vs. 1 snake, does this mean mouse 1, snake [action 1], mouse 2, snake [action 2], mouse 1, snake [action 3], mouse 2, snake [new action 1]?

  2. Compromise - Do you have to compromise if, for example, you have a disposition of 7, lost 2 points, but gained those points back later (but before the end of the conflict)?

  3. What is the difference between a +1D in light armor and a +1s of heavy armor? Or more specifically, what is the difference of +1D vs. +1s?

  4. Conditions - Hungry, Thirsty, and Tired subtracts 1 from the final disposition number, correct?

  5. Recovery - Assuming a mouse with Hungry and Angry… he tries to take away the Hungry first before he can take away Angry, correct?

9a. If he fails his Hungry test, can he still test to see if he can remove Angry? Or can he test to remove Hungry 2x?

That’s all I can think of for now. This book gets easier to understand after a few “tries,” and I must say I admire the “hey, that makes sense!” nature of the rules.

Next, I’m going to tackle Advancements, so I know how I can properly “reward” my brave mouse guards.

Describing the actions depends on the conflict goals of each side. An Attack is anything that directly pushes for one’s goal or, um, “attacks” the other side’s goal; a Defend bolsters one’s own position or opposes the other side’s goal. Maneuver and Feint are gaining advantage indirectly and undermining defense, respectively.

I have trouble explaining this to people so here’s an example. In the first mission of my first Mouse Guard campaign, the players were charged with transporting and delivering the mail from Lockhaven to another settlement. One of the obstacles was a journey conflict against the weather where my goal was to ruin the mail by getting it wet. Descriptions of my actions consisted of things like the cart getting stuck in the mud, tree branches falling in freezing rain, or the path washing out.

Describing the actions is going to depend on what each side selects, too. If one side chooses Defend and the other side chooses Feint, then the defender should describe his tactic first before the feinter describes how she undercuts it.

It will become clearer in play, but I hope that helps.

I know (like an attack means you make an action that leads to your goal), but I’m looking more along the lines of the examples in the book. How does Spring “attack” the guards during their journey? What is an example of a weather- or season-based “maneuver”?

Help me out here, Ice. I think I answered your question with the example in my reply. What am I missing?

No, I actually understand what Ice is saying. I"v often struggled with this. Let’s say you have a huge dark storm and it’s conflict time. Attack is easy: hard rain, wind, mudwash, gets mice wet and freezing cold, ect. but defend and manuver are kinda hard. I just chose to split up the attacks. If I defend, I tell them the cold rain has chilled them to the bone. If I want to manuver, I tell the the ground got washed out in a flood. You just have to improvise. There’s no rules to this. Just use your imagination and stretch stuff. It’s a lot harder than hand to hand combat, but it’s still fun in the end. I’ve only done one journey conflict and it went on for many rounds. My defends and stuff got very repetitive after a while. Some people are better at it than others.

Twice, aren’t we saying exactly the same things?

Yes. And the mice can help each other on their actions.

  1. Only if your goal includes escaping, climbing, hiding or foraging.

  2. Feinting player tests at Ob 0. Margin of success is applied as per the Feint action. The Defending player does nothing.

  3. Compromise is based on your final totals.

  4. Page 13.

  5. Conditions subtract from the starting disposition number, not final.

9-9a. Pages 126 and 127 don’t answer your questions?

Uh, yeah pretty much, now that I look at what you siad. I still understand his cunfusion though. I struggle with how a rainstorm would defend itself too.

Sorry about that, wanderer. Yes, you answered my question, but that info is directly from the book, which is the source of my confusion in the first place. Twice kinda hit it closer to home by providing examples of an “attack” (hard rain) or a “maneuver” (ground gets washed out). I guess what I meant to say is: I’m a bit familiar with how the actions work, but I don’t know what to say or how to describe actions for journey or weather conflicts. I noticed you did give examples (cart getting stuck), and they are excellent… if you could just point out which description fits what action, it would be awesome.

