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Subject: Will my family and friends enjoy this game? rss

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Eric Bridge
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I know - you don't know me, so how could you possibly answer that. Well, here we are:

Most common players would be my wife, our 11 year old son, and myself. We also play games often with another married couple at church, and they like the same games we do.

We all enjoy fantasy, like Lord of the Rings, and my wife and son have read several famous fantasy series. However, none of us have the patience for long games. So Talisman 4th Edition and Expansions are now on the trading block, and I can already tell that Descent (either edition) would not be popular. The "overlord" angle tends to result in hurt feelings. Some cooperative games have worked, but my wife did not like Pandemic, Castle Panic, Defenders of the Realm, or Flash Point (those are on the trading block now too).

So far, our favorite games are things like Dixit, Lords of Waterdeep, Jamaica, Elder Sign, Carcassonne, Isla Dorada, Kingsburg, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, and silly games like Faces, Imaginiff, etc.

One thing in this game's favor is that "Secret of NIMH" is one of our all time favorite movies! (So much so that our two children have names from that film.) So we are intrigued by the idea of fantasy mice in a human world.

Here are my concerns:

1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?
2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?
3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.
4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?
5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.
6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.

Thanks very much for your advice.
 
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1) It gets shorter as you get more familiar with the rules, a bit, but one possibility is that the tiles are basically self-contained. So you can play through a tile or two, then very easily note down where you've got to and continue the chapter later.

2) The location tiles are more than enough. The lack of enemy types can get a little samey when your fourth encounter card in a row is "more roaches", but in most scenarios this is broken up by set-piece encounters where it might strictly be more of the same monsters, but there's extra rules or an interesting tile layout. There may only be four types of monster figure, but they get a lot of use out of them

3) Yes, definitely.

4) Most of the scenarios can be won without needing to play optimally, but there's no particular mechanism in the game to make it difficult for you. If that's the sort of thing you do in other co-ops, you'll probably do it here as well.

5) A good proportion of those rules questions are either answered in the manual or relate to fairly obscure situations. But ... of the games you've listed that you enjoy and I know, they're all a fair bit simpler. The basic rules are pretty straightforward once you understand them, and the manual has a good index for when things come up in play, but you should probably play the first chapter solo to get the rules down first.

6) Since I'm from the UK and find it difficult to buy any game for as little as $50, I think I might be a bit biased on this one...
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John "Omega" Williams
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ebridge wrote:
I know - you don't know me, so how could you possibly answer that. Well, here we are:

Most common players would be my wife, our 11 year old son, and myself. We also play games often with another married couple at church, and they like the same games we do.

We all enjoy fantasy, like Lord of the Rings, and my wife and son have read several famous fantasy series. However, none of us have the patience for long games. So Talisman 4th Edition and Expansions are now on the trading block, and I can already tell that Descent (either edition) would not be popular. The "overlord" angle tends to result in hurt feelings. Some cooperative games have worked, but my wife did not like Pandemic, Castle Panic, Defenders of the Realm, or Flash Point (those are on the trading block now too).

So far, our favorite games are things like Dixit, Lords of Waterdeep, Jamaica, Elder Sign, Carcassonne, Isla Dorada, Kingsburg, 7 Wonders, Ticket to Ride, and silly games like Faces, Imaginiff, etc.

One thing in this game's favor is that "Secret of NIMH" is one of our all time favorite movies! (So much so that our two children have names from that film.) So we are intrigued by the idea of fantasy mice in a human world.

Here are my concerns:

1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?
2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?
3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.
4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?
5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.
6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.

Thanks very much for your advice.


1: If you set up and review a chapter before starting then actual playtime can be alot shorter. First sessions tent to be long as everyone is getting the hand of the game.

2: 16 location tiles used in a variety of ways. and unlike about 90% of the rest of dungeoncrawlers, the locations are all individual. Id rather have 16 unique locations rather than 30 identicle tiles. As for the enemies. Think of it as in a standard adventure book. There tends to be one main set of opponents that the adventurers run into over and over that book. In this case its rats and bugs.

3: Its not a dungeon crawler in the normal sense. It is a story you are playing through. Take note that you do not get a "personal character" as you would in most other games. The possible characters you can use can and will change from chapter to chapter. Its all about how you get from point A to point B. and even if you CAN get there.

