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I had Magic Rat recommended to me by several people on twitter, and, seeing as my kid has REALLY clicked with any games involving animals, I wanted to give it a try! It ended up making for a very fun game session that both my son and I really enjoyed!
- Age range
- Your character
- What did my kid think?
- Where to find a copy
Age range: All ages
Everything in Magic Rat is about shenanigans that your group makes up together, so content-wise, everything is as appropriate as you make it. We did substitute the necromancy ability with “fire” because I wasn’t sure how to explain necromancy to a 3 year old, but it was a simple swap, and I believe it stayed true to the meaning of the game.
For understanding the game, it was easy to explain, and my 3 year old was able to grasp the mechanics no problem. This ended up being an awesome game to bring him into and play as a family.
The setting for this game is… your house, as it is, with you as the players in it along with your rat! It was awesomely meta, and my son thought it was hilarious.
You actually kind of play as two characters in this game – your magic rat AND yourself, sitting at the table and keeping an eye out for rats in your house!
For the “you” character, you have your stats as you are in real life and no character creation work is necessary, but for making your rat character, you do need to pick your magic skill. There’s a list of special abilities that you can choose or roll a single d6 to randomize from the table… and that’s all! It was super easy for my son to keep track of. Sometimes when there’s a lot of mechanics, he gets lost, but he had no problem with tracking one superpower for his character.
One tip for your rat character – it isn’t necessary for the game, but I did give my son a cat toy mouse to use as his magic rat, and it worked really well with him being able to picture and remember where his character was hiding between turns.
You are given some options for the superpower your rat will have in the game, and you get to interpret what the super power means! This was a great element that allowed for a lot of creativity. In particular, we had fun figuring out what the “cheese” super power should be and how to use it to meet our rat’s goals.
If your rat is spotted or you want to use your magic, you do need to put trackers into a pot in the middle of the table. We ended up using graham cracker pieces instead of loose change (snack incentives for kids are fun), and this ended up being a really good opportunity to work a little math practice in by having my kiddo count the pieces in the pot. It also helped teach him, in a very low stakes environment, about risk/reward judgment.
What did my kid think?
My son loved playing Magic Rat! He did not want to stop, and we played about five 10 minute games before he started to wear down. He had fun hiding our little toy rat throughout the house and trying to trick me to look the other way all with the promise of a nice pile of snacks at the end.
This was a very fun and quick game that I could see playing with a group of kids or a group of adults, no problem! All the rules are on a single page, it was easy to understand, easy play… I’d say this hits all the marks for a fun game for a kid’s birthday party, adult board game night, family get-togethers, etc. and I would definitely recommend you try it out!
Where to find a copy:
You can find Magic Rat here on itchio!
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, tried the game because of this post, or have played this game before!