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Subject: Are you sitting on the fence wondering about this game? rss

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Stephen Foulk
Canada
Toronto
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I saw Mice & Mystics advertised in the summer during a six-month visit to Canada and was mad keen to get hold of it but ended up back in the UK before it came out so, with the price carrying around a 50% increase over those in North American, I decided to put off buying it until I returned to the Great White North...

Then I watched the Rodney & Luke Smith "Watch It Played" videos and was thinking maybe I wouldn't wait after all... and then when I found out that the game had sold out from a lot of places I sort of panic-bought it when I found it for a decent enough price (I've missed out on games before by biding my time).

But then I read a couple of comments which gave both the components and game-play mixed reviews and I admit to some pre-delivery buyer remorse. So... if you're currently tempted and sitting on the fence I thought I'd share a couple of thoughts.

I don't intend to review the components in any depth - there are plenty of other reviews already doing this - suffice to say the cardboard components don't measure up in quality to a lot of 'Euro games' but easily match or exceed others; the cards probably need sleeving but that seems to be a standard practice with most gamers I know anyway.

Art work is very subjective but I happen to like it; I think the art on the tiles works really well despite not being hyper-detailed and the irregular nature of the spaces seems like a touch of genius to me.

The minis were slightly smaller than I expected (around 1" tall mice) but are very, very well sculpted with bags of detail and tied in perfectly to the artwork on the cards and in the books. They work fine unpainted but I'll be giving mine a 'wargame' standard of painting/dipping but I'm sure they would reward artists with some magnificent little models.

Another thing that worried me was that there were a few comments saying that the game play was repetitive and that there was a distinct lack of variety when it comes to the minions pitted against your heroes. I'd bought Castle Ravenloft when it first came out and had almost immediately become bored with it; had I just gone and dropped £55 on something similar?

Well... my answer is a very small 'yes' because there is a similarity and a much, much bigger 'NO' because that similarity is purely superficial. Whereas a lot of other dungeon crawl board games come with a bigger variety of creatures they often seem random and only vaguely 'themed' - the limited creature types here actually seems to suit M&M. You pretty much know you'll be facing rats and cockroaches in the main but rather than seeming repetitive it gives the feeling of waves of opponents as you move around the castle and when you do get other creatures there's a real sense of danger. I must also mention that each of the standard 'types' come with a couple of varieties with some really interesting affects to the game-play (who would have thought meeting greedy-cockroaches instead of cockroaches could create such a sense of panic in a team running out of time?!)

I've read people saying that there are limited choices for the characters and the combat is repetitive - this worried me because feeling like you're simply rolling endless dice on rail-tracks to the end-game is death to immersion in a game like this. It could have gone that way (there is a lot of dice rolling after all) but a couple of things made it feel much fresher to me.

One of these mechanisms is a side-effect of combats which can move time forward and makes you nervously anticipate each roll... as you can see a 'surge' approaching which will bring more difficult combinations of opponents, perhaps a semi-boss and also move the time inexorably onwards towards failure there is genuine tension.

Another aspect which I find keeps things fresh is the way each character has unique ways approaching combat but more importantly how the character abilities interact and compliment other characters. Add to this the wide variety of items that can be picked up and some things that must be found makes it feel like you're really trying to make your way through a logical 'dungeon' to accomplish you tasks. There are also side-quests which I never seem to have time to even try but I'm still pretty new to the game so I guess as I become better I will be able to get things done much faster.

I think it speaks volumes to say that I've played the first 'chapter' now maybe half a dozen times without it being particularly predictable and never boring. Even when you complete a chapter there is still plenty to be interested in by trying to do it faster, more completely and with different characters. I've never had the dice-rolling luck of Luke and Rodney in their videos and have hardly ever finished a chapter within the time limit; unless we're all captured (a complete failure) we play past the time limit until we finish to try to get a 'losing tie'.

I should also mention that mice are 'captured' not killed and return having escaped when you complete a tile. This might look a little too 'child-friendly' but is actually essential as trying to complete a chapter with less mice than the chapter calls for would be very difficult. Plus it has the massive advantage that no-one just has to sit around because they had the misfortune to have their character 'killed'.

If you are worried by the 'child friendly' tag you needn't let that put you off - it's cute by the nature of starring tiny mice but it really isn't bland or syrupy sweet, the mechanics are simple enough for interested kids to get to grips with but contain a wealth of subtleties to keep adults thinking.

In conclusion I'm so glad I ordered the game before I read those lukewarm comments by folks because I would have missed out on a really great gaming experience, the only people I wouldn't recommend this to are those who don't enjoy a good yarn or maybe don't have a good imagination or perhaps have severe murophobia.
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To answer your question: No.

(Good review though!)
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Dustin
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nope, just can't find it
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Rodney "Watch It Played" Smith
Canada
Montague
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I'll tell you this, we lost the first Chapter the first two times we played - so I know what you mean about struggling with even the first level
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Greg
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Nice review.

I really enjoy the heck out of the game, as do my kids and the adults I've taught it to.

There's enough variety to keep it fun and replayable. The mice play differently and they have choices of different class specific abilities to start off with. So different combinations of mice and different combinations of starting abilities will let you try different approaches to the Chapters.

You can save up cheese to level up and get another ability, or spend it to use your ability. You can also share it with other mice to allow them to use there abilities that might be pretty important at the moment.

They can equip with cool and thematic mouse sized weapons and equipment.

There's a end of the game time limit and things like getting captured or too many surges by the minions can push you closer to the end of the game and create some nice tension.

There are side adventures that you can opt to go on, or bypass if you are running out of time.

You can play each chapter as a separate game or start from the beginning and play in campaign mode.

