Mice and Mystics - Board Game Box Shot

Mice and Mystics

| Published: 2012
Mice and Mystics title

Adventure Awaites! In Mice & Mystics players take on the roles of those still loyal to the king - but to escape the clutches of Vanestra, they have been turned into mice! Play as cunning field mice who must race through a castle now twenty times larger than before.

The castle would be a dangerous place with Vanestra's minions in control, but now countless other terrors also await heroes who are but the size of figs. Play as nimble Prince Colin and fence your way past your foes, or try Nez Bellows, the burly smith. Confound your foes as the wizened old mouse Maginos, or protect your companions as Tilda, the castle's former healer. Every player will have a vital role in the quest to warn the king, and it will take careful planning to find Vanestra's weakness and defeat her.

Mice and Mystics components

Mice & Mystics is a cooperative adventure game in which the players work together to save an imperiled kingdom. They will face countless adversaries such as rats, cockroaches, and spiders, and of course the greatest of all horrors: the castle's housecat, Brodie. Mice & Mystics is a boldly innovative game that thrusts players into an ever-changing, interactive environment, and features a rich storyline that the players help create as they play the game. The Cheese System allows players to horde the crumbs of precious cheese they find on their journey, and use it to bolster their mice with grandiose new abilities and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

Mice and Mystics figures
images © Plaid Hat Games

User Reviews (31)

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9
I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
7
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“Role-Playing for Non-Role-Players”

In the first 8 months I owned Mice and Mystics I attempted to start it 3 times to no avail. All 3 attempts were playing Chapter One, and none were successful. Unfortunately, they also weren’t fun. But when you pay this much for a game you give it some rope, so a month ago I sat down with a group of 3 friends and made plans to play this game together once or twice a week until we got through all chapters included in the base game. Having done so, I’ve worked up some level of appreciation for the game and feel comfortable passing on my experiences to you.

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
I have several games that take an eon to set up, and this is right up there with Arkham Horror at the top of the curve. Initially there is much cardboard to punch, so your first game will take a few hours to set up (including a careful read through the rulebook). Repeat set-ups take at least 15 minutes; there’s set tile formations depending on the chapter, special cards to fish out from their respective decks, particular tokens that will or won’t be used in the chapter. And the games are quite long to start – easily 2 hours for your first handful of games, with the rulebook as your constant companion. Even with experience, I don’t think I’ll be able to whittle this down to a one-hour play time.

My Learning Curve and Teach Time
The learning curve on this fella is pretty steep. While several mechanics will feel familiar, the ones that were new to me – such as the initiative track – take getting used to. I got nowhere in my first 3 games, but that certainly has something to do with them being spread over 3 or 4 months. Once we sat down and focused on a bigger campaign we were able to set the rule book down by Chapter Three or so. Overall play time to that point was around 10 hours. The game can be taught reasonably quickly provided someone with experience is overseeing things… 15 to 20 minutes should be sufficient, and a decided improvement over learning from the rulebook.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
As mentioned previously, my substantive experience with this game came with the same group of 4… I would classify two of us as “avid” gamers, one as “casual” and one as “family”. I think we all enjoyed the game equally, but I do feel that this game’s real target audience is the cross-section of board gamers and role-playing gamers. It’s not as complicated as a role-playing game, but possesses many of the qualities fans of the genre appreciate. As none of us are into role-playing games, we all liked Mice and Mystics but didn’t love it.

Objectionable Material
I think the vast love being given to Mice and Mystics comes from its kid-friendliness. It’s like reading your child a bedtime story, but one they play instead of doze off to. There are knives, tense moments, a sorceress… nothing Disney hasn’t prepared a 5-year-old for with their G-rated fare. While the game is highly reading-intensive, an adult can handle all of it and spare their child that limitation. When I play this with my son (when he’s around 5, I would guess) I will probably get much more into it than playing with a group of adults.

Comparable Titles
Games lying in that role-playing/board gaming hybrid zone will be comparable, but most of these are rather adult where Mice and Mystics is designed with youngsters in mind. Within my collection, Mice and Mystics plays like a much denser Zombicide… both have variable board set-ups, roughly 8 included missions in the base game and nice miniatures. But with Zombicide I will constantly make my own boards… throwing together tough tile layouts, setting difficult objectives and sadistic door and spawn-zone placements, completely ignoring any narrative or story… I don’t feel like I can do that with Mice and Mystics. With this game I’m either replaying a chapter I’ve played before or waiting for a new one. That works OK, but it’s nowhere near as re-playable.

I enjoy Mice and Mystics – it’s going into the growing pile of games I’m really excited to pull out when my child is of-age. But it pains me that I’m more likely to play a game like Zombicide – with its ultra-violence, gore and guns – than a comparatively wholesome game like Mice and Mystics. If I was more into role-playing games I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case, but the “sale” of Mice and Mystics to me is the story, and once you know it, you’re left waiting for the next expansion.

 
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7
Advanced Grader
Novice Reviewer
Knight
9
148 of 155 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 3
“Brodie pounced my review. (minor spoilers)”

The story of Mice and Mystics is of a King who has fallen under a terrible curse, and a group of loyal followers who magically turn themselves into Mice to escape and attempt to save the King. Unfortunately for the Mice, the enemies have caught onto their plan and have also been transformed into miniature size to follow and capture them. But don’t forget about Brodie the cat!

