Thursday, 14 August 2014

RPG A Day - Day Fourteen – Best Convention Purchase - Mouseguard


Now there is a bit of a problem with this, because given what I do and have done for the last fifteen or so years, conventions aren’t places where I go to buy things or see the new shiny, they’re places I go to run things and make sure that everyone else gets the new shiny...


The other thing is that when I buy things at conventions, they tend to be games that I’ve played at the conventions, which makes most of my purchases board games or war games, certainly in the last few conventions I’ve been to, I’ve bought X wing, Wings of War, Rocket Race, and a whole bunch of other things, but the RPG content I pick up tends to be things that I’m missing from my collections or things that are so low in price that I just take a chance on it being some good and if it’s not, I haven’t lost much money...


With this in mind, the best convention purchase I’ve ever made was at a convention called Dragonmeet, held in London ever year and one that I’m now helping to run whereas at the time I was only putting in a few games for them and helping out where I could.


Mouseguard...


There won’t be many out there that haven’t heard of Mouseguard, it’s the game of the comic book of the same name, following the adventures of the guard mice of Lockhaven.  For all those finding this a little on the weird side, just think D&D...


With Mice...

It helps to have read the comics, which I had before I picked the book up, and it helps to like the idea of the heroism inherent in the books, of the motto of the guardmice, it’s not what you fight but what you fight for...


So it is with this game, it’s worth mentioning the scale of the game which is the thing that most players have problems with.  A wolf in any other game is an easy target to be casually slain out of hand, in this, it present a threat that can take dozens of mice and planning to bring down.  The main province of the guard mice is to defend Lockhaven and the scent barrier that prevents the predators from finding them and wreaking havoc, but there are also threats from other mice, who have political ambitions of their own.  The game was also designed with younger players in mind, and a particularly nice touch is that the players (when you’re doing it right) all have little finger puppets to show when their mouse is talking and when they themselves are talking. 


Corny?

Maybe...

But it’s very effective for getting the younger players involved quickly, allowing them to easily differentiate between what they’re doing and what their character is doing.  The system is a simple one, and while there’s enough material in the book to allow the characters to keep going for the entire of their guard lives, it is a sandbox environment, there’s never likely to be times when the mice go far beyond the barrier and into the great wide unknown.  It could be down, but when you consider the problems that the mice face when they come up against a wolf, when you encounter a bear, or worse still, a human...


Well, the consequences would be unimaginable...

That said, it’s a well done and faithful representation of the world brought to life in the comics, the presentation values are spectacular, you have to think that they got a good deal with the publishers of the comic because the book is the same size and quality as the comics and although the artwork in the RPG is taken from the comics, all of it is perfect for purpose and chosen well.



When I bought the game, it was fifteen quid and remains to this day some of the best money I’ve ever spent on games... 

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