A few weeks ago, we took advantage of Amazon's Tabletop Day sale to pick up Mice and Mystics.
Technically it's not a role-playing game; it's a dungeon crawl board game. Nevertheless, it is very RPG-like, which I enjoy. Now Elizabeth doesn't really like pen-and-paper RPGs (she'd rather play a video game) but she really loves this game. I think it's because the characters are cute little mice!
|The cute mice miniatures for the game|
What is cool is that the game features 11 scenarios that, when played in order, form a complete story. Each scenario features a different goal with different boards (rooms) and challenges. Along the way, the characters (which are pre-generated) may earn additional abilities. Like an RPG campaign, the characters can keep their new abilities and any gear they find throughout the remaining scenarios.
Game play is not terribly complicated. Each mouse has a movement value and can move the number of spaces equal to that value plus the number rolled on a special D6 that has little numbers in one corner. To fight, roll a number of the special dice equal to the mouse's combat value, looking for sword (for melee attacks) or bow (for ranged attacks) symbols. If hit, characters (and enemies) roll the dice looking for shield symbols to ward off the blow. There are some special and scenario-specific rules that complicate things a little. Nevertheless, we have been able to figure things out (even though we have had to refer to the rules a bit, slowing down the game).
The experience is very similar to an RPG. As the party progresses through the rooms of the castle, it picks cards to see what it encounters. Characters can also search for gear; if successful they can draw from another card deck. Each scenario has a specific objective that the party is trying to accomplish. And, as I mentioned before, the scenarios will form a cohesive narrative.
There are some other interesting, themed features I'd like to mention. First, the boards that represent the rooms of the castle are double-sided. The mice can scurry into little holes in the room and find themselves in mouse-sized tunnels beneath the floorboards. The game represents this by flipping the board. Also, the special dice have one side with a piece of cheese depicted. Roll this and you earn a piece of cheese. You can spend cheese to activate powers or to level up and gain a new ability. Beware though, cheese can be bad if the enemy rolls it. If the bad guys collect enough cheese then a surge occurs and a particularly difficult enemy (like the spider or the castle cat) will appear.
My wife declares that this is now here favorite game. I've been wanting to play a dungeon crawl with her but she has not been too interested until now. I guess I just needed mice to get her to play. We are still in the middle of the first scenario. We failed our first attempt so we went back and tried again. This time we made it about halfway through when we decided to stop for the night. I marked down the important stats so we'll be able to start up again without difficulty. We played for about 3 hours last night. Scenarios are supposed to take 1.5 to 2 hours but we've been moving slowly as we learn the rules. Nevertheless, we are enjoying it and I am glad that I bought it.