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Cole Wehrle on the design of Pax: Mouse Guard, Root
Birds have to aggressively put down roosts to score, but they're easily a match for Cat scoring if they do. Cats have to scale three building types to stay effective, while Birds only have the one.
You're definitely right in it on turn 1, since the birds start out concentrated in the corner, and the cats are thinly spread everywhere. Cats just have to expect to pull back a bit and make some room, or they can easily start losing forces faster than they can rebuild them. The Alliance are slow to start, but really hard to get rid of once they dig in. The reverse dice and Outrage mechanic make them very frustrating opponents.
Disgustipater wrote: The poor cats get it from both ends. I'm curious (in general) how soon the birds and Alliance start butting heads? Maybe it just depends on their initial sympathy placement.
Cats definitely start on the back foot, because they set up overstretched. The first part of the game there is all taking lumps and making hard choices. The action limit is the most frustrating part. Birds and WA grow their action count over time, but cats never do.
I think a lot depends on the relative play styles. In this game, Sax chose his own corner, so until he and the birds grow towards each other, there's not much there. However, I'm sure there will come a time when the bird is stuck with "decree says we battle in Fox, so find someone to beat up!". Might even be my poor woodchuck-looking thing that ends up on the wrong end of that.
But then, that sure limits my incentive to hand out cards from this overstuffed pile I've been carrying around...
edit: apparently picture is too big. Sufficed to say, lots of dead forest animals soon.
Gotta say, I sort of rolled my eyes a bit at the world building nature of all Wehrle's designer diaries. But all of the "cats want to do this" and "alliance wants to do that" is baked so hard in there - and as you said, from the first move - that you don't need flavour text. It just happens.
I have no idea what's going to go down, and still have not near enough of a sense of what the other factions can do in response to my growing avalanche of set moves (I'm about to check the state in a minute), but thanks again for setting this up. It's pretty good ay. (High praise).
Revisiting, it's the usual games industry slapfest. It doesn't even have the irony of Martin Wallace losing money in a business deal about economic games.
I don't really need to speculate out loud, but I've drawn my own conclusions about what happened. There's certainly no shortage of unprofessional behavior in this silly business.