Summary

Mice and Mystics is a simplified version of what would be a table top Role-playing Game. Every player has a character(s) that they play. Each character having their own classes/armor/abilities that they can use through the game. When playing, you will be provided with a chapter of the book to play from. Each chapter details the story, provides scenarios, win and lose objectives, and sometimes even an after story if the participants succeed.

Even though the game is a simplified table top RPG, it still has several rules and moving parts, yet it still holds true to table top RPGs. For example, the story and character personalities are there, you still roll dice for combat/movement, spells and range require line of sight to your target, etc.

Breakdown

Pros
-The Story is pretty awesome. It plays well to give you immersion and character coloration. Very enjoyable for all ages.
-The pieces to the game are well done. The Minis are detailed, but left uncolored for painting. Dice are unique to the game but have a nice design. Then you have character cards, ability, cards, and several tokens. The list goes on.
-Each chapter provides unique encounters, each of which need to be played differently. For example, in chapter one, you go from basic fight to helping Ms. Maggie (human cook) fight off roaches. Unfortunately Ms. Maggie is unaware all of you are mice as well and she becomes part of the encounter.
-There is an achievement system (acheesements) that provides benefits to the players and party.
-The game is miniaturized. What I mean by this, is that everything has been structured to mouse size in an imaginative way. Tiles have been made so that you can weave in and out from underground areas. Even new equipment is make shift armor made from small objects like coins, walnut shells and fish hooks.

Cons
-The biggest gripe of this game is the rules. As a table top RPG player myself, I found myself going through the book several times to get the rules right. Even then I had to check forums and FAQs for clarifications because the game has so many moving parts that often clash or become hard to keep track of. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like going through a 200 page player’s handbook, but the rules are still much more elaborate than a basic board game.
-Alpha gaming. Those of you not familiar with this, it is when a dominant personality attempts to take over everything what everyone is doing. This issue doesn’t really come up in my group, but there is always a possibility of this happening in any coop game.
-A bit of power gaming imbalance during moments of the game. To succeed you must progress your characters. Some characters will get their items/abilities much faster than others, this can lead to some characters being much more powerful than others in the party. However in the longer run, everything will even out as there is only so much you can get.
-Limited dice. 5 dice for 4 players is annoying to put it bluntly. Most times, you need 2-3 dice for a basic attack but then you get abilities and equipment that give you more dice to roll. Considering you have to do attacks/defense for every character and enemy, the passing of the dice gets a bit annoying.
-I would recommend a set party of four. Technically you can play any chapter with any random group of people that are willing the play, but this game would be enjoyed most if you have the same people developing their own characters and playing the story along side you.

Conclusion

While Mice and Mystics is a very rule heavy game, this is really just the nature of a table top RPG game and I don’t blame the developer of the game at all for needing to clarify the rules through forums and FAQ (most table top players know this). That being said, this is easily one of my favorites. While I don’t want to judge the story until I find out the ending, the story so far has been enough to develop personalities, scenarios and encounters. This is a game that kids will easily love, but they would need an adult to administer the game and RP the dialogue with them! Even in a group of adults, I play with my 3 friends and we all enjoy it. As said above, I like to keep a set party for the game, so we plan a day that we can all meet and play together. But I have to resist every urge in my body to read ahead. Then during game nights, it’s well worth it.

 
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3
10
146 of 153 gamers found this helpful
“Beautifully Crafted Fun with Whimsical Theme”

I’ve never been able to such a diverse group of people playing one game. Mice and Mystic’s style seems to be the catch all for every gamer (even some non-gamers) ever.
Some people enjoyed it with me because it was cute, some because they like RPG elements, some because they liked the story, some because you got to work together, pretty much anybody can enjoy this game for some aspect.

It’s very easy to get engrossed in the little mouse world with the great story telling and wonderfully crafted personalities of each character mouse. I have found that every player gets rather attached to the mouse they chose as “theirs” or “them.”

Not only is it well crafted on the narrative side, it’s a game that looks as good as it feels. Every piece of art, every character picture, every path tile is not wasted on it’s visuals. Everything has a distinct visual personality to it.

In addition, when I first got it I was skeptical about the replay value of a one off set of story missions. I figured they might get bland after awhile. In response to that, I have played the very first mission 8 different times with different people and groups and every time for me has been a blast. There is a little “forbidden knowledge” when you play a second time but that doesn’t mean that you know exactly how the mission is going to turn out.

Overall, this game is close to my heart because so many people have had great experiences with it. Mice and Mystics is perfect for families, friends, and anybody else who even slightly enjoys gaming.

I haven’t spoken a lot on the actual game play part because I don’t think that this game is focused on rules, rules, rules. This game is all about having a great time. Jerry Hawthorn (the author of this game) fully supports changing it if there is an aspect that you do or do not like. It’s all about a great time, and it delivers. If someone is grumpy playing Mice and Mystics, you aren’t playing it right. =) Now go have some mousey adventures!

