Monday, 7 April 2014

Mice, Mystics and Empires

Spurred on by my lack of progress on the boardgaming resolutions for 2014, I spent part of last week reading the rules for 8 Minute Empire and Mice & Mystics. And Friday that made me the master of ceremonies for the evening.

And an enjoyable evening it was: we managed two pairs of empire building at each end of the introductory scenario of the cheese fest.

8 Minute Empire manages to get a lot a bang from its very few rules. Every turn you can pick one of six cards on display, with the order determining the cost of each card. Free for the first card, three coins for the 6th. At the bottom of the card you find the action you are allowed to take. This mostly means placing a varying amount of blocks on the board, or moving them. But occasionally there is the opportunity to build a city or to remove a block of an opponent.

At the top is the symbol of a good. Building sets of goods gains you victory points, but of course some goods score easier than others. Apart from the goods, there are points to be gained from having the most blocks in areas on the map. With 7 to 9 turns (depending on the number of players) you have to chose wisely.

A highly tactical game. With a variable map and deck of cards, there is a enough replayability. Due to the minimalist design it has been compared to Love Letters.

Mice & Mystics is an entirely different beast. A sort of dungeon crawler, but due to the fairy tale setting and wonderful art work and miniatures one that immediate grasps your empathy.  There is quite a bit of information to take in before the game: a reasonable amount of rules, but also some scenario specific information.

I hadn´t had enough time to fully master the rules before playing and although I took on the role of dungeon master (not prescribed in the rules, but a useful variant, I think) there was a misunderstanding with the rules which meant that the players felt the were unduly pushed towards the end. If we had played correctly, they would have had more time.

This game is definitely coming back to the table sometime. I think the setting and scenario´s have the potential to make this a returning favourite.


  1. 8 minute Empires is a really good filler. I would try the mice game but reviews made it sound probably not for me, despite lots of toy rodents.

    1. Hi Jon,

      not sure what puts you off in the reviews. You don't seem averse of rules with a bit of a learning curve. Or is it the cooperative bit?


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