Saturday, May 8, 2021

Summer is Coming! (Gaming with Kids)

Hero Kids Warrior, Boy
by Justin Halliday
©2020 Hero Forge Games

I always work best on this blog when I have a plan in place that I have shared somewhere, so let me tell you about what I have planned for this month. This month and we'll talk about gaming with little kids.

Summer is coming, and most years for me that means road trips. Time spent at hotels trying to entertain my children. This year? It's up in the air. It depends on whether interprovincial travel is permitted at the end of June. It may be that we will be spending a lot of our summer days stuck at home trying to find a way to keep everything our sons have learned of the Year from leaking out of their heads in the heat.

And for my oldest, at least, that means role playing games. My son loves the creativity and Imagination of role playing games not a day goes by where he isn't asking to tell me a story, asking you to run him a story, or drawing a map in his Scribbler. 

At the same time, he is still a little too young to grasp of the more complex rules sets out there. Not that he hasn't tried. He enjoys playing BECMI Dungeons & Dragons quite a bit. His comfort zone his Tiny Dungeon 2e, which is light on rules and heavy on imagination. Like his dad, however, he is always game to learn a new system. And so over the last month we have been testing a number of kid oriented ttrpgs, which I will be reviewing over the course of the month. They are:

  • Tiny Dungeon 2e
  • Hero Kids
  • First Fable
  • Basic Dungeons & Dragons
  • No Thank You, Evil!

And so I will be offering a review of each including a kids-eye view assessment of them.

And I have three articles planned on playing role playing games with kids, plus, if I can do so after completing Deathtrap Lite, I will put down the rules to the super-light TTRPG I created to entertain my son on walks to school.

It is my hope that by the end of the month, if you have kids to entertain this Summer, or are thinking of writing for them, I have provided you with some helpful insight. 


  1. Cool. I run mostly kids and their parents. I basically run d20 stripped down to nothing. More like Searchers in the Unknown than anything...

    Each kid, and their parents (non gamers), tell me what they want to be, if they don't know, that's fine. What are you holding in your hands? Sword? Staff? Wand? Dagger? Shield? Um...sparrow? What are you wearing? Helmet? Robe?

    You see where I'm going. They answer, I have them write it down.

    From there we just start. Everyone can take 2 hits, and gain a hit each level. Monsters can take 1 hit, big dudes and bosses a bunch more.

    Roll 10 on d20 to succeed on anything. Tell me your interesting plan to do a thing, and roll advantage. Tell me how your character is good at something, like you've decided your character is a Viking so he'll know about sailing, well then you get to add your level to any roll. Sometimes you succeed automatic, sometimes it's just not something you can do, like when the Caveman tried to read a scroll.

    After a session or 2, everyone starts to have an idea of what their char is. What they are good at gets them a +level to rolls. Cool strategies and cooperation get advantage. Advantage in combat gets to keep both rolls, so you can hit double!

    1 is a "hilarious fail" and I'll make something up. Not the WORST thing, but the HILARIOUS thing. Lots of slipping and sliding and axes getting stuck in stalactites.

    20 is the best possible thing, player can narrate. Or double damage. Lots, and I mean LOTS, of nuts getting chopped off.

    There's no HP. Only 'hits'. 2 handers do 2 hits, 1 handers do 1 hit. Players get 2 hits to start, the Caveman got an extra hit to start.

    I use the ICRPG 'room DC' method to make things simpler for the kids and non-gamer parents.

    Lol. I told my group, ages 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 42, 41 and 30 that this is Dungeons and Dragons. They were like, 'wait, that's it, I thought there was like satanic stuff, and like it was super complicated..."

    Lol. They rotate in and out so it's actually hard to add more rules. I do a recap to start to get everyone up to speed, a 'since then you've bla bla bla", and then a "and now, you are in/at the derdeedoo, and the bla bla bla just said/did a yadda yadda..." pause..."so what do you do"

    Then I pass a giant d20 around the circle to the left, and everyone tells me what they do. Then I resolve, monsters do stuff, repeat.

    Your kids sound more advanced. My group might be able to handle more complex rules and such, but we STILL haven't rolled for attributes. We tried but they didn't get it, and none of them read the books (we have the Essential 5e set on the table each night), also players are in and out, so it's hard to get all 9+ people up to speed, plus any random guests (here's a sword, helmet, 3 hits, and flammable healing potion, welcome to the game). I might start giving them special abilities out of 5 Torches Deep or 5e every few levels.

    Currently we are rocking a Viking, Caveman, Elf Swordsman, Nature Cleric/Druid, Goblin Stabber, Dragon Slayer. "I have a huge sword and kick guys in the balls", "I'm super tough", some sort of anime Ultraman I have no idea, and a cowardly halfling guide ("Dildar Limpwhistle" my DM/NPC character...ahahah).

    Lol. This might not make much sense, but it's Saturday night and my liver is progressing nicely.

    Game on!

    1. I like it, nice and simple. I played a game of Cha'alt with Venger Satanis this weekend. It is amazing how much you can strip out of D&D and still have the essential experience.

  2. Fuzzy Knights worked well with my kids when they were young. I ran them through a whole campaign, starring their favorite stuffed animals. (We played Fairy Meat at about the same time.) You might want to check out the "comics". They're all about the power of stories.

    Something that came out a couple years ago is Stuffed Fables. It's an RPG-board game-choose your own path adventure game. It's explicitly designed for about the 6-10 age range and looks really good. You play the stuffed animals protecting their sleeping child at night.

    1. Thanks for the tip, I will have a look at Stuffed Fables. I remember it crossing my feed a few months before I started this blog.