 
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5
Went to Gen Con 2012
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
9
239 of 251 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 2
“Great game - One lesson is well-learned, nothing's half as dangerous as a sorceress spurned. ”

Mice and Mystics is a delightful game to play. The game has a wonderful story line about a castle, the evil Vanestra, and how the kings loyal subjects become mice to save the kingdom.

Components:
The games contains a number of markers for when you mouse becomes stunned, webbed, poisoned or wounded. Ability cards for you to choose your mouse abilities. Search cards for when you search an area – some items are good – some are not. Six mice figures with their character cards, as well as plastic miniatures for the roaches, rats, spider and centipede you will be fighting.

The miniatures are not painted but the art on the cards is colorful and very nice.

Tiles are included that you will use as maps for you exploration. They are double sided, and it is very likely that you will flip a tile to continue your exploration. Picture yourself on a grate lifting the grate up and splashing into the tunnel below.

There is an rule book and an adventure book. The adventure book has the various scenarios that you will be playing. You don’t have to play the adventures in order, but its more fun if you do.

Adventure reading note: Currently on the Mice and Mystics website you can purchase Rich Sommer performing a reading of the story moments from the Mice and Mystics storybook. He does a wonderful job with all of the voices.

Gameplay:

Typically you play with 4 mice going on an adventure. The first scenario is the mice trying to escape the dungeon of the castle to the large tree in the courtyard. This is a cooperative adventure game that can be played by 1-4 people. Playing with one person means that person is playing the roles of all four mice.

There is a time element involved in play. As you role dice for fighting or blocking you may role a cheese. If you role a cheese, YEA, you can save them to level up your character, or maybe heal another mouse. If the slimy cockroach you are fighting rolls a cheese that cheese may be placed on the cheese wheel. Once the cheese wheel is full a surge happens. That can be very bad news for the adventures as new enemies are added to the board. Sometimes the surge brings that dreaded cat!

Needless to say there is attacking, defending, scurrying, and healing that is going to go on in the little group.

Summary
I loved the game. It was fun to play and the rules are not difficult to understand. Most scenarios take between 1 1/2 – 2 hours. There are side adventures that your team can decided to take or not that affect the play time. You can play the game as an adventure keeping your level advancements and some items as you move from scenario to scenario.

There is a new scenario that you can purchase online at the Plaid Hat games website.

So grab some friends and go save the kingdom or at least Lilly. She has her tail caught in a mousetrap. RUN she is under attack.

 
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7
Knight-errant
Old Bones
The Silver Heart
10
204 of 215 gamers found this helpful
“A special game that fills some big shoes”

I have to start this by telling a brief story. It seems appropriate.

About 7 years ago I picked up Heroscape after seeing commercials for it on Saturday morning cartoons. I remember reading through the rules and thinking that it was a special game. I saw it for almost unlimited possibilities that it presented. It could be played as a simple kill em all skirmish, or if could be a RPG-lite game. Put some thought and creativity into map and scenario design and it was a great toolbox for a lot of gaming fun and memories.

Fast forward to today (well a few days ago), and I find myself reading the Mice and Mystics rule book. I had some of the same feelings about this one that I did about Heroscape. Sure it is a little more limited in its wide open potential, but it presents an excellent toolbox for fun.

The game pits the forces loyal to the king, magically changed to mice, against the minions of Vanestra. You work together to thwart her evil designs as you negotiate the familiar, and suddenly much bigger, castle environment. You can explore the places familiar, and unfamiliar when you go through the holes and tunnels in floors and walls.

Each game tells a chapter of the story book. There is a reading section that sets the stage for what you will try to accomplish. You explore the castle trying to accomplish your mission, and fight Vanestra’s minions all along the way.

Cheese is kind of the currency and time keeping resource of the game. As you roll dice in combat you can collect cheese (one face of the dice awards cheese in combat). Cheese powers special abilities, it allows you to “level up” and gain new powers, and as minions collect cheese, it advances the story one page closer to the end of the chapter. You cheer when the cheese side of the dice comes up on your rolls, and you groan when the minions get cheese and you get that much closer to a surge of baddies.

The components are excellent. The minis are very cool and detailed even without compensating for their stature. The multipurpose dice are likewise very cool. The double sided (human areas and mouse tunnels) board pieces set the stage perfectly for the tales of adventure you will play out. A really nice touch is an index at the end of the rule book.

There is a finite number of chapters in the story book, and I’m sure there will be some who complain about there only being that many plays in the game. Plaid Hat Games already has a pdf download of a chapter for a buck. More of those in the future along with using your own creativity to write your own chapters lend a feeling of almost unlimited replayability.

While circumstances seem to be dictating that the Heroscape chapter of my life may be coming to a close, Mice and Mystics is stepping up to the plate and aiming its bat at the center field wall like Babe Ruth. I have that same feeling that it is a special game like Heroscape was and still is, and it has that extra bonus that my daughters are a lot more interested this time around.

