Gaming At The Kid's Table: Mouse Tails
  • Gaming At The Kid's Table: Mouse Tails



    Here at EN World, I’m continuing to look at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids’ gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults’ table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? Mouse Tails: Rodent Playing Game is an all-ages RPG by David Bezio’s Grey Area Games. In it you play a mouse, a straight up four paws with a tail and a low position in the food chain rodent. As a role-player, that’s a win. You want to role-play, play something that is not human in any way. To support the role, Mouse Tails contains character generation, PC, and GM rules as well as a mouse character sheet all for the price of Pay What You Want.

    The writing. Kids movies tend to have a dusting of pop culture references to keep the adults from nodding off. Mouse Tails has a pinch of that style but replace the word “adults” with “gamers”. David Bezio laced enough winks to players that I’d be remiss in not pointing out a few.


    • Mouse Tails is a RPG, a Rodent Playing Game
    • The Game Master (GM) is called the Mouse Master (MM)
    • The Player Characters (PCs) are dubbed Mouse Characters (MCs)
    • The first letter of each stat – Muscle, Outwit, Unnoticed, Skitter, Energy – spells out MOUSE


    The rules. MCs rank their five stats from six (worst) to two (best). The game uses a d6 to resolve any stat-based challenges. Ability rolls require achieving at least your ability score or higher to succeed. As well, there are five luck points that grant automatic successes on an ability check.

    Getting hurt. This is the point where the “all-ages” label drops off. If your MM rules that your MC might get hurt, you roll against your Energy stat. If you fail that ability check then you roll to see if your mouse character becomes incapacitated or dies. Letting a child’s mouse character die might ruin game night for the kids. Forever.

    Does Mouse Tails win the kids’ table? If you follow the rules as written, a few poor rolls could lead to a child’s mouse character dying. Do you foresee tears at the kids’ table? Tears are not a win. If you remove the option to kill the MCs, then this game has real potential at the kids’ table. The younger kids playing cute mice, the older kids playing homebrewed rats, it’ll make for a happy table and introduction to RPGs.

    Would Mouse Tails work at the adults’ table? Yes. The rules as written make this a challenging game. I can see a 5e or Pathfinder adventure where the GM polymorphs the entire party into mice. Using these rules, the party has to figure out how to restore themselves. This all-ages game downloads ready to be played by experienced gamers and, with a few tweaks to the rules, has the potential to be a well-loved all-ages game.
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. takai's Avatar
      takai -
      That look nice, I'll try that one with the kids. Thanks for the post!
    1. LordNightwinter's Avatar
      LordNightwinter -
      It sounds nice. I once threatened to make my players all mice just so we could play Mouseguard. I'm having flashbacks of dirty looks. lol
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by takai View Post
      That look nice, I'll try that one with the kids. Thanks for the post!
      takai -
      I'd love to hear how it goes! :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by LordNightwinter View Post
      It sounds nice. I once threatened to make my players all mice just so we could play Mouseguard. I'm having flashbacks of dirty looks. lol
      LordNightwinter -
      You would not have gotten any dirty looks from me at the suggestion of jumping to Mouse Guard! That would be awesome! I'm a fan of the comic and would really like to find a game of that to join!

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Mavkatzer's Avatar
      Mavkatzer -
      I've wanted to run an animal based RPG for years. I've seen a few out there, but I've not yet spoken with anyone who's actually played one.
      Have any of you ever played an animal RPG? How did it really go? Was it replayable, or just a fun unique experience?
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mavkatzer View Post
      I've wanted to run an animal based RPG for years. I've seen a few out there, but I've not yet spoken with anyone who's actually played one.
      Have any of you ever played an animal RPG? How did it really go? Was it replayable, or just a fun unique experience?
      Mavkatzer -
      This is probably not the most worthwhile answer, but... with adults, I've played RPGs (D&D) where some of the PCs morphed into animals for an extended period (several sessions). It's likely my table at the time, but that descended into silly quickly... though, everything eventually went silly with that group... ah, good times!

      That said, I'd be interested in doing an animal-only RPG, for sure.

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      From Google+, Mouse Tails creator David Bezio shared the following. Reprinted with permission.

      "I saw that, this morning, thanks . I think you summed it up pretty good...and you aren't the first to "criticize" the killing mice characters, ha ha. Easy enough fix for anyone who plays it.

      It's funny that you chose to review that game right now...because I've been searching the internet trying to find out who is "talking" about it (which is why I saw the review you did right away). Mouse Tails has been downloaded about 100 times in the years since I put it up, and all of a sudden, last week it doubled :O. I've been looking for a review or forum discussion all week but have come up dry. I can only assume it is in another country (most of the downloads have been during my nighttime hours). Curious as hell what was said to inspire that many people to check it out.

      Any way, thanks again for the review, and glad you enjoyed the game yourself. It was just a fun thing I did for myself and decided to share, but I think there are a few good ideas in there.

      -Dave"

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. J.L. Duncan's Avatar
      J.L. Duncan -
      Egg...

      At what point does a Wanna-Lancer become an Actual-Lancer? Nice review. And it seems your rackin' up the creds!
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by J.L. Duncan View Post
      Egg...

