Sunday, March 6, 2011

What Happened Today? Mouse Guard Happened. My Impression.

Sunday Sunday Sunday! I've been wanting to play Mouse Guard for quite awhile now and today it took place. I woke up, got ready, headed to the grocery store, went to my LFCGS to hang out for a bit with two friends who were playing Hordes before the store opened, picked up a friend and then off to the host's home. Haha actually, everyone who lives in that house (four people) is playing Mouse Guard; My buddy, his younger brother, his girlfriend and her best friend. To round out the patrol; two friends whom we know through the LFCGS.
Erin made us a delicious brunch and after doing some finishing touches to our character gens, we were ready to play. While I've never ran anything as a DM/GM outside of D&D 4E, I was very pleased at how easy Mouse Guard is to prep. You essentially have the following things you can throw at the Guard Mice; Weather/Seasons, Wilderness, Other Mice and Wild Animals. The book recommends pitting two of the four at the patrol and have some twists on stand by. And when you scale things down to a mouse, EVERYTHING can be terrifying when a drop of rain is the size of your arm and Turtles are larger than tanks.
While the party had good skills in its ranks, it was primarily was formed around getting as much drama between the players with much opportunity to cause trouble through curiosity, being naive and douchebaggery. Fortunately for us, playing with your characters' goals, beliefs, instincts and against them are beneficial to earning rewards in the Mouse Guard system. Heavy roleplay is highly encouraged in the mechanics itself and not being rules heavy and quite flexible in most areas. Those who are playing purely for character development, plot and atmosphere will not have to be afraid of a ton of rules crunch to play. The thing I found odd, is the amount of times that we had to flip through the book to check things out when you realize how few actual rules the game has.
I had a lot of fun and it was great to be playing and not having half of the table try to break the game through the biggest uber combo that could come out during combat or making skill test versus obstacles.
Playing out combat without the use of minis much to my surprise, is actually something I really enjoyed. All in all, a great experience and I'm looking forward to play again in two weeks and Erin's going to make waffles. I could go into details of the session but overall I just wanted to commit to getting my thoughts of the feel of the game.

Mouse Guard RPG
-quick session prep
-reward system really encourages roleplaying
-passing AND failing skill checks contribute to advancing
-non-gamers can have a blast playing without having to learn a lot of rules
-conflicts easily turn into nail biters (in fact I was going to hold back and my players had to remind me that they're playing mice, and it was my job as the gm/ controller of the world to be constantly kicking the crap out of them)

-conflict rules can feel too abstract at times
-from a D&D 4E background, I have to be careful not to let things potentially turn into a skill challenge by throwing out rolls against obstacles
-conflict's inherent rock-paper-scissors mechanic is neat but feels awkward and makes it hard to want to do multiple types of conflicts at once

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