I've recently bought a copy of the boardgame "Mice & Mystics" by PlaidHat Games. Last weekend, we tried it out, so here's a short review.
In this cooperative game you play the role(s) of the King's son, Prince Collin, and his advisors and friends, who have to save the kingdom from the evil queen Vanestra, who married the king and placed him under a spell that made him too ill to rule the land. But as soon as the story really starts, they get captured and thrown into the dungeons. There they plan an escape. The mystic Maginos turns the group into mice, and they scurry away, but Vanestra finds out and turns her guards into rats and send them after the heroes.
Here is where the actual game starts. The booklet is filled with lore, and it's fantastic to read them aloud to your friends and family, especially if you have kids.
The game plays out on square reversible tiles, with great artwork. Most tiles feature a castle room, like the kitchen, guardroom, king and queen's bedroom etc. and their underground tunnels. During the game, the mice can explore and flip over the tiles, and find different ways to move through the castle.
The players play with miniature mice models, and miniature minions such as rats, roaches, a centipede and a spider. These models are nicely detailed and many people paint these.
There are many tokens used in the game, and all are made of cardboard with appealing graphics.
The game does feature elite rats and a rat captain, but only has 6 identical rat models. You use tokens to discern the regular rat minions from the elite ones, so I'm thinking of adding some additional models to use as elite minions.
There are 6 dice in the game with numbers, cheese and combat icons on them. You use these for everything: movement, combat, defense.
Lastly, there are 4 decks of cards. One of them are standard sized cards with encounters in normal and hard difficulty, that determine which minions you encounter during the game. The second deck is also standard sized and has items you can search for, like armour, weapons, spell scrolls but also one-time abilities and ambushes. Then there are two decks with small cards, one has reference cards for all 6 mice and all minions, which are used to determine in which order you play them. The other are the ability cards for the mice. The artwork on the cards is just as amazing as the board tiles and the booklets. Some are very funny, such as shields made from buttons and helmets made from acorns, and even a cheddar golem.
All in all, the game looks fantastic, and I can't wait to see what's coming in future expansions.
At first, there's a LOT to take in. You need to memorize everything, how to move, combat, take turns, place minions, trigger encounters, explore, search, what all the cards are for, etc. etc. You'll be looking up a lot of the rules during your first game(s). But once you memorized them all, the game plays rather swiftly. Cooperation is the key, and you need to devise a strategy, so all players need to have a good grasp op the rules. This takes time. But after just one try, we were convinced that this was going to be a fun game.
If you like cooperative board games, child friendly settings, fairytales, storytelling, humor, and stunning artwork, this game is for you. Go buy it, it's 100% worth it.
We bought it because I had heard of it on the net, saw some pictures, and read it was cooperative. I hadn't ever seen it live, nor played it, and my wife never even heard of it. She took one look at the box (and the underside), and when I told her it was like HeroQuest, only with mice and without a DM player, she wanted me to buy it right away. And we were not disappointed.
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