More Mouse Frustration (edited)

If you are where the POLAR VORTEX has parked it’s butt, stay warm and only go out if you have too.  I stepped outside for less than five minutes and I regret the thought process that lead to stepping outside.  Last night while waiting for the POLAR VORTEX (you really have to say it in an evil voice) to arrive, Barb and I played Mice and Mystics again.  We decided to play without the kids to be able to discuss any problems we encountered.

Prior to playing, we read over the rules again, familiarized ourselves with the pieces, and sat down to play the first Chapter.  Here is the good news: we got to the last board before losing.  Yep, lost again.  A lot farther into the Chapter, but still lost and more importantly, still frustrated.  We were positive that we were doing something wrong.

Here are the problems we encountered, those familiar with the game will understand, I will try to explain as best I can.

  1. Tilda is a healer, according to the wording on her card she cannot heal herself. WTF?  A healer that cannot herself is a liability and a liability she became.  Tilda got captured (knocked out) out once and spent the rest of the game, once she got wounded again, hiding and contributing nothing during fights.  Capturing advances the page counter one page or in other terms you lose one turn.
  2. If you defeat the last minion with the last acting character in a turn you trigger the following rule: If at the end of the turn there are minions on the board, add a slice of cheese to the cheese wheel.  Any time the cheese wheel fills up, advance the page (number of turns in a Chapter) one page, and trigger a surge which is the sudden appearance of a larger minion.
  3. The rules for surges do not state, one and done, or a new minion each time the cheese wheel fills.  Thus at one point, due to a lot of bad rolls we went through two surges.
  4. If there is a minion on a tile you cannot exit the tile.  So no running for the exit.
  5. There are items to heal mice, BUT they are in the Search card stack which is over 60 cards big and each mouse can only search one time per tile.  Odds are slim.

Determined to make Mice and Mystics work I did some more looking for answers. Mice and Mystics has a FAQ, but our issues were not addressed. Time to hit the forums.  Here is what I found:

  1. Tilda can heal herself or at least most people allow her to heal herself.  Since that is not in the FAQ it is not official. That she can heal herself makes a lot of sense though.
  2. That rule is meant to be.  That finishing off the last minion with the last acting character is a punishment makes no sense.  I read that other players were doing what we were doing, which was avoiding using the last acting character to defeat the last minion.  The best solution found, ignore that rule.  We happen to agree.
  3. There is no official word on whether a new minion is dropped each time a surge (wheel of cheese fills) or if the minion only drops the first time.  The best solution I found was that the first surge triggers a minion drop.  Subsequent surges on the same tile only advance the page.
  4. Nothing on this.  Given that we only wanted to do that one time not a big deal, but a string of bad luck and I can see it cropping up again.
  5. Again nothing on this.  Personally I think the search stack is way to big for the limited amount of searches that you can perform in a single game.

There is so much to like and love about Mice and Mystics.  We are going to try a third game using the answers that we found and hope those fix the problems we were having.  Otherwise we will either shelve the game, sad thought but it does happen.

Star Trek Deck Building Borg…and Some Interesting Things (Edited)

“Resistance is futile.”

Those words have never rung truer than our foray against the borg.  Three of us out to stop the borg from taking over the galaxy.  After constructing the borg deck and fixing the starbase deck (see below) each of us picked out a starship with an ability that we thought would allow the three of us to stop the borg.   The borg scenario is a cooperative game where there is one explore phase and all of us share the starbase.

How hard could it be?

Well by turn two my flagship had been blown up and all us had three borg cards.  Borg cards do nothing for you, they cannot be removed the game by any means other than a card effect, and while they are in your hand they have two other effects: making borg cubes bigger and if you should ever have five at one time you are removed from the game.

By turn four another borg cube showed up and due to all of the borg cards in play was able to take it’s attack and destroy two out of the three flagships and that was that for us.  The game started with 20 borg cards and by turn four all were gone, meaning that each player had at least 6 cards and we were only four turns in.