 
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9
Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
8
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“Play out characters in a story with your friends as filthy rodents”

Daz Bellows gave his son a stern wag of the finger. “Into the bed with you boy!” he said gruffly. Little Tip gave a hefty yawn and a stretch, and then climbed into his straw nest, his tail curling around him. Outside the tree, the wind was howling, and the snow was forming mounds. But inside it was warm and dry, and Daz tucked Tip in with a thick blanket. “That’s my lad,” he said softly, and fluffed the scruffy fur between Tip’s mouse ears. “Dream of spring and pretty things that bloom.” He turned to blow out the enormous candle that stood in the corner of the bedroom, but Tip sat up.
“Don’t leave yet, Papa,” he said. “The wind is fearsome tonight. Stay with me and tell me a story.” Daz arched an eyebrow.
“A story, eh? And which one do you have in mind?” Tip’s tail twitched with excitement.
“Tell me the story of brave Prince Collin and the Kingdom of Men!” Daz chuckled and settled into the walnut shell rocker that sat near the nest. Candlelight danced over the face of his excited son. (From the storybook included with the game)

Premise

Mice and Mystics is meant to be played as a multi-part campaign. As such, there is, in addition to the rule book which governs overall gameplay, a storybook that both provides flavor for each scenario and special rules that apply to the scenario. The crux of the premise here is that the widowed king meets a beautiful evil woman who ruins the kingdom, and those loyal to the king are arrested and magically transform themselves into mice to escape the dungeon. The evil queen figures it out and transforms her minions into rats to catch them. The mice will also have to overcome insects, cats and the kindly old cook in their adventures to save the kingdom.

Components

The box contains the aforementioned rule and story book, a story control board. 8 double-sided map tiles, 5 proprietary dice, 22 miniatures and necessary cards and counters. The miniatures are made of a good-quality brown plastic and have nice detail to them. They are certainly candidates for painting. Everything else included seems to be of decent quality. No qualms here.

Gameplay

The first step in playing Mice and Mystics is to choose a scenario to play. You can choose whatever one you want, but the design of the game is to have them be played in order. Not only is a linear story being told, but our heroes gain skills and equipment along the way that can carry over from scenario to scenario, and the game design and scenario difficulty takes this into account.

Each scenario accommodates as certain number of mice. This is generally 4, although a couple push it to 6. This means a group moving through the campaign would generally number maximum 4 players, as one person could easily play two mice, but two players sharing one would just be silly.

Each hero starts with unique stats and equipment. As the campaign progresses, 6 different mice will be available, allowing players to sometimes change who they play to accommodate the scenario at hand. Some are melee specialists and others have a ranged focus. Each of four stats on the hero costs, battle, defense, lore and movement have a number on them. With the exception of lore, this value determines how many dice the mouse rolls when performing a function based on that statistic.

The dice themselves are rather brilliant in my opinion. Many games would use multiple kinds of proprietary dice to accomplish the various rolls required by this type of game, or, instead, use standard dice with various rules governing how they apply to each roll. Mice and Mystics uses five colorful dice with various markings on them to move the game along, and after a short time using them, the rules are simple to remember.

For example, there are 4 pictures on the six sides on the dice, a bow and arrow, sword, sword and shield and cheese wedge. The bow and arrow results determine damage done when attempting a ranged attack, sword and sword and shield melee damage and sword and shield defense. In addition to these, there are stars on some sides and numbers from 1-3 on each side. The stars determine success when searching and certain skills and the numbers are used with movement. Cheese, well, we will get into that.

The stats determine the versatility of the character chosen. For example, to move, a player rolls dice equal to the number assigned to the movement statistic. The mouse than moves the total of the number indicated on the die. Filch, for example, rolls three dice for movement and rolls two dice to attack. Nez, on the other hand, rolls one for movement but up to four to attack with his starting equipment. A good balance of abilities is important when you have options of what mice to take.

The storyboard is used to keep track of hero and enemy turn order by placing cards representing the heroes and baddies along a track after shuffling them upon an encounter. Rather than having a player act as a dungeon master, the baddies are controlled by the players themselves adhering to specific rules about their movement and attack based upon hero location and initiative. This is very similar to how combat works in one of my all-time favorite games, Warhammer Quest. Once a new tile is entered by the players, and encounter card is drawn. This encounter card determines what enemies or hazards the players will face in this room. Certain rooms, however, have rules outlined in the storybook for the scenario being played.

The storyboard also has a timer presented as pages in a book. When certain things happen throughout the course of the game, a counter with an hourglass depicted on it. This counter is moving toward a “chapter end” counter, whose placement is determined by rules for the specific scenario being played. Some events move this counter forward, and other will move the chapter end marker further along the track. When the hourglass gets to the chapter end marker, the scenario ends in failure for the heroes. I always look at this as something of a fatigue tracker.

The cheese side of the dice do different things depending if the baddies roll them or the player. When attacking or defending, any cheese rolled by the players’ results in a cheese wedge token being given to the player. These tokens power the hero’s special skills and, when six are collected, can be used to level up the hero, giving said hero another skill that is retained through the campaign.

