Mouse Guard: First Impressions

May 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm (Games, Mouse Guard, Review) (, )

I have been playing Burning Wheel for a while now and have been, like most people, eagerly awaiting the Mouse Guard RPG.  One of the things I kept hearing from reviewers was that Mouse Guard was Burning Wheel lite.  After playing it on Saturday I have to say that I disagree with that assessment.


Mouse Guard is a streamlined experience to be sure.  Everything in the system points right back to who your characters are and what they are doing.  Burning Wheel is a game about being anyone in a medieval setting with elves, dwarves, orcs, monsters and magic.  That is a lot to cover and the rules are therefore much more complex to allow for that level of variety.  In Mouse Guard you are playing one thing, a member of the Mouse Guard.  There are no rules for being anything else.  To some people this seems like the system has been stripped down but in play it is just the same system with the rules you don’t need to play a guard mouse thrown out.


If you want to play a guard mouse this is the game for you but if you want to play something else there are other games for that.  The experience is refined so that when you are doing all the great things that Burning Wheel is known for (fighting for your beliefs and playing on your instincts) you don’t have any dangling rules to get in your way.  I still had that same feeling when faced with an obstacle I desperately needed to succeed at that I did in Burning Wheel, that feeling that no matter how many dice I marshaled to my cause there was no guarantee of success.  That is what Burning Wheel is to me and Mouse Guard is, in my opinion, Burning Wheel in a mouse shape, not simplified or dumbed  down, just different.

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