Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Mice and Mystics

GameMice and Mystics

PublisherPlaid Hat Games

Designer: Jerry Hawthorne

Year201
1

Mice and Mystics isn’t a game that I would normally gravitate towards, but after finishing our campaign of Pandemic Legacy I was interested in another co-operative game that the two of us could share as an ongoing experience. Mice and Mystics appeared to be very popular and I managed to get my hands on a nearly new copy pretty cheaply when the game was out of print and in high demand.

Mice and Mystics is a tale of the quest of a group of loyalists who were turned into mice when their king was overthrown. They now find themselves on quests through and around the castle, fighting off other small creatures, such as rats, centipedes and Brodie the cat. The game is a dungeon crawl style where you explore different tiles on the board, taking on enemies as you progress to your goal, perhaps to capture a kidnapped mouse or discover some secrets.

Each plastic character on the board takes turns in a randomised turn order. The mice are primarily trying to attack there enemies with their ranged or melee attacks and any additional boosts they’ve acquired. Attacking is a roll of the dice and your hits must exceed the defence roll of the enemy to wound them or kill them. When its the turn of an enemy figure they move according to a dice roll and can also attack the mice figures when they are close enough. Mice can also search to find new pieces of equipment and if they manage to equip them during the game then the character can keep the items for forthcoming games.

The game in progress. You always play with 4 mice, so with two players we were playing two characters each.

Time is against you in your quest and you must reach the objective, which normally lies at the furthest tile on the map, before the end of the chapter. Bad rolls on the enemy dice result in time advancing more quickly and more enemies spawning. Each character is unique, so you also need to play to different characters unique strengths and try to ensure not too many mice are knocked out as this also wastes valuable time.
The game is very well thought out as a story book, where entering different tiles requires you to read further elements of the story. There can be different pathways in the story depending which actions you choose to take. The rewards for hanging around in a room to do an additional quest can often be very tempting but can waste valuable time as well. As the story progresses the difficulty increases, but if you’ve equipped your mice well in previous chapters you should be able to take on most of the tasks unless the luck of the dice is strongly against you.

I really want to like Mice and Mystics. After 3 games I’m tempted to keep the game just so that I can ask Amy to paint the miniatures. Unfortunately underlying the cute theme there is not much substance. I’ve struggled with dungeon crawl style games before where the game seems to happen you and all of your decisions seem quite obvious. In Mice and Mystics there’s not even the element of surprise that you get in a games like Imperial Assault. You enter a room and you know that some bad guys will spawn and their location is predetermined. When you’re done killing everything so move on to the next space and every so often you might get to choose whether to continue to interact with an object in the room.

Awesome miniatures, that would look great painted!
Sadly we won’t complete Mice and Mystics and Amy won’t get the joy of hearing me finish the story complete with silly mice voices. I’ve heard positive things about parents playing the game with children and I can see that this is where the game might shine, but for me the story and characters just don’t hold up a game that’s very linear and has very little strategy. The Yellow Meeple has only a 5/10 for Mice and Mystics, but if you’re looking to introduce heavier games to a younger audience, Mice and Mystics could be a great place to start!

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