Alright, I was able to squeeze in two more sessions today- with 3 players, and then 5 players. So thankfully in both I had the two people who had been playing so far to help things along.
To be honest, I don’t remember much of the first session. It lasted about 45 minutes and it was mostly us trying to teach the mechanics to the new player. Despite it being short it was rather effective and he picked up right away on how the conflicts work and compromises worked. I started it off with a 2-test obstacle to get to where they were going. I made them do pathfinding and asked them what they thought would be a good idea for this journey. They debated a little bit between Scout and Survivalist and eventually picked one. They passed the Pathfinder but failed the other and made the one who made the test Hungry. I then introduced some other obstacle- I think they outran a fox or something.
So eventually they made it to town and their mission was to find out what has been stopping shipments. Begin Player’s Turn. Now, here was a question- how would the find information? I know that to find people it’s a Circles check, so I winged it and made it a Circles check. They passed, found out that a badger was terrorizing them and spent some checks healing up. With a final check they went to look for the Badger and failed- the Badger attacked them from nowhere! They lost with a compromise and I tried explaining to them what happens when THEY get to make the compromise. I think they whittled it down to the one where one of the group dies but argued over who it was. After a while I asked why they both (the two experience players) wanted to kill themselves off and it was because they wanted to, in fact, make their characters from scratch again now that they knew what they were doing. So, after the 4th player walked in the room, I started up the character creation process.
So 3 of the players had played now, and the 4th one had seen the end of the GM’s turn and all of the Player’s. I led the through Recruitment, Each one a different rank from Tenderpaw-Patrol Leader. Now, what I did was I asked them the questions in the book (Like, “Do you save for winter and go without now, or use what you have when you need it?”) and did not tell them the consequence. I wanted them to be more concerned about their character’s story and personality than stats. Was this bad? Good? They had no problem with it and actually liked it. They worked together when it came to skills and wises and got a good diverse group. A lot of Fighter/Hunter but after the Badger they all wanted to be good at fighting animals. Right when they were wrapping up the last player showed up and I tried to catch him up to speed. They eventually all got their characters in order, picked out some good beliefs and instincts and we were on our way.
So I gave some background on the Guard using the “Jedi” example earlier in this thread which got some of them excited and reinforce the idea of the Guard. I then gave them their mission, emphasized their mission and pointed out the exact wording of the mission and they wrote their goals. Some were good, others were ‘eh’ but we ran with it. None were terrible.
This time I started with a three obstacle test to get to where they needed to go. They were delivering mail and I described the journey through the first couple of towns. Then on the last leg they had to choose to navigating through the spring rain that was falling. They went with Pathfinding, Scout and Weather Watching. They went Pass-Pass-Tie. They did not really understand the process of failing quite yet so with the tie the weather did not change.
Then, right before they reached their final destination a hawk swooped down with the goal of making a snack of the mice! They split into two teams of two (one decided to sit out the conflict and hide in a bush). They beat it with Dispositions of 7/10 and 6/9. I figured this was a minor compromise so I made them tired or something. However, both teams had different goals. One team wanted to just scare away the Hawk, the others wanted to injure it a bit. So, I was at a loss for a moment. I told them to (knowing it was wrong) continue it was a Argument conflict. It should have been still a fight, right? Or just a new conflict? I really did not know and I searched the book to no avail.
Eventually one team one with 1 disposition left. Now, does the other team get a major compromise? Could they have requested the other side Tired and Sick (or whatever two it was)? Because that’s what they did but I really did not know how to handle this at all.
Then, for some reason, no one really earned checks throughout the session. I think three of them had their free check only, one person had earned one, and another had earned two. Most of them tried to heal their wounds and one used their check to complete their goal. They failed it by one so I made them Angry but gave it to them.
This lasted all of about 2 1/2 hours including giving out the Fate and Persona points at the end.
I then got some feedback.
The first two players still liked it. Things are still rough but are considerably better than before. Like I said, the first scenario today they earned a lot of checks, but didn’t the second time for some reason.
The third player said he still preferred D&D because of the freedom. He did not like having to go along in the GM’s turn but overall still wanted to give it a few more shots because he really liked that people had to roleplay.
I didn’t get much of an opinion from the fourth player but he seemed to like it and looked like he was starting to have it click by the end of the session.
The last player LOVED the fact that it was somewhat linear in the GM’s turn (something he complains about not being the case in D&D) but ultimately was still pretty confused by the conflict and obstacles.
So, right now the consensus is we’re going to keep alternating it with D&D (so no more Mouse Guard for two weeks :[ ) and give it a fair shot. Ultimately if they end up not liking it I’ll shelf it or possibly find another group to play it with separate from them (or maybe bring one or two of them along).