Mouse Guard has been a part of our family for a few years now. We’ve bought a few of the books, checked out a couple from the library, and keep our eyes out for new releases. Both my wife and I have loved reading to the kids as well as giving them a turn. I’ve said it before and I can’t seem to avoid saying it again, it’s been a delight to watch them encounter new vocabulary words, discuss meaning, and even work through reading difficult words that appear in highly-stylized handwritten text.
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 was our first journey into the Mouse Guard universe of Kenzie, Lieam, and Saxon. Winter 1152 followed. And then we found our noses buried in Beginning The Black Axe and even the Legends of the Guard books.
In the last few pages of Fall 1152, there are a couple mice gathered around a little game in a tavern. I remember the kids exclaiming at the tiny mice tokens when we read it for the first time.
Little did we know we’d have that same game on a table in our ‘tavern’ a few years later.
Writer & Artist, David Petersen, teamed up with Game Designer, Luke Crane, to create a light strategy game and put their concept on Kickstarter.
A two-player board game from the Mouse Guard comics—for guardmice, patrons of the June Alley Inn and their fans.
Long story short: we backed it.
Thankfully, the Kickstarter campaign succeeded. Once our copy showed up, my son and I were the first to put it through its paces. It’s a chess-like game that looks and feels as though it was magically extracted from the pages of the book, and most importantly plays easily enough while hiding a lot of depth. I’m sure we’ll get Swords & Strongholds to the table a lot around this house.
Over this last weekend, my dad showed up to Dice & Decks – a local board gaming club/event I run. I had to introduce him to the game.
Now, I’ll admit that I was so wrapped up in being thrilled that he came, that I forgot just how good my dad is at chess.
Early on in our first game of Swords & Strongholds, my dad captured one of my pawns, and then another. I felt like I fought back valiantly and managed to recover both after a few more turns. Although, it was only my third playthrough, so I’m sure to a seasoned player of chess or chess-like games I looked like a fish flopping around in a puddle.
He eventually whittled me down to one pawn and was able to maneuver one of his into the winning, stronghold-making position.
He called it a practice round and eagerly asked to play again.
I wanted to pass along a heartfelt “Thank you” to David Peterson and Luke Crane for the wonderfully delicious anguish over the decisions made while playing Swords & Strongholds. It’s a brilliant little package with a ton of charm; there’s so much game there. Excellent work, gentlemen!
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