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Tabletop Game / Mice and Mystics

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"Living in the walls lurk things that aren't nice,
That nobody knows of except for the mice."

In the Kingdom of Men, King Andon ruled with justice and compassion, until the arrival of Vanestra, the mysterious queen of Darkhlend. Before long, the king fell sick with an unidentifiable and incurable illness. A cadre of loyalists to the king gathered and plotted to drive Vanestra from the land: Collin the prince, Maginos the mystic, Nez the tinkerer, and Tilda the healer. But, before they could put their plan into action, Vanestra's men promptly threw them all into jail.

At the suggestion of Filch the thief, they escaped from prison — by turning themselves into mice. And, though the transformation cannot be reversed, they must now find a way to defeat Vanestra once and for all.

Mice and Mystics is a cooperative American-style Adventure Board Game with a few role-playing elements. It was published by Plaid Hat Games in 2012, and it was followed up by two expansions, Heart of Glorm and Downwood Tales, as well as two downloadable chapters, "The Ghost of Castle Andon" and "Cat's Cradle." You can learn more about the game and how to play it here.

Mice and Mystics and its expansions provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lily, Neré, Ditty, and Tilda, though each of them have different abilities.
  • Adipose Rex: King Shalop the frog in the Downwood Tales expansion.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Vanestra's hair, which Maginos uses to turn the heroes into mice.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Collin gets two — one when Andon makes him king, and one when he defeats Shalop.
  • The Big Guy: Besides a background as a blacksmith and having the most physically imposing body (even as a mouse), Nez has the most hit points and offensive dice. Additionally, he can also gain an ability that allows him to attack multiple enemies with one blow.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sorrow and Remembrance: The king is saved and Vanestra is defeated, but the castle is in ruins, and the heroes are stuck in the form of mice.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: One effect of Glorm's Magic Music.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Inverted in Heart of Glorm, Glorm is defeated by dosing him with a Love Potion.
  • Captain Obvious: Everything Tilda says in the first game. Everything.
  • Cats Are Mean: Unsurprisingly. However, with a little catnip, the heroes may be able to convince Brodie the house-cat into a deal.
    • Played straight in Heart of Glorm, since Glorm has reanimated Brodie into one of his undead minions.
  • Comic-Book Time: The games have been published over two years, and it can take 15-20 hours to play through a single storybook. Despite this, the events of the first two books take up around two in-story weeks, excluding the introduction of the first story.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Collin; made especially evident in Downwood Tales.
  • Damage Typing: Most damage is dealt in "wounds", but some monsters and effects deal "poisoned wounds" that can only be removed by effects that specifically target poison.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Obviously, Filch, but Nez is also hinted to have one.
  • Darker and Edgier: While still fairly family-friendly, Downwood Tales is a tad more descriptive in the battle scenes.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Even though the cook, Miz Maggie, is sympathetic to the heroes' cause, she will react this way until they can get her attention and explain their situation.
  • Emergency Transformation: What kicks off the plot of the first story. The heroes also turn King Andon into a mouse to slip him out of the castle.
  • Evil Gloating: Glorm to his former owner, Maginos.
  • Exact Words: So When the Clock Strikes Twelve, Vanestra must spend an hour in her true form as a spider. How are the heroes going to time their two-front attack when Vanestra's at her weakest? By pushing the clock hands to twelve.
  • Framing Device: The events in the game are framed as stories told to a mouseling named Tip.
  • Funetik Aksent: Nez, various Non Player Characters, and the Pack-Rat Peddler.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: One quest in Sorrow and Remembrance focuses upon finding one.
  • Harmful to Touch: Without the Ring of Remembrance, the Sorrow Blade is this.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Filch and Nez frequently have this dynamic. By Heart of Glorm, though, they've moved to Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: In one chapter, Captain Vurst switches sides every time he is defeated, which can lead to a situation resembling this.
  • The Hero: Collin — the story centers around his family, and he is the main perspective character of Sorrow and Remembrance.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Towards the end of Sorrow and Remembrance, Captain Vurst is last seen protecting the heroes' exit route.
    • A card also allows a mouse to do this for his or her teammate.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Filch might want to wimp out of a fight or beg to become human again, but he ultimately pulls through for the team.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Players can only Explore to enter a new map tile after all enemies on their current map tile have been defeated, no matter whether the exploration involves opening a barrier, escaping Down the Drain, or just walking farther down a tunnel.
  • The Lancer: Filch's Lovable Rogue and Lovable Coward tendencies make him a foil to the upstanding, heroic Collin.
  • Mass Transformation: Maginos transformed the heroes into mice as a last-ditch attempt at escaping imprisonment.
  • Mouse World: But of course. Downplayed to a certain extent, though, since the animals living in the kingdom can usually fend for themselves without needing to scavenge much, if anything, from humans. The city of Barksburg, for example, is pretty self-sufficient.
  • Non-Health Damage: Roaches can deal wounds but prefer to steal heroes' cheese tokens, which are used to purchase and use special abilities. Greedy Roaches transfer those tokens to the game clock, advancing the countdown towards defeat.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The mice thoroughly reject this viewpoint.
    Tilda: It is evil to inflict pain in response to feeling pain, for if pain is so unbearable how could any creature of conscience wish to spread it?
  • Plot Coupon: Oftentimes, chapter quests focus upon finding, obtaining, or using one.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Inverted — the scenario will sometimes specify that a certain character must be a member of the party, especially for certain plot-critical events within the game.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Especially if your quest takes you through the Crystal Tunnels.
  • Punny Name: Nextor, a neighboring kingdom of elves, and Darklhend, from where Vanestra comes. Also, Vanestra's right-hand rat Captain Vurst and Glorm the glow-wormnote 
  • Railroading: Limited, but present to some extent. While the course of an individual chapter can change, the overall progression from chapter to chapter does not. Subverted in Downwood Tales; the outcome of the story usually remains the same, but the players can take multiple different paths to get there.
  • Race Against the Clock: A "cheese wheel" fills during encounters with enemies, and is meant to keep the players moving.
  • Random Drop: Members of your party can search for random items in the areas they explore.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Linera, the mayor of the nearby mouse city of Barksburg. Even when her own citizens are entranced into criminal acts, she keeps her head.