Mouse Guard is a simplified cousin of the Burning Wheel RPG (and Burning Empires). The game is about semi-anthopomorphized mice in a medieval society; essentially, mouse-sized & shaped people in an apparently human-free world. The players play members of the Mouse Guard, a non-governmental body of troops which protect the main habitation from the worst of the predators.
There is enough information to run the game without reference to the comics. The comics will help to visualize the world, but there are plenty of old and new illos in the book.
Having run the game for several months (thanks to a preorder special), I can say with confidence the game is suitable for children and adults alike. most teens should be able to run the game, and just about any literate child should be able to play. The game is more structured than more traditional RPG's, and is mission focused. My group has had players from age 9 to 50, all enjoying it.
Basic Dice mechanic: (skill)d6, counting successes (the number of dice which rolled 4,5 or 6), versus a difficulty number. It helps if everyone has 10 or so d6's, and it's nice if everyone's dice are distinctive.
There are several reward cycles in the game engine: Fate and persona for playing beliefs, roleplaying well, and having been a moving force in the plot, which allow improved chances on challenges. Skills require both successes and failures to go up, and can only go up if used. Traits have to be used against one's self to earn checks, which allow a variety of actions during the player turn, and allow players to heal during the GM turn.
Narrative structure: The game has a default mission-based play narrative structure.Read more ›
Whether you're approaching Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game as a fan of the Mouse Guard comics or a fan of roleplaying games, there is something new and interesting here for you. The game uses a simplified and streamlined version of Luke Crane's Burning Wheel system, but while Burning Wheel has been criticized by some for having too steep a learning curve, Mouse Guard is a breeze to read and understand. The game is clearly presented with lots of examples, including an ingenius example of play that shows the events of the first comic as though they unfolded naturally during a game session. The book contains several character archetypes to be used to immediately create player character, and a few sessions worth of missions for the Guardsmice, so it's great for beginners. Visually, the book is stunningly beautiful. Color and visual texture practically pop off of each page, and the book is filled with art both from the comics and created specifically for this product including the cover, which shows the entire cast of Fall 1152 and Winter 1152. Or, as my female gamer friends have said, "Mousies!!" The only downside to this game is persuading people who are used to playing big, tough heroic types in RPGs to play a game about mice with swords. If you can get past that hurdle, you will be blown away by this game. Luke Crane and David Petersen have really made something special here, and if you are a big fan of the comics or of roleplaying games and are looking for a novel experience, you owe it to yourself to buy this book.
Amongst the numerous fantasy role-playing game systems, why would you choose to buy and play "Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game"? There are plenty of reasons. You could start with the fact that it is based on a fun and beautifully illustrated series written by David Petersen involving anthropomorphic mice. (How cool is that?) You could also buy it because, put simply, the game book -- like Petersen's Mouse Guard series books -- is of the highest production quality: readable text, beautiful illustrations and great production quality. (How many other RPG books come with a dust jacket?) You could also buy it because a number of Internet reviewers on RPG-related sites have already reviewed this game and come away very impressed.
I recommend you buy it for all those reasons, plus at least one more: it is a really creative gaming system. This game is not "D&D for mice," though clearly the game, and the Mouse Guard series, were inspired at some level, even if just in the most basic origins, by Dungeons and Dragons. Perhaps the best way for me to describe the system is that, it seems driven at its most critical and interesting level by qualitative mechanics and not quantitative ones. That alone makes it stand out in a crowd. Part of the fun of this system is in designing a character -- who is, what else?, a member of a mouse patrol -- that has a very specific nature and characteristics. Some of these things can change (indeed, for each adventure, you have to select a specific goal for yourself), and some are a bit more static ... or at least they take longer to change.Read more ›