      At what point does a Wanna-Lancer become an Actual-Lancer? Nice review. And it seems your rackin' up the creds!
      J.L. Duncan -
      There is a much-studied progression from wanna-lancer to actual-lancer. As Boromir stated, "One does not simply [become a freelancer]." The progress starts as fan, moves to armchair game designer, and either deviates to internet troll or to a wanna-lancer. Following the wanna-lancer wing, you strive to reach hobbylancer status (Ben McFarland has spoken about hobbylancing) before graduating to be a freelancer and a life of leisure.

      Oh, and conquering the world is in there somewhere...

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. J.L. Duncan's Avatar
      J.L. Duncan -
      +Egg Embry

      I'm just happy that given the choice (of an internet troll, or a wanna-lancer) you've made the right choice.

      Just a word of advice: quoting Boromir is easy to do but it is hard to live... And prepare yourself. Hobbylancing takes a level of commitment not common of mortal men. Me? I'm 3/4 elf, 1/16 dwarf & 2/3 halfling so I get by (and all that)... And you needn't worry about conquering the world. All you have to do is write and self-publish an RPG, which you will automatically be the master of (ah, ya-know cause you wrote it!)...

      You've taken all the right steps... But remember, "only you can prevent forest fires." And if that was a bit vague (or off topic)... What I mean to say is, you're on the right track.
    1. Silver Moon's Avatar
      Silver Moon -
      Looks like fun.

      One RPG that we did with our kids to introduce them to gaming concepts is called "Fuzzy Heroes". I highly recommend it.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by J.L. Duncan View Post
      +Egg Embry

      I'm just happy that given the choice (of an internet troll, or a wanna-lancer) you've made the right choice.

      Just a word of advice: quoting Boromir is easy to do but it is hard to live... And prepare yourself. Hobbylancing takes a level of commitment not common of mortal men. Me? I'm 3/4 elf, 1/16 dwarf & 2/3 halfling so I get by (and all that)... And you needn't worry about conquering the world. All you have to do is write and self-publish an RPG, which you will automatically be the master of (ah, ya-know cause you wrote it!)...

      You've taken all the right steps... But remember, "only you can prevent forest fires." And if that was a bit vague (or off topic)... What I mean to say is, you're on the right track.


      J.L. Duncan-
      In-game, I rarely prevent forest fires. On the contrary, 99.9% of fires in RPGs can be traced back to Egg (and a few other players). ;-)

      Seriously, thanks for the kind words and advice. It's been helpful.


      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silver Moon View Post
      Looks like fun.

      One RPG that we did with our kids to introduce them to gaming concepts is called "Fuzzy Heroes". I highly recommend it.
      Silver Moon-
      Thanks for the recommendation. Hearing that a game went over well with the kids is always a win! I'll check it out! :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Silver Moon's Avatar
      Silver Moon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Silver Moon-
      Thanks for the recommendation. Hearing that a game went over well with the kids is always a win! I'll check it out! :-)
      My wife and I were on staff in the 1990's for two different comic conventions (Total Confusion and ConMan). We ran "Fuzzy Heroes" several times at conventions. I believe that the RPG may currently be out-of-print, but I just checked EBay and saw that they had several reasonably priced copies of the basic book (plus some expansions).
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silver Moon View Post
      My wife and I were on staff in the 1990's for two different comic conventions (Total Confusion and ConMan). We ran "Fuzzy Heroes" several times at conventions. I believe that the RPG may currently be out-of-print, but I just checked EBay and saw that they had several reasonably priced copies of the basic book (plus some expansions).
      Silver Moon-
      That's awesome (about running it at the cons)! I'm curious now, when you ran it at the conventions, was it for kids-only or a mixed table?

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Silver Moon's Avatar
      Silver Moon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Silver Moon-
      That's awesome (about running it at the cons)! I'm curious now, when you ran it at the conventions, was it for kids-only or a mixed table? [/B]
      Kids only, however many parents were there watching. Essentially the Soft Toys are the heroes and hard toys are the villains. Depending upon the specifics of the toy chosen there are special feats (for example - Bears can give Bear Hugs, toys with wings get flight movement).
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silver Moon View Post
      Kids only, however many parents were there watching. Essentially the Soft Toys are the heroes and hard toys are the villains. Depending upon the specifics of the toy chosen there are special feats (for example - Bears can give Bear Hugs, toys with wings get flight movement).
      Silver Moon-
      That does sound good (both the game and players)! It's on my list to check out.

      Did you run a module or was it an adventure of your own design? (And I apologize for the 20 questions over these posts.)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
    1. Silver Moon's Avatar
      Silver Moon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Did you run a module or was it an adventure of your own design? (And I apologize for the 20 questions over these posts.
      A little of both. Plots don't have to be overly complicated - usually just something that a young kid can relate to. I think we did one from the book about a potential monster under the bed and one of our own about needing to share on the playground.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silver Moon View Post
      A little of both. Plots don't have to be overly complicated - usually just something that a young kid can relate to. I think we did one from the book about a potential monster under the bed and one of our own about needing to share on the playground.
      Silver Moon-
      That sounds fun for the kids (and fun as a GM)! :-)

      Thanks for recommending this Fuzzy Heroes and sharing your experiences. I appreciate it. :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Check out EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers
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