Running a large conflict

OK, so I’m starting my first Mouse Guard game next Tuesday, and I’ve been working out a first mission. At one point, the patrol is to run off a band of bandit mice on the road to Sprucetuck. I figured a group of 5-6 bandits is pretty small, until I started thinking about what would be involved in this conflict. There will be 5 players, so that makes 2 teams on either side. It then occurred to me that the book doesn’t really address 2 teams vs 2 teams.

  1. Does each team declare a target for their action in each of the three actions per round, or does it affect both opposing teams?
  2. If they have to choose, what happens if the opposing team that they didn’t target targets them with an action?

For example, if each of the 4 teams plays a different action (1 attack, 1 defend, 1 maneuver, and 1 feint), what would happen?

Don’t run this conflict for your first session of a new game. Run something simpler like the patrol vs a skunk.


I agree that a first session should be less complicated than this, but I am interested in OP’s second question. I assume you would just consider the opponents role a 0 success?

I just ran a game with a group of 4 players last weekend, having only done a solo campaign until then. I was a bit confused on how to deal with multiple team conflicts. I’ll piggyback some questions of my own here.

  1. When a conflict has 2 player teams vs. 2 enemy teams, are the teams free to choose their own target each round and focus fire? If so, does the team not being targeted by anyone get to roll their action against an Ob 0?

  2. When a conflict has 2 player teams, does each team get their own disposition? If so, does a team have to cease taking actions when their disposition reaches 0?

Whether I run it in my first session or my fiftieth, I’ll still need to know how it works. The book makes mention that such conflicts are possible, but doesn’t say how to handle them.

I just have the teams pair off, and resolve each conflict separately.

You’ve read page 114?

There’s lots of threads on this topic.

Now that I’m reading through again, the multiple teams rule makes no mention of whether each team gets their own disposition. My brain just filled in the blanks and assumed each team got their own disposition. Having played it that way, I get the feeling multiple team combat would feel a lot better with a shared disposition, then each team can pair off for the fight without “focus fire” being something they want to do. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be and I just missed something.

No no they each have their own dispo.


I have run a few multi-team fights. Here are a few tendencies I go for.

A Defend action probably means they are defending against all-comers regardless of their opposing action: the team rolls defend once and it is used independently or vs against opposed actions.

An Attack action probably means they are directing it against a specific team and ought to tell which. Other opposed action are compared against the same Attack result even if it was not directed at that team.

A Feint action probably means they are directing it against a specific team and ought to tell which. Other opposed actions are compared against the same Feint result even if it was not directed at that team.

A Manuveur action is probably directed at all-comers but offers its benefit to only limited degree: the success can be applied to either one of the teams which were unable to counter or the one team which was unable to counter (or to the Manuveuring team in the case of Gain Position).

Some examples:
Two patrol mice teams Attack and Defend against a single animal team’s Feint - animal team rolls Feint, but it is not applied against Attackers and Defenders do not test. Defenders take reduction of Dispo from Feint; animal team takes reduction in Dispo from Attack.

Two animal teams Manuveur and Attack against single patrol mice team’s Defend - animal teams help each other (I would probably have the Manuveur test with helper from Attack) while patrol mice roll Defend. Test is versus.

Two animal teams Feint and Defend against two patrol mice teams’ Attack and Manuveur - teams need to state targets; animal Feint tests independently against Manuveur and will be target of successful Manuveur; animal Defend tests versus Attack and will be target of successful Attack. This 2 vs 2 could go a variety of ways, and my example is sparse.

If the mice have split into two teams to defends a group of squirrels being attacked by snakes, the squirrels might not be attacking the mice, so maybe ought not be a team. If the two animal teams are not opposed to each other, they maybe ough tto simply be a large team.

Keep in mind that the 2 vs 2 team battle is probably only going to occur if there is a really big scene going on. In such a condition, I would probably break down the situation to have two distinct conflicts and hand-wave the result of NPC teams in conflict with each other (or maybe roll that out privately and consider the lasting impact of their resulting compromise for the future of the adventures).

I would do all I can to avoid having a 2 vs 2 teams scenario; because, it is inherently more difficult to manage and increases the load on the compromise. Scenarios of 2vs 1 or 1 vs 2 is not so terribly difficult, but the teams must have distinct battle lines drawn as to why they want different things.

Incredible post Kendesign! It does sound very complicated, but at the same time 2v2 sounds very interesting!

I could imagine finding a snake nest or something and being attacked with the expectation that the mouse teams would lose…perhaps the twist of that could lead to something meaningul in the story.

It makes no sense for a team to lose because the other team is dead.

I’m not sure, but: What about if only if the Feint action is against the Defend action? If it is against the Attack, the Feinter may not test, and the Defender test against Ob 3.