I can’t begin to tell you guys how excited I am to be writing this post. Or how much I love this game in general. But I’m going to try. It all goes back to this past summer when Tabletop was reaching the end of the season. The last episodes were a two-parter where Wil and his family (including wife and two grown (step)sons) play Mice and Mystics. I was entranced. I already loved so many of the games I’d seen on Tabletop, but this one excited me in a new way. In my “about me” and other posts, you’ve probably seen that the Boy has two young daughters. We all get along swimmingly, and have loved playing games together. So any time I hear (or read) Wil’s discussions of his own experience as a stepfather, and coming in when the kids were still young (but not SUPER young), and what an exceptional experience it’s been for him…it makes me think that our future is going to ok.
So – having seen the Tabletop episodes (embedded below) and wanting desperately to play it myself, and also knowing that the Boy and I had recently gotten into RPGs, I thought it would be a lot of fun to get them this game, which is (as Wil explains in the intro) an RPG in a box. It’s a game that’s broken down into twelve “chapters”, which are game sessions. If you play the game as a campaign, it’s going to take a while, so you’re getting lots of content for the money you pay for the game. In fact – I gave them the game at Christmas, and despite being the end of February, we are only halfway through the entire game.
And guys – it’s been a HIT! We are having so much fun. Let me explain briefly how it works:
All the players choose a character, each of whom has different attributes and abilities. There is Tilda the healer, Colin the Prince, Filch the scamp, Lily the archer, Maginos the sorcerer, and Nez the tinkerer. Each uses different weapons and help the party in different ways. Each of the characters has a little background story that comes with them, and it’s good (fantasy) vocabulary expansion for the girls to read and practice. Probably the biggest learning experience is understanding the difference between ranged and melee attacks. You know…everyday important information.
The bad guys are all small too, but icky (not as cute as our mice heroes). There are roaches, rats, spiders and an awful, looming centipede! In the box you’ll find a bunch of two-sided tiles, which are the board on which your game takes place. For each new tile you explore in a round, an “encounter” card is drawn, telling you which baddies you’ll be fighting. As you go through the game, and things will become progressively harder, and there are times when you won’t win. We had a hard time with both the first and fourth chapters – having to play each of them 3 times before finally winning and moving on.
The attention to detail in this game is amazing, and I love how much creativity was put into it – someone put a lot of work into thinking up all the little things that a mouse could use in an epic adventure quest. The artwork on the boards, cards and books is amazing, and really adds to the game-play experience. All the pieces and cards are very sturdy as well, which we are well aware of, as there has been a coffee incident with the search deck cards and more than one piece of cheese which was roughly handled.
It’s not a perfect game by any account. There are often times we find ourselves in a situation asking, “What do we do now?” And the answer is we google our question with the term “Mice and Mystics” and often find ourselves on the Board Game Geek forums, reading the same questions posted by other people, and making our decisions based on what they say. We kicked ourselves recently when we realized we’d been doing movement wrong the whole time, and Nez wasn’t quite as much of a slow-poke as we thought.
But all in all, it’s been fantastic so far. Since it takes a couple of hours to play a chapter, and we don’t have time for that every time the girls are with us, we are getting to savor it all. I have a feeling it will take us through at least the early spring to get through the game, and then there are TWO downloadable chapters for $0.99 which we are sure to get. To say nothing of the sequels/continuing adventures that are available. I can’t wait. Or maybe I can – because the togetherness and cooperative goals that the game gives us are worth more than I paid for it.