Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Adventures with Mice and Mystics


So, several months ago, I bought the game Mice and Mystics to play with my family and maybe as a subversive introduction to RPGs for my 7-year-old son.

We made a few attempts at "Chapter 1" of the campaign, most of which failed, but most of those failures also included misunderstandings of the rules.
After setting aside the game in a "saved state" from September and picking it back up with my son over Christmas break, we finally finished Chapter 1!
We attempted Chapter 2 once and failed, but haven't tried again.

Last night, because I'm really curious about finishing the story, I decided to take the game off the shelf, write down a 'Save file' sheet of where we'd left off, and start my own parallel solo campaign going.

I played for nearly 2 hours.
Early in the game, I rolled incredibly well, on both Search and Attack/Defense rolls, and things were looking great.

I made a few tactical errors -- one of which was due to me being used to looking at the board upside-down so I went the wrong way -- but still, the game continued going pretty well.
I was doing well enough that I decided to try the "side mission" which rewards you with an extra token that will come up later in the story (the "Miz Maggie Ally Token"; I still don't know what it does).  But completing this side mission actually causes the hourglass marker to move closer to the endgame, giving you less time to complete the chapter. (or so I thought!)

I finally made it to the final tile. I killed off the nasty centipede and 2 spiders (one who appeared as the result of a Surge). The field was clear. All I needed to do was get all my mice to the tree.

3 of my mice were at the tree.
Nez, the slowest mouse of the group, was the last in initiative order.
The Hourglass marker was on "Page 5", where "Page 6" was endgame  (or so I thought!)
The Cheese Wheel was at 5 Cheese; one more cheese and (or so I thought...) it would have caused a surge and game over.
And due to the rules, if an initiative round ends with no bad guys on the board, a cheese automatically gets added.
And Nez rolled poorly for movement. Very poorly. He didn't make it!
I thought this caused a technical loss of the game, and by decree of fudge-factor, I declared it a win.
And I bared my soul on boardgamegeek, asking for sympathy and reassurance that I should have gotten the moral victory.

But then the BGG community came in and saved the day, in 2 very big ways.

First: I forgot that you could take a second move action if you did nothing else. So Nez made it to the tree either way and they lived happily ever after (until Chapter 2).

But they also pointed out another rule that my whole family had been getting backwards all along, and caused a bit of frustration on its own.
Completing the side-mission (and fulfilling certain other minor "reward" tasks which I had been actively avoiding) doesn't give you *less* time. It gives you *MORE* time!! The hourglass doesn't move forward. The chapter-end marker moves forward!

So not only did I technically win. I won with time to spare.
And this was one of the mechanics, I think, that irked my wife and son and certainly at least indirectly contributed to many of our losses or decisions.
Maybe now that I know another rule we'd been getting wrong, they'll give it another chance!

Either way, I succeeded, and my solo campaign is off to Chapter 2!
Onward to victory!