Saturday, September 14, 2013

A game of Tooth and Claw, a review

I made a review of the rules in Tooth and Claw and one of the rules from The Good and The Bad, The Furry here: TaC rules review

Tooth and Claw gaming review

A summary could be that we had fun but didn’t have time to play much when we had finished talking and created characters and gaming environment but we liked it and will pick it up again to proceed. I give the game four ferrets out of five. The picture above, by the way, shows the whole rules system, the character sheets, relationships sheets and stash sheets for a business of three ferrets and one ferret next door.


It took a little while to create characters, business and gaming environment for the first time but not near as long as for most other games I have played. The second time I think it will be very easy to create the characters. The business relationsships and the gaming environment probably benefit from having some time spent on it. Still it’s totally possible to create characters and play a short story in one evening (for us 4 h minus some chatting and eating, usaually at least 3 h).

Character and business generation

The character generation in itself was much like any character generation but very easy to understand. The choice of skills and similar things did bring some feeling for the game though. We had three ferrets with the roles; scavenger, strategist and decoy (this affects attributes and skills). Alreday before starting to play you create relationships between the ferrets wich affect their attributes and how they can support each other in the game which is nice. This was done in a way where the players defined relationships their ferret have to some of the other ferrets but unknown which. The relationships was then shuffled and dealt out to the players who then discovered which relationships they had with each others. This was fun, some of the relationships we ended up with was:

  • Viktualia thinks Ferialia has less Muscle than they give themselves credit for because nobody else ever got stuck in the slinky toy
  • Augustus thinks Viktualia has less Muscle than they give themselves credit for because the stairway rail seems slippery when walked upon
  • Ferialia thinks Viktualia has more Bones than they give themselves credit for because she always knows when the big ones awakes during the night
  • Ferialia thinks Augustus has less Fur than they give themselves credit for because of a bold spot not seen in the mirror
  • Augustus think Ferialia has more Fur than they give themselves credit for because the ferret next door glances at her in secret

Another exciting thing was creating the ferrets' stashes. I will not print any of it here since parts of them is secrets between the ferrets. They don’t have to be because the other ferrets can have seen what the others have found and run away with. The place is always secret at the beginning of the game though. The business stash ended up containing:

  • The Rat Shield, a shield made out of three bottle crown caps. It was used by a rat and taken as a trophy by the ferret business in The Rat War that stood in the large area where the big cellar doorway is.
  • A string
  • The Deformed Bouncy Ball. It’s very fun to play with since it’s hard to foirsee how it bounces and also a good training. The ferrets always play with it at night to not be in the way of The Big Ones living in the house.
  • One of the keys to the inner doors in the house. The ferets know that these makes it possible to pass the doors when they are closed but has yet to figure out how.
  • A shot glass. They roll funny when laying down. They had two but the other one broke and angered The Big Ones. Also broken glas cuts paws badly.
  • A 4" nail.

The gaming environment

The last thing done before starting the first actual gaming is creating the house where the ferrets live. This is done together and each and everyone can decide thing if no one protests and discuss together is not everyone totally agree or has a suggestion for a change.

For our business an old mansion with two floors, a cellar and a side house. In the side house a wild ferret has taken up residence without The Big Ones knowing about it. The wild ferret is the feret next door mentioned in the relationships. The big ones are two grownups, a male and a female, and a small Big One (some years old) that’s very fond of Augustus’s hat, Viktualia’s dress and Ferialia’s socks. In the cellar The Big Ones have built a nice tunnel system to play in.

The house is ridden from rats but still contain mice wich isn’t really a problem since they’re good food. The Big ones are nice but sometimes serve boring food. Besides the regular stairs from the cellar and the ground floor and a big cellar doorway to the outside there are two other ways to get from the cellar to somewhere else. One way is behind the boiler that heats the house. There’s an old chimey stack (wich connects the still used tiled stoves)and a newer water pipe. Behind the the chimney stack it’s possible to sneak up to the kitchen but during the cold winter’s of Sweden it gets very hot and it’s tricky to use that way. The other way is with an old dumbwaiter (food elevator) that can be used to get to the ground floor or the top floor. The ferrets can’t operate it themselves though and The Big Ones don’t really like them using it.

The old mansion is also equipped with a kennel that is still used by The Big Ones. Three hunting dogs, beagles, live there. Close to the houses are also a park/small forest. The forest is kept at bay by Big Ones and the trees were chosen by Big Ones to be nice to walk among so it’s mainly trees without lower branches (birches rather than pines for example) and bushes.

The scenario (c5s1)

The scenario started in the early evening when the ferrets woke up. They had gotten their food but wasn’t really hungry yet and The Big Ones were sitting half-sleeping in the sofa while the small Big One were playing at the upper floor. The ferrets found some icky goo on the kitchen floor, tracked it to the big machinery that kept The big Ones' food cold and with a lot of fiddling (removing a panle) and with the help of a piece of a candle from Augustus stash fixed the hole where it was leaking. In the process The big Ones were disturbed by Viktualia who were put in the cellar with the door almost closed behind her. Viktualia and Ferialia manged to, but barely, open it again and Viktualia could join the problem solving. When Augustus ran away to fetch the thing-that-could-solve-the-problem from his stash Ferialia tracked him but was lured into a trap by Augustus and instead of finding Augustus’s stash Ferialia found herslef in the claws of the small Big One who put on here two of here socks wich didn’t make anything easier. On top of that the door to the room got closed as a result of fallout and Ferialia had big problems getting rid of the socks and getting out to the stairs and down to the others. In the meantime Augustus had fetched the candle piece and clawed and gnawed it into a fitting piece for the leaking hole. During that time The Big Ones' eyes also had caught a glimpse of the puddle in the kitchen and deducted that the ferrets had toppled something again. Especially since Ferialia had jumped/climbed up on the kithcen bench but instead of finding some tool fallen into the sink, yelp, bounced and and jumped/fallen back to the floor and made a lot of noise in the process.