Every cheese rolled by the baddies is put on the cheese wheel located on the storyboard. Once six pieces of cheese are on the wheel, they are removed and the page marker is moved one page closer to chapter end. In addition, the first time this happens on a tile, a special surge occurs. This generally means more baddies for the mice to fight, and what happens is determined by the encounter card drawn upon entry to the room, or detailed in the storybook for special scenario rooms.
Each turn, a mouse may use its action to search the room for items. The mouse rolls a die, and if a star is present, the mouse found something! A card is drawn from the search deck. This could result in new equipment, one-time special attacks, party items to more easily navigate the dungeon, or, possibly, a trap. After clearing a tile, of course, mice can search without worrying about getting stabbed by a rat, but each turn spent on a tile without baddies on it results in another cheese wedge added to the cheese wheel.

There is of course more, but if you interest is piqued, you can always take a look at the rulebook rather than watch me drone on here. There are a good amount of rules, and some items will likely result a look in the rulebook from time to time. I don’t find this unpleasant or disruptive, but some might. I have experienced a couple of defeats and some really close calls, so pacing and play-testing seem to be pretty spot on.

Summary and thoughts

What we have here is a story-driven campaign-type roleplaying game. It works best with groups willing to come back to the game again and again, rather than a game that gets pulled out every now and then with new players. There are a good amount of rules involved, and you will be consulting the rulebook frequently the first few scenarios. The storybook is a must every game, as there are scenario-specific rules. Playtime for a scenario is an hour to two hours, and players who have trouble planning their actions before their turn comes up can really drag out a scenario. I have seen some people complain that there are unclear rules. I have not experienced that often enough to bother me, however, and a quick Google search has taken care of clarifications the couple of times it came up in our group. This is not a game you pull out just to pass the time or as a one-off. There is a level of commitment required.

My Verdict

I like this game. The story is somewhat silly, but I kind of get a kick out of playing what sort of amounts to a story being told to a kid by his grandpa, Princess Bride style. My favorite kind of video game is an RPG, where you invest time and energy into creating and growing your characters, and that element is well done in this board game version of an RPG. I would recommend this game for a tight group of 3-4 gamers looking for more than just a board game to play, but a story and world to immerse themselves in for a time. The downside, of course, to this type of game is that once you play through the campaign a good deal of the magic wears off. There is an expansion, however, to help mitigate that eventuality. Even then, starting another play through with a new group would be just fine for many people after the first group is done. This game could certainly be played solo, but I would miss the group interaction in doing so and end up a little flat, so I wouldn’t recommend solo gameplay.

 
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7
Greater Than Games fan
Stone of the Sun
Chief Inspector
9
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“Small heroes, Big game”

Overview: Mice and Mystics is a cooperative game in which the players take on the role of one of six mice who are trying to recover their castle from the evil Vanestra. The mice, who were loyal subjects of the castle, were mystically transformed to allow them to escape from the prisons under the castle. Now they must search the castle for weapons and armor and fight minions to somehow defeat these evil forces. Although the game can support up to 6 players, most scenarios (or chapters) will only allow a maximum of 4 players at a time. There is a solo play version of the game which simply involves one person deciding the actions of all the mice. This can be a little hairy but virtually guarantees cooperation among the mice.
Components: The game comes with several reversible “tiles” which comprise the gameboards for each chapter, several well-sculpted prepainted plastic miniatures, numerous cards — mostly representing items and abilities to be gained (89 standard size 63mm x 88mm cards and 47 mini Euro size 43mm x 67mm cards for you sleevers), dice, storybook (adventure guide) , rulebook, and several cardboard tokens.
Gameplay: Following the narrative in the storybook, each game consists of players guiding the mice through levels and rooms under and in the castle. Each room has its own set of minions and objectives. The mice can move, fight, search or explore each turn. Outcomes of searches and battles are determined by roll of the dice. Once the minions are defeated, the party can move on to the next tile. Tarry too long and a surge might be triggered, adding more minions to the fray. If a mouse loses all its “hearts,” it is captured and only able to come back into play after all minions are defeated. Too many captured mice or triggered surges will lead to defeat.
Impression: Despite the evil minions and battles that occur, the theme, artwork and story appeal to families with young children. Even my daughter and wife, who are not gamers, seem to enjoy playing this game. Winning is not easy, although a learning curve will allow future successes. There is some luck involved since many outcomes are determined by rolling dice. This game would certainly appeal more to casual, family, and possibly social gamers than strategy and power gamers. Replayability is limited since it is not likely that players will revisit a chapter already completed. Future chapters and expansions would certainly be likely. Overall, this is a very charming game with an appeal to those who like cuddly heroes.

 
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4
Explorer - Level 1
9
175 of 185 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Deceptively Difficult”

I knew I’d play this game with my kids as soon as I saw photos of it on the web. We pre-ordered and we’re so glad we did! The components are wonderfully made and the look of the boards, cards, and books are really top notch. A LOT of care went into making this title.

The game itself is sort of pitched as a dungeon crawler / story game that’s approachable enough for kids and broken up into chapters. I’ve gotta tell you, it’s really tough to get a chapter finished before the hourglass gets to the chapter end marker for even veteran gamers. I’ve played a few times with the kids, once with friends, and probably 5 times attempting to solo a chapter… those dice, while attractive, are mean, vengeful cubes of despair. (Hoping the extra sets I just bought from PHG will be easier on us).

