Posted Monday, 7-Sep-2015
A compilation of reviews for the family-friend dungeon crawler board game Mice and Mystics.
Released in 2012 from designer Jerry Hawthorne (Dungeonation, Heroscape, Battleship Galaxies), and published by Plaid Hat Games (Ashes: Rise of the Phoenix Born, City of Remnants, Dead of Winter) Mice and Mystics is a dice rolling, cooperative tabletop adventure game where players are turned into mice. Now the players must navigate a castle in order to escape the villainous Vanestra as well as the many other hazards in the castle including Brodie (the castle’s cat) in order to save the kingdom.
Mice and Mystics is a family-friendly dungeon crawler for 1-4 players. Players must navigate their way through the dangerous castle, rescue the king and defeat the evil Vanestra in order to save the kingdom. However it won’t be easy; players must contend with evil rats, cockroaches, spiders, centipedes and the castle’s cat Brodie along the way.
At its core Mice and Mystics has a lot of elements that even a casual RPG player will notice such as random item drops, adventure monologues that progress the story and increasingly difficult enemies as the game progresses.
Tony Mastrangelli from Board Game Quest explained the basic mechanics of the game in his review of the family-friendly dungeon crawler:
“Each game will feature a new mission that the players must complete before time runs out. The majority of the game will be spent exploring the various room tiles and battling minions via dice rolling”
Divided into 11 “chapters”, the story unfolds as the group progresses. Jon Seagul, writing for BoingBoing, explains the game’s progression:
“Each chapter of the storybook contains the setup directions, special rules, event triggers, and passages of text to be read aloud during a single game session lasting 1-2 hours.” True to its RPG origins Mice and Mystics also allows players the ability to customize their powers, pick up equipment along the way and level up as they progress through the adventure.
“Overall, Mice and Mystics might just be the family-friendly table-top RPG you were hoping to introduce your kids to.”
While tabletop RPG veterans will feel right at home, the game offers some unique twists to its gameplay, giving Mice and Mystics what Manstrangelli is calling a “hybrid system”. For example, The Board Game Quest writer explains the game’s “Cheese System” in his article: “Cheese powers everything in the game. It acts as a timer to keep the players moving, it tracks their experience to let a player know when they can level up and it’s used to power special abilities.”
While Mice and Mystics is a tabletop cooperative dice roller at its heart, it’s got enough of a unique twist in it to give it a unique flavor. Paste Magazine’s Charlie Hall echoed this sentiment in his review of the game, stating “The rules are fluid if a little quirky, but between a hefty dose of originality and high production values designer Jerry Hawthorne has a real hit on his hands. In my opinion this box set is an instant classic, fit to sit alongside HeroQuest in any collection.”
Mice and Mystic’s simple rule system will seem familiar to anyone that has some experience in table top RPGs and younger players will have no problem picking the game up. Reviewers seem to agree that the game is great to play with children.
Charlie Hall commented on how entertained some of his younger play testers were in his article, “I most enjoyed the childlike playfulness that is pervasive throughout the game, something that kept my group of play testers (aged 7, 8, and 9) giggling as they drove Vanestra’s minions from the map.”
Board Game Quest writer Tony Manstrangelli agrees that while the game does work as a light RPG for just about everyone, it’s definitely best suited for children. Manstrangelli commented, “However, if you are looking for something with a compelling story that will suck you in for many games, I think you’ve found a winner here. And if you have kids ages 7+, I think this would make a great family game experience and is absolutely worth checking out.”
Overall, Mice and Mystics might just be the family-friendly table-top RPG you were hoping to introduce your kids to. The flavor of the story leans towards the silly, humorous side and the mechanics are simple enough to make the game accessible to children but the story is compelling enough to be a good choice for anyone looking for a quick, light game.
A number of reviewers praised the game’s kid-friendly atmosphere and accessibility including Jon Seagull of BoingBoing who commented, “My kids went absolutely bananas over this game in a way I haven’t seen before. My 7-year old has declared Mice and Mystics to be his favorite game, and we’ve played through all eleven chapters together, totaling about 20 hours at the table, with occasional help from his 3-year old sister.”
Josh Edwards of Board Game Reviews by Josh agreed it was a great choice to play with the kids but overall gave the game an average score. Edwards stated, “Overall, I give Mice and Mystics a 7.0/10. I think that the campaign nature of the game is well done, but I found the actual gameplay grew stale for me too quickly, so I will probably move away from the game without bothering to complete the campaign.”
Likewise Tony Manstrangelli also gave the game a just above average review of the game: “While not the perfect game, Mice and Mystics does a lot of things right. It’s absolutely worth looking into if you fall into that specific niche I talked about earlier. Just watch out for Brody the cat, he’s a nasty one… Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A good game that would be rated even higher for the right group of people.”
Published by BoardGamePrices.com