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Subject: Gaming with a 7, 10 and 12 year old - Mice and Mystics rss

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Sharon Khan
United Kingdom
Shefford
Bedfordshire
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This review is part of a series of reviews of how games have worked with my children, now 7, 10 and 12. For the full list see: My children's game reviews - children aged between 2 and 12.

Fun Components:

One of the biggest draw of this game is the fun components. Plastic mice, rats, centipede, and cardboard cheese all combine to make this a very visually appealing game for children. The cards are nicely themed too, and the other cardboard pieces are also visually appealing, so that the children are drawn into the game from the start. Also there are the boards, which are drawn to look like tunnels, or rooms in the house from a mouse perspective, and again are very visually attractive.

Simplicity of rules:

I played this several times before introducing it to my children, and I'm glad I did, as it has to be said that the rules are not trivial, and I still find myself checking the rulebook for particular situations, and almost every game I still find myself correcting small rules errors I have made in previous games. However, as it's a themey game, when I'm playing it with the kids in particular, I don't worry too much if the rules aren't perfect, as long as the spirit of the game is there and they're enjoying it. I can always check rules queries that come up after the game so I'm more prepared for future games - they're not going to sit there in a game while I spend ages checking something I'm not sure about, so I take a quick look and then just make a decision.

Having said that, if you don't worry too much about the details when situations come up, the basic rules are simple - on your turn you move and attack, or can move move, and attacking is very simple - just roll the right number of dice for both you and your opponent, and count up the relevant symbols. Even my 7 year old needed no help very early on with the basics, and anything more complex, such as scenario based rules exceptions, you can push them through.

Randomness:

This is a cooperative game, so you're not competing against each other but against the game, and my main concern in introducing it to my children was its difficulty. They've played through almost all the Hero Quest scenarios, where you get used to winning almost every map, it's just how much damage you take, and my early experience with this told me that it's not that sort of game - if anything you have less than a 50/50 success rate on your first play of each level, although with extra experience you can avoid some of the pitfalls and usually win on a second or third attempt. For all the early levels I'd played a few times before introducing them to my children, so I knew the things to avoid, and how best to approach each map to win, but we're now entering uncharted territory, and we have started to lose levels, and my children are less keen on this. It's ok as an adult having a game difficulty where you lose more than you win, but children like to win!

Did the children enjoy it?

When I first introduced it to them, as a result of their interest in Flash Point and Hero Quest, it was a huge hit, and we played it several times in quick succession. However, it wasn't an every day game, more a once a week game. They did seem to enjoy the mechanics though, especially the theme, and spent some time after one of the games playing with the bits, so it was quite a success. I will have to wait until the next school holidays to say whether it was a total hit - whether they liked it enough to come back to it after a gap.

And how is it from the adult's point of view?

I have to say I've almost lost interest playing this with adults - if I'm wanting a coop, then I usually turn to something else, and find this just doesn't appeal as much to me as most of the other options - and we're not a group that tends to play a huge number of coops anyway - we tend to turn to them for a bit of light relief after a few brain burners in a full day of gaming. However, with children this game actually appealed more, as we play it more from a fun perspective, than from a gamery one, and so playing it with them has saved it from the trade pile!
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Sharon, as a father of two daughters aged 8 and 6, I find your reviews invaluable!

Please, keep them coming!
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Shu
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I have played Sorrow and Remembrance and the Glorm expansion with my two daughters, age 6 and 9. We have had some epic battles and endings in some of the missions, and for the most part have had a blast playing. Next up is Downwood Tales and it seems like it is the best of all.

One of my daughters has played Maginos the whole time, while the other plays Lilly. I painted all the figures too. By sticking with a character, they really got into the game. Great stuff.

I heartily recommend playing this with kids, but I cannot really imagine playing it with just adults.

 
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M. Krauel
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I am in the process of playing the base game with my sons, 7 and 6. It is a great experience.

Each of them is playing one mouse (Collin and Rex), I have to play any additonal mouse and take the role of the gamemaster. I am playing relatively rules-light, handwaving any ambigious situation in favor of the mouses.

The Glorm expansion is already waiting to be played (and painted). I am wondering wether it is really suited for small kids, with undead and all. Does it feel or play different ?
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