The story that’s woven into each chapter is engaging and got my kids excited. The idea of rescuing one of the characters in chapter 2 before getting to use her was an incredible hook for my daughter! The basic mechanics of moving, battle, searching, etc. are straight forward enough. What really sets this game apart is not just how diverse each chapter is… but how gameplay varies incredibly from tile to tile within each chapter.

Just the other night I was able to use a fork to launch a grape at a couple of Elite Rat Warriors on a table. After successfully killing one, I then used the fork to launch one of my mice onto the table top to finish off the other. How epic is that? And that’s just in chapter 3! I can’t wait to see what’s do-able in our adventures in the later chapters… and future expansions that PHG is already dropping hints about.

While the rulebook looks great, the organization seems a little off to me. The first few games took a lot of flipping back and forth to see how certain situations would affect our next actions. It’s the one thing ‘lacking’ in my mind. Overall, this game is really worth the price of admission. There’s so much fun stashed in this box – you can’t lose! Well, you will lose, to be sure… but you’ll enjoy yourself while you do.

 
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3
US Marines Service
10
185 of 196 gamers found this helpful
“Theme Abounds”

I’ve been thinking about getting a dungeon crawler type game for awhile. Games like Castle Ravenloft had piqued my interest, but I just didn’t pull the trigger.

When I saw that Mice & Mystics was coming out, I thought that perhaps this would be the dungeon crawler I could get and know my kids would dig. Well I got it and they do dig it. I’ve also taught it to adults and they seemed to like it as well and get into it.

The game is very story orientated and that is great to help immerse yourself into the game, the kids really like this. When playing with a bunch of adults, they may opt to either have it read aloud, or bypass it and get the cliff notes from the player who already knows the story.

The game comes with a Chapter Book with 11 chapters, or missions. You can choose to play each chapter independently or you can play it in campaign mode and use the same mice and their upgrades as they level up and collect equipment. Though you can’t bring too much with you as it would ruin the fun of searching for new goodies.

Each chapter will set up the various conditions required. There is a finite number of pages you can go through on the page track before you reach the End Marker and lose. Various things can raise the page number you are on as you play, such as Surges (too much cheese on the cheese wheel) or by a mouse getting captured. Yes, the mice get captured and not killed, so that is cool and while it helps keep people from getting totally eliminated, it’s still not good as it causes the page marker to move up and that mouse can’t be rescued until it’s next turn when there are no minions in play.

There are plenty of choices to be made in the game because you can share cheese with other players so their character can use a certain ability to help the group, or even to level up and get another ability. You can also share equipment with other players for their mouse to use it. There are choices of staying together as a group in close to have certain advantages, or spread out in circumstances that are safer for the mice.

The neat thing too about the game is that there are winning and losing conditions for a chapter, but within a chapter there may be optional side adventures that can gain the mice extra equipment or something else advantageous for later on, but of course these side adventures will come at a risk.

As far as being replayable, well certainly once you play through the whole chapter book, you will know the story. So that won’t be new the next time. However, you can certainly replay the game with different combinations of mice and different combinations of starting abilities to help keep it fresh. You can choose to do the side adventure one time and not the next time. There are a ton of cool equipment and item cards in the search deck for you to find, so as you move along in a second or third run through of the same chapter, you can find new things to equip with or have some bad events pop up that make that game different from the previous one.

The components are very nice too. The minis are cool and they have a great way of using the same minion minis for different types of creatures. The tiles are great and I like the realistic shapes of the stone tiles rather than just squares that are all the same size.

All in all I’d say this game is a great value and while it is great for the family, other gamers can enjoy this game as well.

 
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5
Plaid Hat Games fan
The Silver Heart
9
134 of 146 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“This Game is for you if......Not for you if......”

This Game Is For You If…….

1. As a game player you appreciate a well told story,rich in detail and content.

2. Want to play a cooperative game that avoids player vs player conflict.

3. Enjoyed the literary series Redwall or loved the movie Secret of Nihm.

4. Expect a well crafted Game with detailed minatures, which makes you
feel like the product was worth the price.

5. If you want to support a game studio that cares about it’s players.
At Plaid Hat Games questions are often answered by the owner directly.

Its Not For You If……..

1. You don’t want a linear story already
created for the player.

2. If you hold Strategy above Story and the luck of a Dice role.

3. Your goal in any game is to destroy your opponents and proclaim your dominance over your Gaming Group.

4. Found Redwall childish or the Secret of Nihm gave you Nightmares as a child.

5. If you have always believed that one Rat could kill a hundred mice because mice would never work together.

 
Player Avatar
6
Miniature Painter
Novice Reviewer
Knight-errant
8
212 of 231 gamers found this helpful
“Fun, but needs a dedicated group”

I’ve played this game a number of times, mostly with a random group of players at the game store. The game is fun, and plays very well. The mechanics are very slick, and are quite easy to explain and pick up. It’s very challenging to play. I’ve won as many times as I’ve lost, and I think that is a good quality for a co-op game. The boards and tokens are of an excellent quality. The miniatures are nicely detailed and well made, but they don’t paint very well, if that is something that interests you.

Downsides:

1) Some players don’t want to deal with the story, so usually that gets discarded and we just play the game. It’s a shame, because it takes away one of the stronger aspects of the game.

