The step-by-step of conflicts and teams

I was hoping you might be able to clear up how to run conflicts in Mouse Guard. The scenario I’m most commonly get confused with is fighting in teams. Say there are two teams of two mice fighting a snake. How does the step by step process go here? What about if there were two snakes - how does the GM factor in teamwork with an enemy?

I should add that otherwise our Mouse Guard experiences have been awesome. The group has really gotten into the world and the storytelling mechanics. As the first time GM and a recent convert to tabletop, Mouse Guard has been a really awesome introduction to the form.

I’ve read the book cover to cover and re-read up through the first half again - plus I went through several threads here to check if I could find the answers here. This is the one thing I really need to bolster in my GM knowledge of Mouse Guard, so some play-by-play examples would be a huge help.

What’s your question in specific? Can you provide us an example of play from your game?

Let’s say we have two teams of a pair of mice, one with the goal of killing the snake and the other with the goal of destroying the snake’s eggs. So we’ve rolled disposition for the two mice teams and the snake and they’ve all selected their three actions. It’s how the actions play out that is the specific part that I’m having issue with.

If it helps to explain with a specific example, let’s say the snake pulls out attack and the mice teams chose maneuver and defend. Does the snake make versus tests against both teams? Or can the snake only target one team?

As both of those tests are vs tests the teams are counted as helping each other. The players choose whether the defend or the manoeuvre is happening and the secondary team passes the primary team a die.

I get the feeling that this answer doesn’t help you so I have written another question below that may highlight your conundrum better.

The snake chooses Attack and the Mice teams A&B choose Attack and Defend. Lets say that the snake got 4 successes. The attacking mice A rolled 2 successes. The defending mice B rolled just 1 success. What happens then?

A) Snake loses 2 disposition. Mice team A loses 4 disposition. Mice team B loses 3 disposition.
B) Snake loses 2 disposition. Mice team A loses 3 disposition. Mice team B loses 3 disposition.
C) Snake loses 2 disposition. GM description and fiction decides whether team A loses 4 or whether team B loses 3.

I think I’ve seen GMs use each of these in convention play.

My own games have not used multiple team conflicts.

Attack and Attack are Independent. The snake looses 2 dispo.

Snake decides who she will attack. Either she rolls versus against Team B or just independent against Team A.

The awnser is neither.

For future reference (and for the audience at home), these rules are on page 114.

Just for clarification… The snake doesn’t choose Attack. The snake attacks the patrol. The patrol members don’t choose Attack and Defend. One team attacks the snake, the other defends itself against the potential attack from the snake. The players choose actions, not the characters. The characters fight!

Remember: Conflicts take place primarily in the our verbal fiction. If my mouse is in the tree hole, and your mouse is on the rock over there, how could the snake attack us both? Decide who the snake is attacking. Then roll the dice to see what happens.

Umm…what’s the snake’s goal?

OK cool. This is helping flesh out my understanding. Let’s use Totally Guy’s example as that seems to be the one people picked up on. I’m going to do a play by play below - let me know if I’m misinterpreting anything.

So we have:


  • Goal: Defend nest at all costs
  • First action: Attack
  • First roll: 4 successes

    MICE TEAM A (2 mice in the team)
  • Goal: Kill the snake
  • First action: Attack
  • First roll: 2 successes

MICE TEAM B (2 mice in the team)

  • Goal: Destroy the snake eggs
  • First action: Defend
  • First roll: 1 success

And the conflict would play out in this order:
1. Sort out teams sides, goals and roll dispositions
2. Each team chooses their 3 actions
3. GM reveals first action, targeting one team that works within context of the scene (snake attacks team A, as they were the ones to catch the snakes’ attention)
4. Players reveal their first action - attack for team A, defend for team B

5a. If for example, both teams chose independent actions (eg. attack and feint) then the players would choose one action to play and all of the other 3 mice could lend helping dies (as per Teamwork rules)

5b. But since attack and defend are independent and versus against the snakes attack, we play both actions for the two teams.

(Now I think the above is all good, but this is the point where I want confirmation on if this is right or not)

6. Team A rolls 2 successes for attack and deal 2 damage to snakes disposition. Snake rolls 4 successes to their attack and reduces Team As disposition by 4.
7. Team B aren’t being attacked, so they’re in no danger of being harmed. However they still rolled less successes, so nothing happens.

Is that right?

And on point 7, let’s imagine Team B rolled 5 successes and we were in the middle of the fight and they’d already lost some disposition. Even though they’ve not being targeted by the snake, their successful Defend would still earn them +2 to their disposition, right?

I reckon that all sounds good, with a couple of notes.

In the case of 5a, my understanding was that only the other mice on the acting team and the acting mouse in the assisting team can lend helping dice (in other words, the helping team only lends one die, regardless of the number of players). I’m pretty sure that’s from a post by Luke, but I don’t have a link handy.

6 and 7 sound right, assuming the mouse attacks team A. Obviously if the snake attacked team B the results would be different (A: no change; B: -3 dispo/+1 dispo if they rolled 5s; Snake: -2 dispo).

T3R is right on 5a. So, once the acting mouse is chosen, he/she would have 1D from their teammate and 1D from the other team, provided everyone narrates how they are helping.

I believe Team B can only recover dispo if attacked.

Actually, if Team B defends, and is not attacked, then the defend is an independent check, and as such, Ob3 (p. 107).

Wicked, thought so and well said. Thanks all!

Cool. Forgot that rule.