Mice & Mystics: awesome dungeoncrawler game for all ages


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Here’s the link: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/games/mice-and-mystics

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I have to confess that Mice & Mystics left me and my young ones fairly cold. For one, the mechanics are a bit too simplistic for my kids’ tastes. The game is, at the end of the day, a fairly basis dungeon crawler with a standard “dice chucking” fight mechanic. The thing that makes the game shine for so many, namely the narrative driven game play, did not appeal to my children. It felt, to them, like they were not sufficiently engaged in driving the story, they instead felt like they were jumping through hoops to get to the next reward.

That said, my family is in the minority. Most people that I have spoken to love this game. The story is fine enough and the game play is innovative in a few ways, ie. the initiative track, the unique enemy and player abilities, player leveling, terrain elements, but the game play is fairly standard. The game is beautiful, the miniatures are lovely, the story is pleasant enough, but it simply was not fun for us to play. It was overly long, and lack complex tactical decisions. My children are 10 and 12, so they may have aged out of this one, but it should be noted they are not especially invested in proving that they are “big kids” or “too cool for that”. They will play Animal Upon Animal, Fairies Rule, Goblins Drool or Ghost Blitz with glee.

I will commend Plaid Hat on working to develop games with rich narrative within their games, they do that better than almost anyone (see their recent Dead of Winter). I do not want to dissuade anyone from giving this game a try, most kids love it, but not all, so you should be forewarned.

As alternatives I would recommend Dungeon Fighter or Betrayal at House on the Hill, with some caveats. Dungeon Fighter is very low on narrative but very high on fun. It is a dexterity game where you have to throw dice in various ways in order to beat different monsters. The combat is simple, but how you use weapons or confront certain monsters will change how you have to throw the dice at a target, eyes closed, off handed, from under the table, etc. The game can be a bit clunky and some of the final boss monsters are horribly unbalanced, but the game is a hoot and winning is sort of secondary.

Betrayal at House of the Hill (“BHH”) is horror themed, where players start out working together until one player is influenced by a “haunt” and then the game shifts to a one against many game. The scenarios in BHH can be intense and the game play is viewed as tedious by some, but if you are playing with teens or tweens, it is usually a hit.


Sounds a lot like HeroQuest, that I remember playing fondly, but with mice :wink:

Mouse theology: Good mice go to Hole In The Wall. Bad mice go to Cat.

Is this an advertising feature? If so, it needs to be labelled appropriately.

I’ve played a lot of it with friends (not kid-friends) and it’s really charming and a lot of fun, with terrific production values and a clever system with lots of character-specific upgrades like shields made out of buttons and armor made from acorns that really give it a lot of character. But I agree, my only complaint is that the fighter gets the bulk of the action, and the healer’s more or less just the fighter’s bandaid. If you’re the kind of kid who wants to play a bookish sage-mouse, and I applaud you if you are, you’re just going to be the party’s backpack.

Reviews ≠ advertising

∃ reviews : reviews ≈ advertising

That was not our experience. Tilda the healer packs a wallop. All the mice have pretty cool abilities, actually - the thief one can triple-wield daggers using both paws and his tail.

It’s the way it reads so gushingly, it sounded like an infomercial. Mind you paid for reviews are quite common, but you’re probably right.

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