2) The later levels in the book are very difficult. You need to run the game from start to finish with the same characters, and level them up to really be able to win the game. This is not a game you can just pick up and play with random people. You need a dedicated group of players.

If you have a group of players whom you regularly play games with, I highly recommend this game. If you tend to play with random people at a game store, you will find this one difficult to bring out.

 
Player Avatar
8
Professional Reviewer
Canada
I play black
Silver Supporter
6
142 of 164 gamers found this helpful
“Mice and Mystics Review: An ambitious and lovable disappointment”

Form and function rarely go hand in hand. One is always stronger that the other – brilliance of Carcassonne hiding behind simplistic graphics, gorgeous FFG components masking gameplay that is sometimes unwieldy. But in no game is the discrepancy is as glaring as in the imaginative, lovable but ultimately disappointing Mice and Mystics.

The high hopes start with the unique nature of the game. It is basically a mini roleplaying campaign that can function without a game master. Eleven chapters, each expected to last 1-2 hours gaming session. A story that progresses, engaging you with the characters through their journey, connecting past outcomes with current events.

Then there is the setting. In the most traditional fairy tale fashion an evil queen usurps a kingdom and banishes those loyal to the good old king to the dungeon. In an attempt to escape they use a ritual to transform into mice, kicking off the adventure that sees them escape, regroup and ultimately come back to triumph against the sorceress.

This rodent-eye view is realized in gorgeous detail through finely sculpted miniatures and beautiful map tiles. The game’s aesthetics are stunning, creating a unique mood, getting you ready for a great engaging fairy tale. You read the fittingly storybook introduction and chapter setup and on you go…

After the game spends so much energy setting up it offers you little in terms of actual gameplay. There is an inordinate amount of custom dice rolling, most of it for resolution of its’ simplistic combat system. As your mice battle endless waves of cockroaches, rats and occasional spiders, the routine gets old extremely fast. Your options are extremely limited and that is the game’s greatest downfall. The decision making is non-existent as the game quickly turns into a droll sequence of rolls, highlighted by use of special abilities, powered by the game’s cute “mana” – cheese. If opponents gain a certain amount of this “cheese” an encounter occurs, which most of the time is just more monsters, for more rolling. And so the strong points of the game – the story, the characters all of that gets lost and forgotten in a series of comparing how many swords and shields you rolled. Characters’ base options are limited to moving, hitting things or searching for equipment (most of which allows you to hit things better or become harder to hit yourself).

Perhaps this repetitiveness and simplicity makes the game more child-friendly, coupled with the cute theme. Children I’ve been exposed to have grown tired of the rolling quite soon, but the mileage may vary on that.

If a group is dedicated and patient enough, the story does develop and new additions introduced in later chapters (like the unique environment elements) help bring at least some variety into the game. However in my opinion these rewards are too far and few in between of the repetitive uninspiring combat to be a sufficient consolation.

And so the fantastic production and a bold story-driven approach fail to capture attention or imagination due to the weak underlying game system. While I applaud Mice and Mystics for its innovative approach – I cannot recommend it as a good game – for adults or children. The game’s success is very encouraging though as I definitely hope that it is but a first step in this direction for other endeavors. With more exciting mechanics and meaningful decision-making, amazing stories can be told through gameplay. I definitely look forward to these

 
Player Avatar
1
5
25 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“What a beautiful, deep, richly themed disappointment.”

The components are beautiful. The story is deep, enjoyable and well-fitting. The quantity and quality of the contents for the main game and expansions are very fair for the price.

Unfortunately, my gaming group could not get over the mechanics that rapidly descend into an over-simple, repetitious random dice-fest. It’s just so much rolling for combat, over and over again. Combats that you can easily win or lose purely by luck, and drastically change the outcome of the game. Yes, you can strategically place your models, and smartly use your resources. But you still come back to more rolling, comparing, rolling, comparing, keeping all your cool gear, or being captured in one of a hundred very similar rolls…ugh.

Then if you manage to perfectly run the game–or even utterly waste your time–the cheese count is going to determine your destiny. Certainly, there are ways to slightly manage the number of cheeses rolled or not rolled, but not enough. The ending felt quite like the end of a game of Killer Bunnies. No matter how much you stack the odds in your favor–or don’t–if the cheese rolled one way you win, the other way you lose.

Now, I think there is certainly a good audience for games like this, and they can be great amounts of fun for more “along for the ride” folks. This game certainly brings a heretofore unseen level of beauty and depth to the dice-fest, random win/loss game. We just did not see it coming, and did not enjoy the ride at all after trying a few times.

 
Player Avatar
2
Went to Gen Con 2012
8
182 of 223 gamers found this helpful
“Great Dungeon Crawler for Younger Gamers”

This game is great and easy. You are mice and you try to get out of the dungeon. You fight rats, roaches, centipedes, and other icky things I don’t like thinking about living in my home. It is straightforward and easy to get the hang of. It reminded me a bit of a Gauntlet board game. I had the pleasure of demoing the game at GenCon with Colby.

You start in a room with your other mice friends. The goal is to clear the room of the enemy and then get out. If you wait too long the cheese wheel begins to fill up and rat guards will appear giving more enemies to kill before leaving a room.

