Mice and Mystics
Downloadable content for video games are a hotly debated topic. Many people don’t have an issue paying for additional items that are created as a supplement for the game, such as a Borderlands Expansion Packs, or characters that are in continuous development, like League of Legends. However there has recently been this development of things that should be included in the game from the get get. Content that is actually on disc, but is hidden behind a paywall for unlock, which the majority of players strongly rebuff.
But the originator of this idea of expansions was card and tabletop games. One of the arguments I’ve heard from the video game community is we already pay $60 or so for the game, why doesn’t that entitle me to all of it? Well, because games are ever evolving. Magic the Gathering is one of those good case points for this. If the game had stayed like it was over 20 years ago, people wouldn’t be playing it. Well except for those Vintage guys…we don’t talk about them ;).
This is seen in all kinds of table top games, from deck building set-ups to actual board games. These expansions aren’t much more than the average video game expansion depending on the content, ranging anywhere from $5 to upwards of $40, they accomplish the same thing as a video game expansion. They increase capabilities, equipment, story, all of those things.
Which brings me to why I’m here.
Mice and Mystics was a game released right around 2012. I picked it up immediately because everything I had read about it made it sound like D&D Lite. Which the biggest problem for me with D&D was not having enough time for a campaign. The characters were pre-built with different stats and a designated player was the story teller, much like the DM. The idea was a little campy, where this prince and his court got turned into mice and now they had to save the kingdom, but sometimes simplicity is the best thing. Not to mention the art was beautiful and it came with well designed miniatures to move along the map, which consisted of a multitude of boards that were flip-able to provide new area and optimize the the space in the box.
The main story is easy to understand and let’s you understand the rules. You move through and add cheese to the timer to signify the game. If there is a designated DM and you are getting through the story too quickly, they can always adapt and add extra enemies or events. The campaign is ideal for 3 people, but can be played with just two or as many as five. It does take a few hours, but for a rainy afternoon, it is perfect. Particularly with Fievel or Rescuers Down Under in the background. The other nice thing is that you can easily paint the miniatures so they are custom for you and how you like to play the game! It doesn’t need to be like the pictures on the side of the characters cards, you can make up your own color combinations.
Now, I have noticed that there are a multitude of additional items you can purchase for the game. The most silly being a Lily or Colin plush toy (but who am I kidding? I totally want them) and on the slightly less silly scale, a reading of the chapters by Rich Sommer. However, the real meat of the DLC here are the “Lost Chapters”.
These “Lost Chapters” are completely reasonably priced at $0.99 and are instantly downloadable as a PDF. No waiting on shipping, no extra books on your shelf, just a nice PDF file that you can then put on your tablet and read from while playing the game. The other thing I really like about these “Lost Chapters” is that it uses the same characters from the original, but you get to choose which ones to use. In the original book, the chapters guided you along to which mice were optimized and also how to build up the story. After my second play through, Trevor and I decided to squash that and use what we wanted, adding an element of customization and challenge. So the thought of getting to use Tilda at every chance I get is incredibly exciting.
The next tier up are actual products that give you new map pieces and miniatures. The first one only cost $30, which is really good considering I bought the base game for $70. The most exciting part of this expansion is the addition of Nere, who can be played similar to Maginos, but has different abilities. The book included has assigned characters per chapter, but like I said, it is easy enough to adapt that later on. The other expansion, “Downward Tales” is approximately $75, but comes with a whole bunch of added material, including at least three new characters, Ansel, Jakobe, and Ditty, which give us also some more species to enjoy. New enemies are also included, which is nice because beating up on Rats and Cats got a little old. I haven’t located a copy of this expansion yet, so I haven’t gotten to play it yet. If your store has a copy, let me know!
So while DLC isn’t always fantastic, going back to its roots it is a lot better. While a little pricey, these things don’t come out but about once a year, with the smaller chapters that you can download for a $1 being spattered about. The other good thing is that you don’t need the pricey expansions to play the smaller ones. They are worded in such a way where you can choose your favorite characters and in put them into your favorite chapters.
I like playing this game with younger people because it really sparks the imagination and really builds the different story each time. Playing with people my own age is fantastic too because it adds another level of challenge to it since it becomes a little more D&D and the character development becomes key. It is definitely, like I said earlier, a full afternoon game to really enjoy it at its fullest, but if you want to get people into those heavy games, this is one of the best ways to do it. If you want to play and are going to be at an event, let me know and I’ll bring the box! I’m always looking for people to play.
Thanks to Plaid Hat Games for making such a great game and keeping up with a varied amount of additional content that addresses everyone’s wants and needs. DLC can get to be expensive, but this mixed batch of things allows for a good number of people to have access to your games.