He’s actually been able to focus for longer periods of time, due to going to school and learning these things, so I decided to give it a shot… A few weeks back, we played Enrique Bertran’s rpgKids.
It went really great. To the right, you can see an image of Gabe writing on his character sheet. He decided to play a wizard named Wizard Gabriel, and he drew a picture of himself as a sick figure with a cape, a pointy hat, and a wand. He then proceeded to use his pen as a wand for the rest of the game, describing shouting and waving his wand at the harpies, shooting crocodiles, and casting spells left and right. We went very, very freeform with it, and sat at his table, so that he felt nice and comfortable.
He loved rolling the dice, and had a blast. Enrique really knocked it out of the park with rpgKids by giving the game as simple rules as possible.
We’ve continued to play Heroica, playing only last week. He’s grasping the rules better, and actually plans out where he’s going to go in the dungeon in order to save up gold to buy his favorite weapon.
I’ll definitely be running another session of rpgKids for him soon, probably also having Bridget give it a whirl so that we can teach him teamwork and things like that.
So… tips on playing with kids!
1. Be patient. This goes for everyone from my son’s age (4) all the way up through junior highers (who I ran games for during a D&D Encounters season). You need to be patient, as they generally won’t have the patience themselves for long stretches of nothing going on, and will tend to act up or start throwing dice. Be patient, and keep going. Speaking of kids having patience…
2. Keep the game going. Nothing kills a kid’s enjoyment more than nothing going on. When I pause to snap a picture of my son playing Heroica, and post it to Twitter, he already starts getting antsy and bored. Keep the game moving at all costs.
3. Don’t be surprised by their imagination. It blew me away how creative my son got during the rpgKids. Don’t get thrown off by some of the ideas they come up with. Roll with it.
4. Don’t assume they’re too young. I started trying to play when my son was 3, and it got him used to dice, boards and minis. He didn’t follow any of the rules (which I made up as we went along), but he had a good time, and we created a story. To the right is the image of him successfully rolling a 20 on my flashing d20.
5. Play something they like. I knew my son liked wizards and knights, as he spends most of his day dressed up as a knight, stomping around the house. I also knew he liked Star Wars (as a concept; he gets bored watching the films) so that’s what I used for his first introduction to RPGs when he was 3. Find something they enjoy. If your daughter likes My Little Pony, guess what? You’re running a MLP adventure for her. If your son likes MLP, guess what? He’s a pony now. If your kid likes Transformers, play as Transformers. Anything a kid likes can turn into an RPG.
I’d love to hear stories of your own gaming experience with your kids. Let me know how you’ve enjoyed playing with your kids in the comments below.