The mice take on the forms of the standard dungeon crawlers. Hunters, healers, tanks, and mages.

There are several stories to play through which changes the game as you play. In the demo we ended up in a sewer and had to find a fishing hook to climb out. I got pinned up in the sewer and slowly went down the drain until I was swept away. The multiple scenarios add length and staying power to a game that may get boring if it just repeated itself. I do not know how many stories there are to play, but like most board games, it leads the way to future expansions.

The plastic models used are really well made and add to the experience.

It is a fun romp but some older gamers may pretend they are too cool to play as mice. Younger gamers may be enthralled by the idea of being mice instead of zombies. This makes it a great game to play with your children, younger game players, or friends who aren’t too cool to have a good time.

 
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2
Gamer - Level 2
 
83 of 119 gamers found this helpful
“Simple Group Fun”

This is a great game for all ages. It was simple and best of all intuitive. My fiance occasionally has difficulty playing games with me because she can’t always grasp all the small rules or see the connections. With Mice and Mystics she had no such problem. A sword on the dice met damage, a bow ranged damage, a piece of cheese garnered you cheese. Everything pretty much did what you expect and she loved it along with the rest of the play group.
We have played once and plan to play again with the campaign rules. Keeping our characters abilities and the like and going to bigger and better things with eleven different chapters. The theme of the game is great and ever present in the beautifully designed components.
You flip board tiles going from one level to another. Ex: traveling from the sewers to the kitchen. Combat is simple and yet challenging. Exploration and searching for items simple. The game is constantly moving forward because of the cheese well used as a timer so that you either push on or wind up running out of time. (which my group nearly did)
In short a lot of simple to learn fun and good couple hours of play.

 
Player Avatar
2
Explorer - Level 1
10
90 of 131 gamers found this helpful
“Excellent Story Gaming”

I grew up on games like HeroQuest, and this game really hit the spot for me. While the mechanics for combat are fairly simple, the story is where this game really shines. I usually play this game with my brother and our wives, and we all really enjoy it. We all have roleplaying backgrounds and we enjoy how all of the characters have their own back stories.

I would recommend this game to anyone interested in combining roleplaying games and board games into one experience. It works well if you’re looking to scratch that itch. Also, great for the young ones!

 
Player Avatar
1
9
86 of 126 gamers found this helpful
“Story line tells all!”

The replay value is limited to its story arc. However, if you have kids you would get a lot of fun play out of this. The current story arc replay limitations may improve in the future as I know Plaid Hat Games has been developing new adventure stories to go along with M&M. Currently they have a new adventure chapter for download on their website, and its only 99¢ to do so. I also know they are working on an expansion for the game coming to a shelf near you soon.

The game itself is very thematic; you have cheese slices to measure time, you use devices like forks, spoons, acorn shields, and toothpicks to assist adventuring through the game. The components are well done, and if you are minis painter, the minis in this game are a blast to paint.

The game is easy to learn, but the rule book seems a bit disheveled. At times you may want to find a specific rule and it doesn’t come easy to find. This is the only strike I have against this game.

Overall, a marvelous game to play, and a must own for a collector!

 
Player Avatar
1
Gamer - Level 1
 
72 of 111 gamers found this helpful
“Convince Your "Too-cool" Friends to Play a Game as Mice”

I laughed (not quite out-loud) reading the other reviews of this game. I thought I was the only one who had trouble convincing friends that playing as mice could be epic. In fact, I was so desperate to play the game after I got it I had to convince my non-gaming girlfriend to play a few chapters with me.

I had to let us cheat a little bit so she wouldn’t get frustrated and quit, but the game was serious fun. And I love mice and respect them enough to know that they too can lead epic lives, Redwall anyone?

I also love the story, the miniatures, all the components, the art, the smell of the game, the weight of the box, everything.

It’s a great game that is a little challenging to get others into, but once you do it’s totally worth it.

 
Player Avatar
9
82 of 134 gamers found this helpful
“Great story telling dungeon crawler”

A great example of a dungeon crawler but with a family theme. The storyline here is excellent and helps to encourage a campaign approach. The game had depth, is family friendly with mice as heros and insects or animals as the monsters. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the rats are the main enemy this time around. As with many dungeon crawlers there is a bit of repetition to the game in terms of the fighting and searching, but the fighting dice are great and the level up skills add interest. Components, theme and general wow factor is top notch. Just the game length, as with many of this genre, can prevent it being played as often as you want.

 
Player Avatar
8
Norway
Plaid Hat Games fan
AEG fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
9
82 of 136 gamers found this helpful
“Great for kids and grown ups as well!”

This game went by my focused gaze a few times before it suddenly caught my attention. And for that I’m glad!

This is a quiet expensive game, but it’s worth every buck!
A great dungeon crawler with focus on thought through mechanics, an engaging story (made for kids), beautiful artwork and build quality with elements of role playing (character building).

The thought of playing a story instead of only reading it (for my kid), is a thing I really like with this game. Most kids games is competative where you have to “make yourself dumber” to let the kids win once in a while. but since this is a coop you can focus on playing it just as you would with your friends.

I haven’t yet, but I’m definitely going to introduce this game to my gamer group after we finish our campaign in Descent!

 

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