Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Impressions

Mouse Guard RPG coverart

Mouse Guard RPG

So as was mentioned in David’s post, our group had a little bit of adventure in the world of Mouse Guard. I’ve been interested in running a Burning Wheel game for a little while now. I enjoy that it has a tangible rule set so that people who aren’t as ready to throw themselves into the character at first have some hard numbers to hold on to. I really like how character advancement happens faster when the player paints a more interesting picture of his or her actions. I had been a bit concerned though with jumping into Burning Wheel though. I didn’t want a sudden shift from our tactical and humorous D&D sessions to a more role playing intensive experience to be jarring. As it turns out, Mouse Guard was the perfect shift.

I did not intend to run any sort of game that evening. I expected either a continuation of David’s Star Wars RPG, or perhaps some free form board gaming, but apparently Mouse Guard was high on the list. David picked up the book for it, and I sort of flipped through it a few times as the day went on and the time to start our gaming proper drew near.

We took a stab at the first sample mission included in the book, which is essentially the first issue of the Mouse Guard comic in game form, and within minutes we were underway. The trail was a bit bumpy at times, as constant rules referral slowed my storytelling down quite a bit. Despite the hiccups, everyone slipped into role playing with a far greater frequency than usual, which felt really good. When our patrol mice caught up with the grain peddler, there were a few heated exchanges interspersed with dice rolling, and the whole thing really felt quite organic. I also appreciate how the game is very much built around the characters filling in the details, at least in the style we played it. It left a lot of breathing room and let me throw in a couple of complications to extend the length of the adventure without making it seem obvious.

The only real issue we had, other than a difficult time hunting down certain rules, was a great amount of confusion during conflict resolution. The abstract action types (attack, defend, feint, manuver) weren’t always easy for people to grasp in the current context, and there was some confusion due to the fact that the patrol was split into two teams. We also had some checks happen through the session that didn’t seem quite right, but I’ll be going through the book for real as our Mouse Guard campaign truly begins this weekend.

Yeah. I guess the biggest endorsement I can give this game is that in the space of a single, extremely uneven night with the game, I went from wanting to run an original D&D campaign, to wanting to run a Burning Wheel campaign, to wanting to run Mouse Guard.

For our session recap, head over here: Mouse Guard: Chronicle of the Cold Sun

4 Responses to “Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Impressions”
  1. David says:

    I think some of the rules confusion came from thinking there was some sort of turn order within the teams too. That will need to be clarified for next time.

    Nice write up, and the session log is really classy.

  2. Rafe says:

    Mouse Guard is a great game. I, too, have only played one session (though I suspect you’ve now played more?) and it was a breeze to jump in with. While I wasn’t 100% on the rules, I decided to give it a whirl and my girlfriend and her friend were the guinea pigs (willing). They had a lot of fun with The Grain Peddler sample mission and found it really easy to understand the idea of roleplaying (neither had ever played any RPG before).

  3. Josh says:

    Yeah we’ve played since then. We’re going to be hitting our Summer season this weekend actually. We had a great time with our sessions following the Grain Peddler intro mission. Everyone came with their own characters and it was pretty exciting. They skillfully avoided some of my major confrontations but due to their goals and instincts ended up creating some great conflicts to extend the session and take control of their story. I’m really pleased with it so far and I’m excited to try out a fully fledged Burning Wheel campaign down the road.

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