Ok, so my original post in the hacks forum went way off topic, but it’s an interesting conversation, so I thought I would continue it here.

Perhaps in some games (or in real life?) but it seems Mouse Guard Conflict has different design goals.

…Terrain barely factors into it…

I’m certainly not suggesting that this should be a full on tactical d20 heartbreaker. God forbid someone cranked out another one of those. I’m merely looking at the system, in it’s own right and not comparing it to others, and the mechanics as they are.

As for the design goals. It has mechanics to strategically conduct an argument with someone. Storyteller (which is think is pretty much crap, anyway) can’t even touch something like that. IMO, and Luke certainly has the right to disagree, this system is designed for more than just a storytelling game.

Let’s say you’re fighting a Milk Snake…

Ok, long math story short, because Defense and Maneuver are versus checks against Attack, a snake’s Attack is likely to effectively cancel out my Defense and Maneuvers. Because of the diminishing returns that come with dice pools, having a 2 dice advantage really isn’t that big of a deal (especially if the snake has a weapon that gives it +1s), and it matters less the larger the pool is.

But, the bottom line is that it depends on the Mouse’s nature. I’ll agree, Defend and Maneuver can be pretty valuable, but really only if the mouse has a (preferably) maxed Nature level. It’s really the only way to get the successes needed to get the real benefits of those tactics.

If Wyle Attacks, the snake will lose 3 dispo (on average) and the mice 4.5 (7d/2 + 1s)

In this example, you’re right, but for a non-AAA strategy to work, the team would have to have at least one, if not two, dedicated defenders/“maneuverers”, having the attacker go last in a round, to reap any benefits of such a strategy.

I’ll grant you that the way teamwork changes as the team grows is a bit odd.

Actually, over the course of this thread, some confusion about teamwork was cleared up. If you have a team of three or four, having an extra 3d to 4d to every roll opens up some strategic possibilities.

Still, I think having more mice on a team should do more than add a single point of disposition (on average) per mouse.

PB, I don’t see this discussion going anywhere until you’ve gotten a few conflicts under your belt.

I would love to. Feel like running a game? :smiley:

The system is tactical, but it’s fairly light. I eschew tactical powerup options in favor of action tactics that all players have access to. Which makes the game different from most out there.

Regarding math: a mouse is more likely to have more dice for Defend and Maneuver (in a fight) than he is for Attack and Feint. This creates an incentive to Defend and Maneuver. If one Mouse has maxed his Nature and another has maxed his Fighter, the Mouse with high Nature has the advantage.

When you play as part of a team, guardmice often do take on dedicated actions. The mouse with the bow keeps the target pinned down with Maneuvers, creating an opening for your fighter with the axe to work his way in and do some damage. Thus you have a team member that’s worth a lot more than just +1D on a roll. You have a team member that you must rely on to help you get the job done.

+1s only factors if the test is successful. It is not an auto-success mechanic.


The system is tactical, but it’s fairly light.

I think you’re being modest. Frankly, I think that MG has more meaningful tactical elements than something like d20 (even miniatures). The last time I played that was about 5 years ago. I took one read of 3.5e, and came up with a (non-min/maxed) character that my DM couldn’t touch at my challenge rating. It’s not that I’m prone to munchkinism (and that character certainly wasn’t uber for his level), but with a system like that, the only challenge comes from figuring it out.

Anyway, with MG, the simultaneous action selection element alone is a topic that warrants discussion. At it’s core, conflict resolution is a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, but there are a bunch of elements in there to change it up a bit. Still, the psychological elements of decision-making in this context is interesting (to me). So, I’m curious, what made you go this route rather than something more in line with RPS (e.g., just Attack-Defend-Maneuver)?

I find the other options – RPS or I-Go-You-Go-- to be boring.

I find Diplomacy to be very exciting.

It’s not any more deep than that!

I can see that. Vanilla RPS would get old quickly. Even d20, with all its bells and whistles, becomes a mindless grind before long.

Personally, I like systems that are intellectually complicated (i.e. logic problems, micro-social exercises, etc.). But, I also see the importance of the RP/storytelling elements in RPGs. After all, if we didn’t care about the story, I think that most gamers (even d20 munchkins) might instead just be playing chess.

Maybe we could grab some sample mice (you can download a party) and run them against some baddies?

I’d be happy to help, but my time is severly limited as I’m getting married in about a week. You’d be better off taking up Michael on his offer above. Good luck!

I’ve actually started to design a random battle simulator in Python. Once it’s up and running, I figure I could crank out about 10,000 battles (and compile the stats) in less than a half an hour.

I’d caution that this may not be a useful metric, thanks to the non-quantitative, essential parts of a conflict: the goals. As others have said before, “attack-attack-attack” is a strategy that often a patrol cannot afford to risk enacting, because the difference between degrees of compromise could be a mouse’s life. I have personally seen times when the patrol is a disposition or two away from winning and does not script Attack because they know if they end the conflict now, their disposition is too low and a mouse is going to die. (And I know it too, and they know I know…)

I think it was Luke who said it a while back: “if your patrol is OK with a compromise, you didn’t set the right goals for your conflict.” In fact I swear it seems like I see players more nervous of a compromise in non-fight conflicts, since the compromises for fights are usually pretty spelled out. Arguments and journeys are where I hit 'em hardest: their Beliefs and Goals.