After solving this and the players had gotten used to the rules system the ferets felt like time for food and returned to the cellar and the food. The food was gone…

Here we stopped because it was getting late and we all had work to attend the next day. As mentioned we will continue play later on if there’s no regular gaming meeting at the regular gaming day or if we shoudl find a day where we don’t really know what to do and feel for some role-playing.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Tooth and Claw

Grade (out of five ferrets): <\,/\,~~ <\,/\,~~ <\,/\,~~ <\,/\,~~

So, no one didn’t really expect me to not buy a game like Tooth and Claw right? I mean, it’s cheap, it’s simple rules, it’s small and easy to bring, it’s delivered in digital format and is easy to print by yourself. It’s about ferrets. And half of the money goes to ferret care run by the game’s creator and hos partner. Our ordinary game master was sick and we decided to have a gaming meeting anyway so I got us to try this little game. We only used Tooth and Claw but I will include the status from The Good, The Bad, The Furry in this text because I think it doesn’t really add complexity but game value. This is a post mostly about the game rules and I will also make a post about our forst test run.

Preparations for gaming

One could say that there are three parts of preparations; character generation, business generation (business is the word for a group of ferrets with internal relationships) and environment generation.

Character generation

The ferret induviduals are described by their (Bones, Brains, Fur and Muscle), their role in the business (Castes: Decoy, Hunter, Nurturer, Scavenger, Strategist), their skills and their (everchanging) mood. The character generation felt quite like any simple system although there’s game mood in the coice of names of attributes, skills and so on.


The base for these are set by the player by dividing 12 points among the attributes, at least one and maximum five on each attribute. With some other modifications these are the most important values when the ferets try to acheive things.

  • Bones, instincts and awareness
  • Braines, knowledge and ability to reason
  • Fur, appearance and social standing
  • Muscle, raw physical potential
Castes (roles)

There are five castes for ferrets and depending on the size of the business and the individual ferrets each and everyone is more or less unique in the business. In larger businesses there might be duplicates but the ferets try to have different roles to make the group work better. The ferret’s role also decides two out of three skills for the ferret, the third is free to choose. Theese roles do something for me in giving me an experience of playing in a certain situation, the ferret business.

Castes; decoy, hunter, nurturer, scavenger, strategist.


The skills are 13 and gives a bonus to the attribute when the feret tries to achieve something. The main value is the attributes though. Several of the skills are game specific and carries a game mood in them. Some examples are; comfort (help another ferret recover), dook (ferret communication by sound), focus (maintain mood), musk (scent marking and expression of dominance), soothe (affect another ferret’s mood in certain directions), stash (find and hide hidings), taunt (affect another ferret’s mood in certain directions), war dance (confuse enemies and duck danger but also a happiness expression). There’s also some more regular skills for handling some other physical stuff.


An important thing is the mood a feret is in. If the mood cooresponds to the type of action it tries to do it can’t get spectacular failures (only failure, part success and success). On the other hand if the mood opposes the type of action there will be no extra dice and significantly higher risk of not full success. There are four moods; impulsive, empathetic, confrontational and considered. Each of the moods corresponds to an attribute. The rules works well to make the mood important.

Business creation

A business is a group of ferrets with relations between them. When creating the business rules-wise every player takes to relationship cards, one saying ‘'NN thinks MM har more X than MM gives itself credit for because Y’‘ and one saying ’‘NN thinks MM har less X than MM gives itself credit for because Y’‘ and fills in their ferret’s name for NN, leaves MM empty, chooses which attribute X is and motivates with for example an event from the ferrets’ past. These are then shuffled and dealt out to the player again (one ‘'more than’‘ and one ’‘less than’‘ to every player). Each player than fills in their ferret’s name for MM. Now a bunch of relationships have been created within the business. These also affects the actual attributes of the ferrets. These relationships also affects which ferets can cooperate and how well. This was quite fun to do and a little exciting since you don’t know what cards you will get.

Ferrets hide stuff. Therefore every player has a stash card where he or she fills in some things their ferret has stashed away somewhere. Each of these stashes is in the beginning hidden from the other ferrets but can be found in the game. The business also has a business stash wich all the ferrets in the business know where it is but that is in the beginning hidden from others outside the ferret business, ferrets or not.

If the ferrets agree upon a nap time they all find somewhere nice to rest for a while and then recover somewhat from mood changes and injuries. A ferret with the skill soothe can help another ferret recover some extra.

The business also has a status order wich decides which ferret takes the lead in cooperations. This isn’t as rigid as it can be among other animals and as soon as the status is relevant a renegoiation or fight for status can start which changes the status order.

Environment generation

When the ferrets and their business is created it’s time to create the house where they live and the Big ones living there. This is done together by answering on questions about the house, the big ones and so on and hopefully by adding some ideas that comes up when answering the questions. This was a very fun collaborative part of the game building.

Game start

If the game master has some idea on what problem(s) that arises and forces the ferrets to save the day (or rather the night) he or she just needs to decide on how ‘'big’‘ story it’s gonna be. This decides how many success the ferrets must ahve to solve the problem. Usually one scenario takes place during a night and usually the big ones are not aware of the problem.