End of 2014, start of 2015 when we were still wrapping up on War of Ashes final edits and playtesting we talked about running another playtest, but this time using the Mouse Guard setting.
My little ones who have played Mouse Guard and War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus before were with us and so we got another chance to see how well it played with kids as well!
Kit emailed us this in advance:
A Mouse team was ambushed by a pair of weasels while on their way to deploy the scent barrier that keeps gigantic beasts like wolves and deer out of the Mouselands. The weasels injured and poisoned the mice and took several of their packs. The able mice followed shortly after, and found that their packs had been ransacked a short distance away. Their papers had been taken, including the map of where the scent barrier was to be deployed and a letter of introduction identifying the bearers as representatives of the Mouse Guard in Lockhaven, addressed to the mayor of a moderately distant town at the other end of this segment of the scent barrier, Mossdown.
The weasels’ trail led, curiously, back towards the nearby town of Goldblossom, rather than into the wild. The survivors returned to town that night, and met up with a second team from the Mouse Guard that was investigating disappearances in the area.
The next steps are up to you!
When we arrived Kit had a dozen or so prompts on index cards on the table. They were either questions like “why does the mouse Benjax keep getting off the hook when he’s arrested?” or statements like “a history with weazels.”
We each picked up a couple of the cards that spoke to us and made aspects off of them. We had some great ones like:
“I shot the Sheriff [of Goldblossom]”
“My brother the Mail Mouse is Missing!”
“Coal thinks he’s above the law. He isn’t!”
“Benjax won’t get away…again!”
“I stabbed Rostov [the Weazel]. He saved my life.”
Xiomi – Patrol mouse from Lockhaven going on the mission because one of the missing mice is her brother!
Patrol Mouse with no name – Sibling to Benjax, who got away with his crimes because he blackmailed Gwendolyn with threats of selling information to the weasels.
Coal – A renegade mouse who works on his own. He wears a black trenchcloak and uses spiked brass knuckles he calls “weazel dusters”. He shot Sheriff Grom years ago in the Weasel War because he thought the sheriff was colluding with Weasels.
Daisy – The terrified tenderpaw who traveled with Coal. Here patrol leader Amber was kidnapped, and another patrol mouse was killed in the ambush.
Bernice – A seasoned patrol leader with a sordid weasel history.
Two patrols join on the road for a common cause. To find the weasels who attack the patrol, to find the missing mice, to get back the letter of introduction, to get back the scent barrier map, to find out what happened to the mayor, to catch the sheriff red-pawed, and to get to the bottom of what looked liked a mouse-weasel conspiracy. Okay… maybe several common causes.
Some major highlights of the adventure:
- The patrol mouse pushing their brother Benjax into a spider pit he intended as a trap for them!
- Xiomi’s bee stinging Sable the Weasel.
- Daisy trying to make up for her earlier cowardliness by sneaking off alone to follow Half-Wisker Willy, and then getting trapped by Benjax but eventually bringing him to justice!
- Stinky Pete the Junk Mail Mouse handing out leaflets made of literal leaves that all said “Vote for Benjax”.
- Coal and Sheriff Glom having a stare down at the Honeysuckle Tavern.
- A spider chase with Daisy dragging the bedraggled Benjax after her.
- Weasels getting away after Bernice and Rostov traded cold war banter and finding no ideological middle ground.
- Patrol mouse with no name impaling Rostov with his own katana!
In the end, we rescued the enslaved miner mice, arrested Benjax, set the weasels packing, and collapsed the tunnel they were digging that would have given weasels a backdoor into mouse territory. Hooray for the Guard!
The aspect prompts we really great. Gave us the power to make our own characters while ensuring they were tied into the story.
Based on that I love how personal we made everything. Everyone knew everyone. It felt like a game of Dogs in the Vineyard!
Junk Mail Mouse? Aw man, that is awesome!
Weight (weasels were weight 2) make a big difference and we really had fun playing with it. Zone aspects were also great. Maneuvers to push people were awesome too! Win, win, win!
I have just been listening to Tom Clancy’s Command Authority, so my brain was in very cold war era mood. This game fit perfectly!
What could have improved
We forgot about Roar/Froth, mostly due to time running short.
We never got the Sheriff. We’ll just have to hunt him down…next time!