4: Well. That is an individual thing. Whoever is handling the brunt of the rules reading will likely be taking more responsibility than average. But once everyone is up to speed it is not so much a need. You do need to work as a team to a certain degree. You could even take turns assigning someone to be the "leader" each chapter.

5: Base gameplay is very straightforward. It is the little things like the fishhook and the initiative track that trip people up. Luckily the first chapter is a sort of tutorial meant to show you a number of the game elements and so helps fammiliaraize everyone with how things play.

6: 50$ is pretty good for what you get. I think the game could have done with 1-3 more minis, at the very least one for Vurst. But its a minor quibble. Good quality overall and sturdy components. Best of all is that the game designers are very active and helpfull so far. Which is infinitely better than 90% of the other game companies out there who are either dead silent, or actively hindering things.

Id say get the rules PDF and the sample chapter 1 and read through both to get an idea of the game. And/or look at the play videos around.
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Kris Wiggins
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First thought: Based on the games you like vs. the games you don't like, my initial impression is that you would not like M&M. I am not familiar with Lords of Waterdeep, Jamaica, Isla Dorada, or Kingsburg, but the other games you mention that you like I would categorize as being simpler than M&M. But the theme of M&M is incredible and the game play, as others have noted, once you get the hang of it, isn't too terribly complicated (barring the occasional special circumstance). So who knows?

Me: I've played M&M somewhere around 10 times and I'm sorry to say I'm kind of tired of it because it's so freaking HARD! haha Not in the rules sense, it stems from my curse of not being able to roll dice. In short, I always help the bad guys and cripple myself, making for VERY short games! haha I like to have fun, and losing M&M IMHO isn't as fun as losing Arkham Horror for instance. I'll pull it out if it's requested, but I haven't suggested it in a long time now.

ebridge wrote:
1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?

Roll poorly like me. I haven't timed it, but this time seems about right I think.

ebridge wrote:
2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?

If I had to rate minion variety in M&M on a 1-10 scale (10 being awesome), I would give it a 5. The minions really could be more varied. But there is a new expansion now with more figures (pretty sure it's out? Maybe not yet..). You're looking at dropping more cash for the expansion of course though.

ebridge wrote:
3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.

Theme out the wazoo.

ebridge wrote:
4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?

You can collaborate of course like "if you went there then I could do this which will help us", but really, once everyone gets the hang of it, there is no need for a "leader" per se. Making decisions about what your character should do is really the whole game.

ebridge wrote:
5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.

As others have said, the basic rules aren't complicated. But there are special circumstances and items that often require rule book referral. After 10 games I still find myself looking up how to use the grape for instance.

ebridge wrote:
6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.

There is a thread on this here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/990971/price-a-bit-too-h...

I think the niche is young kids. I think they would get swept away in the story and theme. I've only played with some buddies of mine (we're all mid-to-late 30s) and it was fun, but we just don't feel like scratching this itch very often.

Anyway, FWIW.
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Ray Greenley
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ebridge wrote:
1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?
2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?
3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.
4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?
5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.
6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.

Thanks very much for your advice.

Just a few thoughts to add what the others have said above.

1) In my experience the game can easily run past the 2 hour mark. Your best bet for this is to 'pause' the game and pick it back up later. This is relatively simple because of the modular nature of the encounters. Finish a tile, record the game state, and just pick it up at the next tile the next time you play.
2) Variety isn't too bad. Some more enemies would have been nice, but I don't find the current mix explicitly lacking. For tiles it's not an issue at all for me, because even if the specific tile is the same there are varying rules and events on the tiles for the different chapters. For me, that really helps keep things from feeling too much like the same.
4) This is a game a Table Captain can pretty easily dominate, especially if you grasp the tactics faster than the other players. You might have to work hard to bite your tongue when you see sub-optimal moves being made.
6) If you enjoy the game, I definitely think you get plenty for your money. The bits are fantastic and there's a lot of game in there.
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J Karrde
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ebridge wrote:
1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?
2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?
3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.
4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?
5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.
6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.

Expanding on all the good answers:

1. A good rule of thumb I've heard is about 15 minutes per tile. First few games will probably be more as you learn the rules and get used to the setup.

2. I haven't made it all the way thru the campaign yet, but I've been happy with it so far. Each chapter so far has felt unique to me (11 chapters in the story book). Also, the game looks like it will be very supported with future expansions. One small DLC chapter is available for PnP, a small expansion is in production now which will have some new minions, story, and a new mouse, and a large expansion is in the works which will have new tiles. So in the long run there will be a lot of replayability as more tiles/mice/minions become available.

