My group is playing Mouseguard on the "off weeks" of a different RPG so it's a bit difficult to simply kick some one out of the group for this. My main problem is how do you deal with conflicts with a group of 5. I've read about splitting into to teams for each conflict but that seems overly complicated and it seems hard to create a fair opponnent. I'm also against running two seperate missions at once and splitting the party. Any tips or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Conflicts can go multiple rounds of three actions each. So if there are more than three mice, three mice go in the first round. If the neither side's disposition is lowered to zero, the other mice involved in the conflict have to go, before the three are up again. Every mouse that is able to help can and should for every action. That includes the mice that do not have an action in the current round. If there are only two mice in the conflict, they alternate their actions, if there is only one mouse, they go every time. Page 106 of the second edition rulebook explains these rules.
In a literal interpretation of the rules, the conflict captain should privately choose the three actions and assigns a teammate to each action. They can only assign an action to themselves, if there are less than four mice in the team. In my experience, it is more interesting if the players discuss what actions to take and which mouse will take which action, but it will take more time. The team captain has last say.
I would advice against planning more than three actions at a time. That would make reactions to changing circumstances hard. While that is true for both sides, I feel it would make the conflict harder for the patrol.
Example: The five mice Alice, Bertie, Charlie, Dave and Elle fight a snake. In the first round, Alice, Bertie and Charlie resolve actions against the snake, lowering its disposition to 2. In the second round, Dave and Elle have to perform the first two actions, before Alice, Bertie or Charlie can take the third action and so on.
1st Round 2nd Round Mouse A|B|C D|E|C Action M|A|A D|M|A
Not sure what the problem is here? Most of the premade missions already use four-mouse patrols, so there's already somebody "sitting out" in conflicts. The winter mission (in the "new rules, new missions" supplement) has a team of five!
Conflicts rarely consist of guardmice doing individual actions with no backup. Somebody just takes the lead on doing one action for one round out of three, and since the whole patrol is already facing full conflict consequences, there's no reason not to provide a helper die if you can.
In conflicts, players are supposed to submit three attacks, and the game master does the same. This is arbitrary, as near as I can tell. A quick look at the burning wheel rules suggest that the origin comes from the way turns were divided time-wise in that system. There is no reason that the players need to stick with three actions. It would make as much sense to use four or five actions on both sides. Alternately, the extra players can help one of the actions, contributing dice, a scenario which would promote creative teamwork.