We were pretty bummed and wondering what we had done wrong and how any group could possibly defeat the borg.  So I went onto the forums where…well all of the questions we had and more got answered and I found the complete rule book.  Why do I say complete rule book, because the updated manual is hard to understand and there online in three sticky posts were clarifications that averaged a page of text and one was close to two.  Those 4 to 5 pages of clarified rules NEED to be in rule books not online.  These clarifications did not answer the borg questions, those answers were elsewhere.

Here is what I learned.

1. We have been doing missions wrong.  During a regular game a player gets 1 free explore which means they can do 1 of the following:

a. Flip over the top card of the space deck.

I. Do the flip effects regardless of type of card.

II. If the card is a ship enter into battle where you can either diplomacy or fight (see below)

III. If the card is an event either you succeed at the event or have the fail effect applied.  Discard if failed.

IV. If the card is a mission move the mission to an open mission spot.

b. Instead of flipping over the top card attempt to complete a mission already in play.

2. When encountering a ship from the space deck you can either attempt diplomacy which allows you to capture a ship or you are forced to fight the ship.

a. Apply the flip effect if any.

b. Compare your ship’s Speed to the flipped over ship’s Speed.

c. If you ship’s Speed is equal or faster than the other ship you can:

d. Diplomacy the ship, which means you compare your ship’s Diplomacy to the enemy ship’s Diplomacy:

I. If your Diplomacy is equal or higher you can make the ship your new flagship or move to points area.

II. If Diplomacy is not high enough got to step e.

e. Fight.

I. In order of highest to lowest each ship takes ONE attack at each other.

II. Ship does damage equal to Attack rating this reduces enemy ship’s Defense by same amount, unless ship has Shields which reduces damage. Example: Ship has an Attack of 8.  It does 8 damage to enemy ship with Defense of 9.  That ship takes 8 damage leaving 1 Defense.  If Ship had Shields 2 then damage done would have been 6.

III. If flipped ship’s Defense is reduced to 0 or less you win and put ship in points area.

IV. If flipped ship’s remaining Defense is 1 or more put that ship at bottom of space deck.  Your ship keeps the damage done to it.

4. House Rule: There are two sets and the box says you can combine them, but there are no suggestions how.  It is obvious how to divide the various scenarios apart, what we and other people wanted to know was how to combine the Explore deck and the Starbase deck.  From the developers: “You tell us what you did.”

a. Here is what we did, there are two sets of maneuvers and set-up cards.  We removed one set (count number of cards only put half back-rounded down).  We only put in 2 wormhole cards.  There are no duplicate character cards so all of them went in.  Removing the duplicate set of maneuver and set-up cards drastically shrunk the size of the starbase deck making for a much smoother game.

b. The Explore deck got all of the missions, events, and ships.  No changes.

5. Borg scenario stuff.

a. Borg scenarios are really made for 5 or more players. 3 or more is suggested, but based on the forums rarely works without making some serious tweaks to each players starting ship or starting hand.

b. Borg cubes come in two types: one with that removes all damage done between each player’s attack and one that keeps all damage until end of combat.

c. While players share a starbase, searches, and can plan out their purchases together in combat they are all alone.

I. Players make their attack at their ship’s Speed.  Only if two or more ships have the same Speed can they combine their attack on a cube.

II. A cube’s attack affects one flagship and any leftover damage is applied to the next ship and so on until all of the damage has been allocated.  This can lead to what we experienced which is one cube’s attack eliminating two ships and seriously damaging a third.

III. Players can choose who takes the damage, which is the only group thing they can do during combat.

d. Non-borg ships that are revealed still apply their Flip affects when revealed, but can only Diplomacy can be done on them.

e. No matter what there are no cards or card effects that allow you to peek at, look at, or otherwise interact with the Space deck before the card is flipped over.  These types of cards should be removed before play.  However, the designers don’t say that they only say they did it that way on purpose.

And there you have what we experienced fighting the borg and what we now know about the game.  Not happy that I had to go online to their forums to find the rest of the rulebook, but some of the information will make the game a bit smoother.