Thursday, 29 July 2010

Changing the way we play? - Mouse Guard and Burning Wheel

I can't help but be intrigued by what I've read about Mouse Guard. I dismissed it intitially - who wants to play mice? - and moved on, but then I read about the interesting mechanics involved over at WrathOfZombie's blog, and how they'd been applied to Pathfinder. And then I went in search of more info, and read through all of the Chatty DM's Mouse Guard experience over at CriticalHits...

...and then I read some reviews of the Burning Wheel system, and downloaded the Mouse Guard book as .pdf, and now I'm reading it...

It's fair to say there's a lot to take in, it weighs in at 320 pages which is a lot more than I was expecting for a game about mice. I can see that it will fit nicely with my style of DMing, and given my players' positive reaction to the shared storytelling we had in our PDQ# game, I'm hoping that they'll take to playing a more story focused game.

The Burning Wheel system - and hence Mouse Guard - seems to turn things on their heads in a way that I think will be interesting to experience, and even if we don't enjoy it I think it will enrich my skills as a DM, and a player, to focus more on character and story. It's interesting to read about Mouse Guard from a player's perspective too... I'm naturally interested in a game that could make us rethink how we play, just like Descent did for the dungeon-crawl boardgame. Burning Wheel itself looks to be a hefty, Tolkienesque fantasy affair - much heavier and more complex, and more in Dave's realm than mine - and much as I'd love to play/run it, I think we could do with a gentle introduction.

I'm itching to run MG, which is why I'm trying to get the book read and assimilated into my brain - which may take longer than I'd thought! Will keep you posted...

Update: Didn't take that long; the book's easy to read and beautifully presented, although there are some ambiguous bits of rules-text here and there. Consider it assimilated!


  1. I'm right there with you, though maybe a little bit behind. This is one of the those things that I don't want to get into (it's mice, after all), but I see myself inching toward it ever so slowly.


  2. The system's the main draw for me - although I've always said I'd happily play anything - as opposed to the setting, but it could be pretty easily adapted, really. It's a useful source book, as well as a game in its own right.

    Could prove to be more useful as a stepping-stone to playing Burning Wheel games than anything else, depending on how the players take to the whole mouse thing. From a DM's perspective it looks refreshingly simple, yet complex where it's needed.

  3. "You want me to play a Fricken Mouse?"

    I think that was my first thought when Tom first suggested this game to the games group, but he seems keen on it and so we are going to give it a go next week.

    I'll just have to view it with an open mind,the rules sound rather good and getting back to rpgs will be a great.

  4. Well, I've just been reading through Realm Guard - a LotR setting hack for Mouse Guard, seemingly made to circumvent the whole "mouse" issue by making the PCs Rangers instead...

    It would take a bit more work - and annoying book-flipping - for me to run it smoothly, but the rules are exactly the same. I think people will prefer the setting, although you may have to excuse my lack of canonical knowledge!

  5. Mouse Guard never, never again. It really was that bad.

  6. Heh - say what you mean Dave...

    MG was disappointing, but at least I finally got to wheedle out of people what it was they wanted to play! Looking forward to Pathfinder tomorrow.


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