Anyway, I just wanted to confirm what Stephen said in that this is a really good game.
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Curtis Sutherland
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Pelvidar wrote:
I'll tell you this, we lost the first Chapter the first two times we played - so I know what you mean about struggling with even the first level


I bought it after seeing 'Watch it Played' as well.

I agree with the review, and I would add that the story is very immersive, like watching a good cartoon similar to Watership Down. Its really nothing like Watership Down, but I always am reminded of that one when I play for some reason.

Also there is no better game for the kids. When my daughter kills something she puts her fist in the air and says 'Lilly is a Hero!' or Collin, or whoever she just used.

I'm glad I bought it cause the other games she like most are lame lol
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Patrick Millin
South Africa
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Absolutely agree with your review, I went through serious post purchase dissonance with this one, but after watching "Watch it Played" and playing a few sessions, I had a eureka moment, this really is an excellent game and I have even got my Wife to play believe you me that is ground breaking in its self
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Paul Bauman
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I guess I must be one of those sour commenters. ninja I've played a few theme-heavy miniatures games and for the right group of players Mice & Mystics is certainly pretty fun. It is, however, comparatively light on the gameplay, with more emphasis on story events. If you've never played a minis game before, or really like a good Mouse Guardish story, you'll have a very different perspective on this game. I was expecting a light game, so I wasn't too disappointed with it either and I've enjoyed it for what it is. But if someone is coming at this from a background in Descent or Claustrophobia or Earth Reborn, I just think they should be aware that it is a pretty basic miniatures game at its core, with a strong narrative component that may or may not appeal, depending on your taste for Redwall/Mouse Guard.
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Branko K.
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As a matter of fact, yes, I am currently sitting on a fence, and yes, I was just thinking about rodent-based dungeon crawlers.

I'm suddenly feeling rather uncomfortable... ninja
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Viktor H
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A Good rewiev, and not only because it concurs with my own oppinion.
Unlike the OP I was never on the fence, I wanted this since it was first mentioned, and Im very happy with buying this game.
For me the story element is really gripping and I cant wait to see what happens next. Of the groups that I play this with the one furthest along has only gotten to the 4th chapter(fail it) and I dont read ahead.
 
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Greg
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Frohike wrote:
I guess I must be one of those sour commenters. ninja I've played a few theme-heavy miniatures games and for the right group of players Mice & Mystics is certainly pretty fun. It is, however, comparatively light on the gameplay, with more emphasis on story events. If you've never played a minis game before, or really like a good Mouse Guardish story, you'll have a very different perspective on this game. I was expecting a light game, so I wasn't too disappointed with it either and I've enjoyed it for what it is. But if someone is coming at this from a background in Descent or Claustrophobia or Earth Reborn, I just think they should be aware that it is a pretty basic miniatures game at its core, with a strong narrative component that may or may not appeal, depending on your taste for Redwall/Mouse Guard.


Well I've got Earth Reborn and love it, but there's no way in heck that I would expect Mice & Mystics to have that much depth. They are totally different animals. Anyone that was expecting M&M to be like Descent, Claustrophobia or Earth Reborn and being disappointed that is isn't, has the problem, not this game.
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Marc Mistiaen
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foulksy wrote:
I've never had the dice-rolling luck of Luke and Rodney


FTFY
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James
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Just undecided about the replay value of the game once you've completed the story since I'm not much for creating my own story lines.
I must admit though, the miniatures do look nice and I wouldn't mind painting them.
 
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Matt Riddle
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Ya I am still on the fence. I just don't know about a story driven game experience. I will miss my dry euro mechanic interactions. Despite watching the watch it played series and reading these reviews I an stick trying to talk myself into it... its a matter of "when" not "if" at this point though
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Mr. Blue
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I think I am in the extreme minority on the miniatures issue. The fact that they come beige and unpainted is a complete turn-off to me. I really have no interest in painting minis, so to me, the game looks incomplete with the current bits, especially at its price point. Pre-painted figures done well would probably be cost-prohibitive, but I do wish that we at least had mice tinted the colors reflected on the cards.

 
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Miroslav Krajcovic
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mrblueesq wrote:
I think I am in the extreme minority on the miniatures issue. The fact that they come beige and unpainted is a complete turn-off to me. I really have no interest in painting minis, so to me, the game looks incomplete with the current bits, especially at its price point. Pre-painted figures done well would probably be cost-prohibitive, but I do wish that we at least had mice tinted the colors reflected on the cards.



I see this an easy fix - paiting base with one color and the easiest thing. I always paint bases first to get a "quick" win in looks improvement (distinguish mini from the base).
 
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Mr. Blue
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knight22 wrote:
mrblueesq wrote:
I think I am in the extreme minority on the miniatures issue. The fact that they come beige and unpainted is a complete turn-off to me. I really have no interest in painting minis, so to me, the game looks incomplete with the current bits, especially at its price point. Pre-painted figures done well would probably be cost-prohibitive, but I do wish that we at least had mice tinted the colors reflected on the cards.



I see this an easy fix - paiting base with one color and the easiest thing. I always paint bases first to get a "quick" win in looks improvement (distinguish mini from the base).


That assumes we all have suitable primer and paint for plastic minis in the correct 6 different colors...
 
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DOUGLAS BRUNDIN
United States
Akron
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Got this game for xmas and played two games yesterday. Lost both pretty badly. Lol. But as a father and gamer, this game is a huge hit. If we played through the base game and eventually beat them all, we will have gotten our money out if it 100% its an excellent value and a quality product.

Well done Plaid Hat!
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Roger McKay
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The components (especially the minis) are great in my eyes.

If my online vendor had it in stock, a copy would be making its way to me right now.

I have been looking for a good dungeon crawl co-op game for a while, and this looks like it has enough depth and content to last for a while.
 
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