#RPGThursday Retrospective – Mouse Guard (1st Edition, 2008)

Courtesy RPGGeek

Sometime in 2009 I stumbled upon the Mouse Guard illustrated stories, and about the same time heard of a role playing game based on them. Seeing the RPG in my FLGS, I picked up the beautiful hardcover book.

I was not ready for what I discovered in Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game (1st Edition). Using the Burning Wheel system, Mouse Guard was unlike any other RPG I had ever experienced. I mean, there are turns in this RPG! There was also a difference in that characters are not just defined by stats, but by statements. Even more, the statements are used to role-play the characters actions. I was familiar with Assets/Hinderances and the like but these statement uses were different. Eventually, I have come to understand that Mouse Guard is closer to a truly narrative game.

As much as I enjoy narrative RPG systems, Mouse Guard goes a bit too far in the narrative direction for my liking. I love Mouse Guard; it’s beautifully illustrated and a system that makes for a unique roleplaying experience. But because it is so different a system (almost as far from F20 or 2D6 OGL Sci-Fi as one can get) it is also harder for myself and other players to grok. Because of this it is hard to get a group together. I have read that many people play Mouse Guard in a 1-on-1 setting (GM plus Player) but, once again, the rules learning challenge makes that difficult. As a result this game spends a lot of time on the shelf and does not get called upon very often.

This is sad considering how wonderful the system promises to be. More recently, I have listened to a few episodes of The Mouse Guardians, an actual play podcast using the updated 2nd edition rules. The podcast has renewed my interest in the game, and maybe I will get it out onto the table in 2017.

The Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game, Game content ©2008 Luke Crane. All rights reserved. Illustrations and comics content ©2008 David Petersen. Mouse Guard is a trademark of David Petersen. Burning Wheel is a registered trademark ® of Luke Crane. Printed by Archaia Studios Press.

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