Mouse Guard – An update

20 11 2009

As I’ve said before, I review them how I see them.  My personal feedback for Mouse Guard when I did my review was mixed and, at the time, I wondered if this was a game thing or a GM thing.  

At couple of people contacted me to suggest it was the GM, and I took that at face value.  Perception can never be ‘wrong.’  Someone’s perception may not be the same as the facts, but it is still how they perceive it and their opinion is just as valid.

I was therefore pleased to hear not one but two interviews with Luke Crane recently and it appears – from my perspective – that I was both right and wrong to blame the GM.

The whole concept of comic book role-playing is close to Luke Crane’s heart (I don’t feel I know him well enough to call him Luke and Mr. Crane sounds too formal).  As is the narrative style and his desire to write ‘different’ role-playing games.

From his words and my limited game-play, I think it takes a particular GM to run a game like Mouse Guard.  Not necessarily a better one, but certainly a different one.  The whole scene framing aspect of the design can lead to a very stop-start game experience if the GM doesn’t handle it correctly.

In one sense, I felt like I was part of a comic strip when I played Mouse Guard.  But each frame felt insular – I did not sense a flow of image to image.  Which is exactly the opposite of the experience that Luke Crane wants the players to achieve.  His passion for playing is palpable.

Would I change my initial review?  No.  Would I give Mouse Guard a second chance as a player?  Perhaps.  Will I buy the book and look to GM myself.  Absolutely. 

The game as described by Luke Crane is the sort of role-playing experience I would like to be part of – and by becoming the GM, at least I can control it.

So when I’ve GMed my first session, I will no doubt give a further review.  At least I’m unlikely to blame the GM next time.




One response

20 11 2009

I haven’t played MG yet. I have, and have read, the book. I love it, and I’m intrigued by the game concept. I bought it to bring a different game play flavor to my D&D game. At some point I will run it for my group (or their kids, who have fewer hangups about how a game is supposed to work.) It’s challenging and beautiful, and I’d agree it takes a special attitude to run it.

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