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Tail Feathers: Troop Movement and Missions

Scurrying, Leaf Movement, and the 6 Mission Types

Tail FeathersTail Feathers is the exciting new miniature skirmish game by Jerry Hawthorne set in the beloved world of Mice and Mystics. Soar across the table, send your troops on dangerous missions, and defend your nest! Players will recreate the famous battles for aerial supremacy that shaped the Mice and Mystics world. Take a look at last week's story preview, then pre-order Tail Feathers today for $15 off the retail price and a free promo Mice and Mystics Lost Chapter compatible with Downwood Tales!

Now that you are a little more familiar with how to fly your birds, the basics of attacking, and how action cards work, it’s time to understand how your ground forces move and how they can be sent on missions to perform specific tasks.


The trees in Tail Feathers have spaces depicted on them in the form of patches of bark, wood, or moss. Each patch is considered a space and can hold up to 4 small figures or 1 large figure. A nest is also a space and it can hold a lot more figures. Leaves are considered spaces as well, but they can only hold 3 small figures.


Unlike the bird units which can fly across the battlefield, ground units rely on the tree branches and are bound by a simple set of movement rules. Each ground figure has a move value listed on its unit card. This is the number of tree spaces a figure from that unit card can move on its turn. Simply declare which figure(s) are moving and move them up to that number of spaces. After moving your figure(s) you can have them make an attack or scurry (which is just a second move).

Leaf Movement


Getting into an opponent’s tree is important if you want to destroy her nest. If your figure ends its move on a leaf, you can give up that figure’s attack in order to cut the stem and send the leaf spin drifting toward a chosen tree. A leaf can carry up to 3 small figures. The more figures you have on the leaf, the further it will likely travel. While on the leaf, your figures act normally, although they have nowhere to move until they reach another tree. Any drifting leaves will make a compulsory move during the end phase.


Mission spread

A unique new feature of Tail Feathers is the inclusion of missions. Missions represent special tasks your ground units can perform. Their successful use requires strategic planning. Will you send your troops to lay siege to your opponent’s nest or have them patrolling the undergrowth from where they can fire their bows towards the sky? Will you send your units to rescue an injured bird or will they intercept an enemy mission? Or will you try to set your troops up as decoy to fool a swooping enemy bird? The choice of which of your units to send on a mission is equally important as the mission type.

During the mission phase of each round you will get a chance to decide which mission you would like to send and how many figures you want to commit to that mission. Remove those figures from your home tree and place them in your mission box. Place the chosen mission card face down within short range of the battlefield axis (which is usually in the center of the battlefield). Be careful not to place your mission in an easy flight path of the enemy birds or they will have a field day swoop attacking your mission.

Missions can be revealed during the round if an enemy bird makes a swoop attack against it. There are other ways to reveal a mission and those are discussed in the rulebook.

Missions resolve in a specific order during the final phase of the round, and your careful plan might crumble with a surprise move by your opponent. If you are a good poker player or mind reader, you might find yourself as a successful battlefield commander in Tail Feathers, as correctly guessing another player’s mission can determine whether your heroes return safely to your home nest or end up as captives.

The 6 Kinds of Missions In The Order They Are Resolved

1. Decoy: All figures assigned to this mission are placed in your home nest. This mission triggers whenever this card is revealed making a surprise surge of figures in your home nest a possibility.

2. Intercept: In initiative order, each player resolves any intercept missions. The intercepting player picks an enemy mission then rolls a die for each figure assigned to his intercept. Total the number of melee hits rolled then assign them to the troops in the opponent’s mission box. Those troops defend separately.

3. Siege: This mission is good for getting troops into another tree.  Remove the figures from your mission box and place them in spaces adjacent to the trunk of another tree.

4. Patrol: This mission is all about shooting down birds. To resolve a patrol, roll a number of dice equal to the figures in your mission box. Each bow result counts as 1 hit on an opponent’s flying bird or the figures on a drifting leaf. The defending figures roll defense normally.

5. Rescue: This is the only way you can bring birds back into play after they have been downed. Only 2 figures need to survive this mission in order to bring back a bird from your casualty pile. Place the figures from the mission and the newly rescued bird and pilot on your home nest.

6. Special: The special mission would be outlined in the scenario rules. Any figures assigned to the special mission will carry out that mission as dictated in the special rules. This could be the gathering of resources, or the retrieval of an objective of some kind. The possibilities are endless.

The two common squad units included with the base game have special abilities that can affect your patrol or intercept mission. The Oakguard Warriors are mouse rangers and as such can re-roll the dice rolled in a patrol mission. Snag’s Commandos are rats that like to scrap, so they get re-rolls when resolving an intercept mission. Benefiting from these powerful effects is tempting but far from granted.

So now you see how the furry foot troops in Tail Feathers have many options for board control. Be careful with your troops, protect them with your birds, save your cheese and strike when the moment is right! 

Tail Feathers Preview Articles
Week 1: Round Phases, Story Part 1
Week 2: Flight Basics, Aerijin & Zure, Story Part 2
Week 3: Attacking, Grizzard & Snag, Story Part 3

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