Foreword

This is the second fan preview of the upcoming Downwood Tales expansion for Mice & Mystics. With nearly 65% of all votes, the majority of readers on PHG and BGG opted for a 'fierce and dangerous creature home to the Downwood' as today's preview topic. 

 

 

I hope you enjoy the second sneak-peek!

 

Danger lurks outside the Barksburg walls

Downwood Tales throws our Barksburg heroes into the unknown. Sure enough, the heroes' sudden transformation into castle mice offered its challenges in Sorrow and Remembrance: rats suddenly became a lethal threat, rather than an inconvenience, petting Brodie wasn’t so smart anymore, and any appreciation for the mosquito-hunting arthropods quickly diminished when faced with their venomous fangs. And yet, these challenges pale in comparison to what Prince Collin and his friends are up against in the mystical forest. In today’s preview, meet one of the most dangerous creatures calling the Downwood home: the Molox.

 

 

“If you see a molox, run!” – Jakobe

 

Molox ecology

Their fur-covered bodies, four muscular, claw-covered legs and sharp teeth suggest that molox are mammals not unlike the moles. However, molox have not been seen outside of the Downwood, which hints at the forest’s magical properties in shaping this fascinating creature.

Nothing is known about molox family life, and it is thought that molox are strictly solitary. In fact, nobody has ever seen two molox in one spot – or had a chance to report such a discovery. A molox is fiercely territorial and won’t hesitate to use its claws, teeth and ox-like temper to evict any intruders from its home. While they don’t see well, molox have an amazing sense of smell, and adventurers should be mindful of fragrances they (or any of their items) emit.

 

 

The molox towers over any any foes the mice have seen before (production sample)

 

Molox mechanics

The molox is one of the two large minions in Downwood Tales and physically belittles centipedes and spiders. If you wonder if the molox’s mechanics can live up to its intimidating looks on the gaming board, the answer is a clear ‘Yes, it can’. The molox is not a boss and only acts once per round. Nevertheless, it comes with three stacked initiative cards, which create a novel game mechanic and require careful tactical planning for our mice heroes.

When you first encounter a molox and consider its first initiative card, you might underestimate it as an oversized rat warrior. After all, attack-, defense-, and life values are not too impressive. 

 

 

 

However, once a molox is wounded, its figure remains on the board. Only the topmost initiative card is removed and the big critter becomes angered. The molox’s tactics won’t change, but it shrugs off weak hits and its own attack become more ferocious. I found that cheese sharing amongst the mice becomes really important. After all, not many rodents can take a solid hit without being captured.

 

 

 

Finally, if an angered molox receives another wound, it rages. An enraged molox hits harder than Brodie, so staying out of its path is a very good idea. I loved this progressively increasing difficulty during play testing! Tactics and teamwork are incredibly important: sharing your cheese can protect your weakened mice and focus the molox's attention on your strongest defender, careful positioning might prevent it from reaching you altogether, and saving your strongest abilities for its enraged stage can increase your chance to penetrate that tough hide and defeat the molox for good.

 

 

 

Regardless of all planning, I never found molox encounters to be a static affair. If you choose a melee combatant to engage a molox in single combat, your mouse won’t last very long – so sharing duties is of utmost importance. Similarly, saving cheese will influence your options: do you need to prevent an attack, or do you need that cheese to play a powerful ability card on your turn? If you consider fighting a molox with quick-footed ranged attackers, keep in mind that the molox’s defense value likely tops your attack potential and can contribute massively to the minion cheese wheel! Likewise, gaining cheese from attacking a molox can suddenly turn its attention towards your mouse! As such, you will appreciate some of the already available teamwork options and cherish those, which are added in Downwood Tales.

 

 

When it comes to mice, the sum is greater than its parts!

 

Battling a molox often turns into a dynamic, frantic, dangerous, unpredictable and yet very rewarding and memorable encounter that might get your heart rate close to that of the very mice you are playing. Whether this preview has peaked your curiosity about the other Downwood minions, made you wonder what could be so important to enter such a dangerous terrain or even challenged your inner mouse warrior to engage a molox in single combat, I like to rephrase Jakobe: when you see a molox, run!

 

 

Downwood Tales offers many options to break the game's general rules!

 

 

In the next preview, I will introduce you to my favourite addition in Downwood Tales: Headfall Hollow! As part thereof, I like to share my thoughts on some exciting new player cards but leave the specifics to you: let me know what you like to read about from the following options (choose one trick, one scroll and one item card).

 

Vote for one trick card:

*Mystic Link

*Warden’s Retribution

*Mouse Hearing

 

Vote for one scroll card:

*Summon Spider Ally

*Cloak of the Willow

*Part Water

 

Vote for one item card:

*Bed Rolls

*Pea Shooter

*Nature Blade