Mouse 1 can take Action 1, then help Mouse 2 on Action 2? I thought that if a mouse was helping another, he basically wasn’t doing anything else other than helping that other mouse?

Ah, I see. Thanks!

I apologize for being nitpicky here, but is it an auto-hit if vs. a Defend or not? The phrase “defending player does nothing” is bothering me… is there an instance when the defending player does something? Also, I’d like to point out questions 4a, 4b, and 4c. 4c is really bugging me.

That’s just it. The final disposition is actually equal to the starting disposition even though he got hit, he managed to get it back (via a successful Defend action). Does this mean it is a no-compromise victory?

Please tell me if I understood this correctly. A +1s gives you one more success if you managed to pass the test, but a +1D only gives you one more CHANCE of passing a test. That means a +1s makes your success a bit more sweeter, but doesn’t actually help in your chances of passing the test, but a +1D helps in those chances, correct?

Oh, yes, I meant the starting disposition, but used the word “final” to refer to the number you end up with AT THE START of the conflict. So anyway, Hungry and Thirsty gives the same penalty as Tired, correct?

Not quite. It says that conditions must be relieved in order. So Hungry must be relieved first before he can remove Angry. But what if he fails to relieve his Hunger (due to a failed test)? It says that you cannot relieve any other condition until Hungry (and Thirsty) is taken care of, and says that if you fail the test, the character remains Hungry for another GM turn. So does this mean that if he fails to relieve his Hunger, he has to sit one more GM’s turn with BOTH Hungry and Angry even though he still has checks to spend and wants to spend it to get rid of Angry?

Please bear with me guys. English is not my first language and I’ve had to read the book a number of times just to get a handle on things. If my question seems silly, a yes or no answer would suffice, add in an explanation would be excellent. I just want to make sure I have a firm grasp of the rules so that my group does not end up playing this game wrongly (in terms of the rules and game mechanics, I mean.)


I’ll reiterate that your descriptions will depend on the conflict goals and the interactions between the two sides.

Journey Conflict vs. Weather

Guardmice Goal: Get from Lockhaven to Shaleburrow (Their mission, incidentally, is to take the winter mail from Lockhaven the Shaleburrow.)

Weather Goal: Ruin the mail

Guardmice, action 1: Maneuver (“We try to get to the high ground to avoid the muddy path.”)

Weather, action 1: Defend (“The hill is too slippery to get the cart up the slope.”)

Guardmice, action 2: Attack (“We plunge ahead. Saxon is pulling the cart through the mud while Liem and Kenzie push.”)

Weather, action 2: Maneuver (“The path has washed out. You’re not sure where you’re going anymore.”)

Guardmice, action 3: Defend (“We’re going to hole up and wait for better weather.”)

Weather, action 3: Feint (“You try to take shelter in a root hollow but after a short while it begins flooding. In your haste to get the cart out, you break a wheel. Now what?”)

I hope this doesn’t come across as me beating a dead horse. If I had my book in front of me, I might be able to come up with another example, but this is more or less from a mission I’ve run in the past.

The context of the conflict is important. With good mission goals and attention paid to the action interactions, in play this will be very intuitive.

This isn’t very clear from the book; the mice in group conflicts look more like individuals. Recently, I described it to some new players as they’re acting as a team during each action, but only one of them tests while the rest help. N.B. that this is like most other tests (i.e. one mouse rolls but anyone can help). So, in the example above, let’s say Liem heads up action 1. He tests with help from Kenzie and Saxon, but then can still offer help in actions 2 and 3 when Saxon and Kenzie test, respectively.

Wanderer, apparently repeating himself is TWICE’s NATURE (all kinds of puns intended hehe)

And Ice, for someone whose first language isn’t english, you’re doing pretty damn well. :smiley:

I’ve got a question concerning conflicts myself. I noticed that in one of the replies above, the third action of a player may be opposed by the first action of an opponent’s next segment. That could use a proper example to clarify things for me. Especially within the multiple teams/players scenario.

