Review: Magic Rat, a rules lite tabletop RPG for all ages!
Age target for Magic Rat: 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.
Magic Rat’s setting… is in your house!
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 kid thought it was hilarious. Your goal is to imagine your rats running around the house trying to avoid the gaze of you, the players! It took a minute to explain to my kid, and then, after that, we had way too much fun shifting our perspective around the house.
Your magical rat character:
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 kid 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 kid 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.
Mechanics in Magic Rat:
Using rat magic!
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.
Trackers made from tokens (or treats):
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 about Magic Rat?
My kid 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.
My overall impression of Magic Rat:
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 of Magic Rat:
You can find Magic Rat here on itchio!
This game was a lot of fun, and I hope you get the chance to check it out! If you do, please let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are!
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1 thought on “Review: Magic Rat, a rules lite tabletop RPG for all ages!”
Yay! I read through the whole blog. That was really cool and now I have to use something to make sure I know every time you make a new post.
I am not sure if your other readers would want this, but if you could do a meta-post where you placed all of the games you’ve reviewed on a number line from no gaming to full on D&D, I think that would be a great resource.
For example, I imagine your StoryGuider game is the most accessible game for any kid, and then there is a group intended for about 3-6 year olds, and then another for 8 and up. It would be cool to see those in order because it would give parents the opportunity to say, “My child is doing so great with StoryGuider. What is the next step?”