4. You mentioned Pandemic and other co-ops above. Did this occur during those games?

5. Rules are fine. Maybe not the best, but not enough to deter you from the game, IMO. And the designer is very big on house rules and playing as you like. And the gameplay isn't too complex either. I typically play this solo and it's not a problem to run all 4+ mice and the minions at the same time.

6. Being a small company, Plaid Hat won't be lauded for great bang for your buck, but I enjoy all the components and the artwork is awesome. Also, good luck finding a trade partner (no sarcasm); this game has been in high demand and sells out fast in each of it's print runs.
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Bradford Lounsberry
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Baggies are your best friend when playing with kids. Every time you hit a new tile you have an chance to quit since each tile resets. Bag up each character seperately with their abilities, cheese and equipment. Make a note of where you are in the chapter. Then when you are ready to play again at a later date you just hand out the baggies to the players and you start right where you left off.
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ebridge wrote:

1) Playtime - BGG says 2 hours. Is there a way to shorten this?

Being really familiar with the nuances of each scenario cuts down a lot of the time as you won't need to check the Storybook for the special rules per tile. If you play through all of the scenarios on your own, you'll have a much faster time getting everyone through.

It also helps if you summarize the story, instead of reading the story moments verbatim. If you're playing with kids, don't summarize though, as the story can really engage them.

ebridge wrote:

2) Variety/Replayability - I was really hoping for more enemy types. Does it get boring fighting the same ones over and over? What about only have 8/16 location tiles?


I agree that the lack of enemy variety does make the battles feel repetitive. But it works in the scope of the main story.

As far as the locations are concerned, you're exploring the same castle but in different ways. I've played through 5 of the chapters and while there were tiles that were re-used, it never felt repetitive in a negative way, rather it felt familiar.

ebridge wrote:

3) Theme - It sounds like this is really immersive for a dungeon crawler, but I figured I should double-check anyway.


This game is oozing with theme. I'm not a fan of the mice theme, but I am a fan of high fantasy and this game captures that very nicely. I keep telling my friends that this game's story could make for an awesome 3D animated movie - its much better than what I've been watching in cinemas recently!

ebridge wrote:

4) Cooperation - Is it going to be too tempting for daddy to boss all the other mice around?


From personal experience, there are times when I'd make suggestions, or point out what the group needs, or say what bad things could possibly happen if one player makes a (in my opinion) bad or incorrect decision. But the game is forgiving enough to allow for mistakes here and there.

ebridge wrote:

5) Complexity - I'll be honest here. All the rules questions here on BGG give me a serious moment of pause.


Admittedly, there are specific situations which the rulebook doesn't clearly address - you have to cross-reference one rule with another and infer which works for a particular situation. While playing, its easy enough to go with what makes sense to you at that time, most of the situations I encountered aren't game breaking.

ebridge wrote:

6) Price - $50 or more is very pricey for our family. Do you folks feel the game is worth this much? I'd rather trade for it if I can, but this one seems too new for that.


It really depends on what you value in your game. A lot of people seem to really focus on the miniatures more over the rest of the components. In terms of miniature quality, Mice and Mystics is excellent. It's the quantity of the figures that people complain about, as well as the variety of the minion figures.

The other components are top notch. There's great art on everything, the backs of the character cards even have a detailed story on each character, all the tiles are very good works of art. I'd say the art and the quality of all the other components make up for the quantity and variety of the minis.
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Matthew Jones
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ralsar wrote:
Baggies are your best friend when playing with kids. Every time you hit a new tile you have an chance to quit since each tile resets. Bag up each character seperately with their abilities, cheese and equipment. Make a note of where you are in the chapter. Then when you are ready to play again at a later date you just hand out the baggies to the players and you start right where you left off.


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Finish the tile, bag it up put it away and you're set. I have mine up on the table right now. It does take FOREVER to get a full chapter in, with all the rest of the family's business.

As for the difficulty level: We're playing it with and, more importantly, for our boys. Sometimes die rolls go mysteriously well. Sometimes the cheese wheel or the chapter marker is futzed with when the boys aren't looking.

I'm playing it to created memories for my children of a great story and a fun game, not beat them to death with rules lawyering.
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