Apparently, and correct me if I’m wrong. Whenever two teams fighting the same target get both versus or indepent rolls, their only option is to help each other. So, if team 1 includes 2 mice and team 2 one mouse and both team’s first action fall into the above category, it means that Action 1 of team 1’s mouse 1 will have the assistance of team 2’s mouse action 1 adding +1D to the chosen action or vice-versa.

Continuing my train of thought, that leads me to believe that by the next segment the team 1’s second mouse will match his first action of the round with team 2’s mouse first action.

It seems to me that the lonely mouse in team 2 is acting more than the 2 mice in team 1, EXCEPT when there are coinciding versus tests or independent ones.

I haven’t tested the conflict system yet, I’m just ellaborating around it cause I’ll test it today and I wish I could clear those pesky doubts out of my mind.

Do you mean this?

Team members should alternate actions across groups of three. So this example would look like:

Each side chooses its initial actions.

Action 1: Mouse A (B helps) vs. Snake
Action 2: Mouse B (A helps) vs. Snake
Action 3: Mouse A (B helps) vs. Snake

If both sides have disposition remaining, choose new actions.

Action 1: Mouse B (A helps) vs. Snake
Action 2: Mouse A (B helps) vs. Snake
Action 3: Mouse B (A helps) vs. Snake

In the next group of actions, Mouse A would lead off. Note also, as per page 100, three mice still should be one team.

Just a quick reply (gimme some time to digest your replies!), but I think Salsa is talking about conflicts with two TEAMS versus one team, not one team of two mice vs. one “team” of one snake.

Noted, that is mentioned many times in the books.

A most excellent example and exactly what I’m looking for!! Kudos! Now I see how a weather/season can “maneuver” or “defend”… wow, very interesting!

Maybe for you, but for someone who spent his whole life on a 2-season climate, it isn’t exactly intuitive for me.

Is there an “official” ruling on this? I understand exactly where you’re getting at, but if everybody is helping everybody else, then I’m worried that would unbalance the game — or at least that it isn’t what was intended.

Thanks, but I’ve been noticing that I’m not getting my points/questions across as clearly as I’ve been doing before, and not only on these fora but on others as well.

If you’re saying that the last action of this “round” may be used by the opposing player/team by choosing an appropriate action to start the next “round,” then I guess that’s just a game mechanic we’ll have to live with. However, like you said, a proper example of such a situation would be in order.

Yes, as per my understanding of the rules, the two teams cooperate and one team gives +1D to the other team.

If I’m reading you correctly, then no, you are mistaken. Team 1’s second mouse cannot match his action with team 2’s first mouse action because Team 1’s second mouse executes Action 2… and if you’ll remember, each Team selects 3 Actions in private before this all begins. The only “taking advantage” I can see is using Action 3 to determine what your new Action 1 will be.

Note that if you have 3 mice, they should be in one team. If you have 4, they will split in 2 teams of 2 each. A 5-mice patrol just hurts my head. :stuck_out_tongue:

The conflict system is a beyatch to learn, but I’m seeing all sorts of possibilities and they are all wonderful. I have no doubt getting a handle on this would pay off very much in the end! :wink:

I was speaking broadly in regards to all conflict types. Verisimilitude is important, but Mouse Guard is not a hardcore wilderness-survival simulation. Creativity, critical thinking, and listening to how people are narrating their actions are much more important than an intimate knowledge of Michigan weather.

Luke answers the question for someone else here. It’s the intent that working as a team and helping one another are big parts of Mouse Guard.

Each team chooses its own actions and helps itself. Teams do not help each other.

A number of people, me included, have run games for five or more players. It’s not ideal, but it’s still fun. It helps to tailor the conflicts appropriately for more than one team (e.g. fighting a mated pair of crows instead of a single bird).

Now I’m completely confused, check page 114.

If two teams have the same target and choose actions that are both versus their target’s action, they must help each other rather than roll

So I had it for me that each team had 3 actions. So whenever the matching actions would be independent or versus they would have to help each other.

