[Mouse Guard] Read it, but unconvinced that I get it

edited May 2009 in Play Advice
I just finished reading Mouse Guard.I have lots of enthusiasm, but I feel a little like I'm drowning in it all. I've never played Burning Wheel before, which might be exacerbating the problem. Besides going over the rules again, as I plan to, does anyone know of any aids I could use? A Burning Wheel cheat sheet, or a Mouse Guard GM screen, or anything like that?


  • Have you checked the Mouse Guard forum and wiki over at the Burning Wheel forums? All sorts of advice and tools over there.
  • Also, all of the really important rules are on the character sheet. I looked stuff up on it all the time when I was running it.
  • edited May 2009
    The second page of the character sheet is great. Make sure every player has a copy on a seperate sheet, so they don't have to keep flipping their character sheet over.

    Other than that, here are the pages I found useful to mark with sticky notes when I was running it:

    p85. scale picture of a mouse fighting a weasel. very handy to get an idea of the size difference.
    p88. Breaking Ties
    p95. Beginner's Luck (using skills you don't have)
    p111. Which Skill Do I Use? (the skills for Journey conflicts are unfortunately not listed on the sheet)
    p171-182. mark the pictures of the settlements you'll be going to, if they are depicted.
    p191. generic mice templates.
    p203-222. mark the wild animal templates you are using in the session.
    p231. Range of Difficulty (to help you improvize Ob numbers, if necessary)

    Furthermore, have every player take the second sheet, the one with all the conflict details on it, and change the stars (*) on the "Action Interactions" tables as follows: Attack + Feint = A (only Attacking player rolls); Defend + Feint = F (only Feinting player rolls). I'm not sure why Luke has stars there, unless there are subtleties to the interactions that I'm not aware of.

    Important things to emphasize to the players:
    - Giving other players helping dice is required for surviving many conflicts.
    - Conditions have to be healed in order, starting with the least harmful ones and going down the list.
  • Other helpful things...read through the skill descriptions and the list of Ob factors in detail at least twice. Do NOT try to memorize them nor would I recommend referring to them in game (at least not often). Instead try and get a feel for the logic and pattern behind them. Then in play just rely on your understanding of the logic and pattern to count factors to set your own Obs.

    Run a few practice conflicts. You can even incorporate this into the game by having all of your players characters do a training scene where they are sparring each other on teams.

    Make sure the player handing over the helping die actually says what they are doing to help. Encouraging some narrative flair here will help build the fiction...which is just as important as getting the bonus die.

    You might get some disagreement here, but I recommend being a bit hard core about not allowing your players to overly stretch their abilities. Allow some creative uses using movie logic once, but don't let them keep drawing from the well. Don't let the rubber banding set precedent. For example the first time a mouse seeks to get an advantage in a fight by calling upon their Geology Wise to find a good throwing rock that can be cool. But calling Geology wise into every fight...not so cool IMO.
  • edited May 2009
    On Ralph's point about practice conflicts, so far I've started every game with a Journey/Weather conflict where the patrol travels from Lockhaven (or wherever) to the location they have been assigned to visit as part of the mission. Losing such a conflict is not necessarily a big deal, just an excuse for a complication, so they make great practice conflicts while still allowing you to get on with the game. Don't forget to inflict some conditions (Angry, Tired, Hungry/Thirsty) if the group loses!
  • Posted By: ValamirDo NOT try to memorize them nor would I recommend referring to them in game (at least not often).
    I would agree with the not trying to memorize, but my experience has been that looking them up in game works just fine. It certainly helps you as a GM feel more confident about the Obs you are setting and avoid hemming and hawing. That said, when planning out the mission obstacles for the session, take a few moments to factor each challenge according to the book and write down the resulting Ob. It helps things flow more smoothly in play.

    Also on the subject of factoring obs. Keep in mind you don't have to select a factor off every category provided for a given skill. Keep a sharp eye out for which categories are significant for any given challenge.
  • Also, require the players to specifically describe how they assist rolls.
  • Thanks, everybody! That all really helps to make it all seem a lot less formidable.
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