Mice & Mystics is a really interesting game. As you sit down to a board game ready and prepared to engage in a long (two hour on average) fantasy RPG-like quest except you start out as mice. Hey, no one said being loyal to the king would be easy.
Released in 2012 this is a cooperative game that gained a lot of attention upon release, and for good reason. So does it still hold up? Has it’s time passed? Read on to find out!
TL;DR Mice & Mystics Review Rating
As a family game I’d give Mice & Mystics a solid 8 as it’s a very good (though not great) game that has cute art and works extremely well for moving young gamers in the family on to more advanced games. For a group of adult gamers I’d give it a 6.8-7 out of 10. It’s a good solid game, not spectacular. This is a game with a strong theme, cute, art, and good introduction to roleplay that also struggles a bit mechanically or with creating an open choice feel.
This is a game that has plenty of charm, and there is a lot to like. Especially as a family game. The pictures were cute, it was in-depth for a family game, and aside from being cooperative, there was also a set of solo rules allowing for one player play. We’ll talk more about that in a later section, but at the time it was incredibly rare.
How does it hold up under heavy review? While I won’t go into all the ins and outs (there are plenty of review, playthrough, and how to play videos online for that) of the game, there are definitely some pros and cons you’ll want to consider before seeing if this game is right for you or not.
Mice & Mystics Review: So What Do I Think?
My general thoughts is that Mice & Mystics is a good, not great game. In some situations, it’s very good. This game is a co-op game that has cute illustrations and clearly is aimed at family time where it brings younger gamers into the world of fantasy and tabletop RPGs while staying interesting enough to keep parents and adult gamers entertained.
The story is good, the art is actually quite excellent. It’s very cute in a was that will appeal to both kids as well as fans of books or stories featuring anthropomorphism. But a closer inspection of the art shows some real talent and attention to detail.
It is a beautiful game – though the card quality could be higher. You will want to buy sleeves to preserve them.
Using minis for tokens is great and does a nice job helping to bridge that gap between traditional boardgames and tabletop RPGs in a way that I really appreciate.
This is a dice heavy game (the dice designs are pretty great and add a nice bit of spice to it) and as a team you will all be looking to move forward through the chapter or scenario that in play. Make sure to collect, protect, and carefully use those cheese tokens in order to advance through the game and triumph as a team.
Players have their own abilities, as well as their own ability cards that let each player help out by filling a different role, much as a party during a game of D&D or Pathfinder (or whatever your favorite system is).
The mouse theme has the danger of being a bit too kidsy or cute but they manage to do the right balance to make this an enjoyable, quirky game with good designs and theming versus going too far or easy with it.
- Good for ages 7 and up
- Plays 1 to 4 players
- Cooperative game
- Dice & minis (but not a minis intensive game)
This is a longer game. Personally I like really long in-depth games so a two hour game isn’t something that’s going to scare me off but if you’re playing with people who have shorter attention spans this could prove to be a bit of a challenge.
As far as the actual game experience: it’s a bit more chance than I care for with the dice. This isn’t necessarily a pro or con but it is kind of what it is and if you have a bad dice rolling night that’s just going to happen.
The board is quite beautiful and the appearance of the game when fully laid out is really pretty great actually. The mechanics aren’t quite bad enough to be mediocre, but they’re not much better.
Pros of Mice & Mystics
- Well written stories that hold up to many popular Tabletop RPG fans
- Cool theme that works well with the story and gameplay
- Good introduction to roleplaying and RPGs
- Really beautiful art
- Solid game flow – it’s not common to have one turn bog down the action
- Rules are simple so there isn’t a lot of confusion – something many board game/RPGs struggle with
- Has a solo play option
- There are multiple expansions that add to the tale and can create quite a sequence of board game nights or playthroughs
Cons of Mice & Mystics
- The game art is beautiful BUT the cards aren’t great. You need to sleeve them to keep them in good shape
- Definitely a family game which is a con if you’re all adult gamers you might not enjoy it quite as much
- The solo play option is just okay
- Multiple expansions means it can get expensive to do the full playthrough
- Mechanics are a bit dice heavy for my taste
What About Mice & Mystics Solo Play?
This is an important point to tackle because solo play games while not rare anymore, are still fairly uncommon and offer a different aspect of boardgames and entertainment potential. The solo play was great for the time. And really unusual, it was something different.
How do the solo rules hold up now?
It’s good. It’s not necessarily great. Is it worth a run through if you haven’t done it before? Absolutely. A lot has advanced with new solo play dungeon crawls that have built off of what games like Mice & Mystics built to get better.
At this point if solo dungeon crawls are your main concern I have other recommendations. That being said, it’s a solid extra bonus to a game that plays very well on family night.
Then of course nothing helps to make a decision on a game than seeing an actual Mice & Mystics playthrough:
Mice & Mystics on Tabletop with Wil Wheaton Part 1
Mice & Mystics on Tabletop with Wil Wheaton Part 2
My Final Score – 6.8/10 & 8.0/10
Since this is a game that can play very differently in two different settings, and that means two different grades. As a general boardgame for a group of adult gamers this is a good game, a fun little game, but not a great one. After the first one or two playthroughs you’re probably done with it unless you have a particularly unique group. That’s why it’s a 6.8/10.
On the other side if you’re judging it as a family game, played while bonding with the kids and introducing young gamers into bigger and better things it’s a really solid choice. In that case the art, the theme, the introduction to roleplaying on game night brings it up to an 8 out of 10 as this game is designed for that type of play.
I hope this Mice & Mystics review has helped you to make a decision on whether or not this is a game you want to try out.
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Thanks for reading and happy gaming!
Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time amateur poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games.