This is how I was doing it:

Opponent action 1 = attack
Opponent action 2 = defend
Opponent action 3 = defend

Team 1
Mouse 1 - action 1 = attack (rolls independently against opponent’s action 1)
Mouse 2 - action 2 = attack (if chosen gets help from team 2 versus opponent’s action 2)
Mouse 1 - action 3 = feint (rolls independently and opponent’s action 3 is nothing)

Team 2
Mouse 1 - action 1 = defend (rolls versus against opponent’s action 1)
Mouse 2 - action 2 = maneuver (if chosen gets help from team 1 versus opponent’s action 2)
Mouse 1 - action 3 = attack (rolls versus againt opponent’s action 3)

It seemed logical back then, and mice would expect better results if they did actions that happened to differ when compared to the opponent’s chosen action.

However, the weird part would take place whenever someone’s choice had been maneuver, the benefits could be to the next action for both teams (hence both mouse from team 1 and 2 doing actions 2 would get the benefits). Though it might seem weird, I was totally ok with it.

Apparently (for what people are saying) the correct way should be:

Opponent action 1 attack
Opponent action 2 defend
Opponent action 3 attack

Team 1 (picks action 1 and decide among them who’s doing it)
mouse 1 action 1 attack

Now, Team 1 can do action 2 or allow someone in Team 2 to do action 2

if team 1 does it, mouse 2 must be the one doing it, cause mouse 1 already did one.

if team 2 does it, either one can do it.

Team 2 (does the same, picks action 2 and decides who does it)
mouse 2 action 2 attack

Now only either mouse 1 or 2 in team 1 can do action 3.

If that’s the correct, it renders the whole explanation on page 114 useless. Cause you’re saying that teams don’t help each other and only mice help each other, the book (on that page) reffers to teams helping each other and not characters.

Even the example shows that perfectly. And I take Ice was thinking the same way I did especially because of this explanation on this page. Which would totally make sense.

Now if the above is the correct, how would ever two actions be versus or both be independent if they’re always diferent actions? Meaning that there’s only one action 1 and there isn’t an “action 1” for each team is saying that this example (found in page 114) could never take place:

Two teams of mice are fighting a single team of weasels. The mice teams choose Attack and Maneuver; the weasels choose Defend. Attack
and Maneuver make versus tests against Defend. The mice teams must help each other make one test. The weasels test for Defend once against the combined teams of mice.

Now, if you’re telling me that:

Two teams of mice are fighting a single team of weasels. The mice teams choose Attack [ACTION 1] and Maneuver [ACTION 2]; the weasels choose Defend [ACTION 1?]. Attack and Maneuver make versus tests against Defend. The mice teams must help each other make one test. The weasels test for Defend once against the combined teams of mice.

Why are the weasels using action 1 to defend actions 1 and 2? Personally, it doesn’t make sense.

UNLESS… Each team is using attack for action 1 and maneuver for action 1 and the weasels defend for action 1. Effectively making the both teams chose either the first team’s Attack or the second team’s Maneuver and the one not doing the chosen action would have to help the other. If this is the case, then I’m doing it right.

The book is correct. Daniel misspoke.

Teams do help each other as you can see on Page 114.

Let’s start from the top…two teams of mice one weasel team.

All teams choose actions. These actions are chosen privately (page 104), so your point about the benefits of coordinating actions is rendered irrelevant.

The actions are revealed one at a time and the interactions are played out and tests are rolled before moving on to the next action.

If when Action 1 is revealed, the mice teams have both choose actions that are VERSUS the weasels action–one team’s action will result in a roll, while the other teams action will add helping dice. Players choose which is which.

This is also true if both teams choose INDEPENDENT actions.

If one team chooses a versus and the other an independent action, then both teams roll their actions without helping dice.

Does that help?

I guess so but he can do the prolouge to get rid of one condition or earn and spend two check in the GM’s turn to get to a new roll to get rid of it already in the GM’s turn. I also think you can spend several checks in player’s turn to get rid of Hungry and Thirsty as long as your mouse do different things, cook, try his resources, bake and so on.