Kids & Gaming

I just wanted to make a quick post about something DriveThruRPG is doing this coming week. Most people who know me know I am a big supporter of getting kids into gaming. When I was a judge for the ENnies (I say this a lot…) I ended up giving away a lot of the product that was sent to me for review after I was done with it. A large portion went to MisCon. One product in particular that I sent over was Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits by Precis Intermedia. I thought it was a good little boxed set with quick mechanics and easily understood rules that would be good to get some kids introduced to roleplaying. That it came with everything you needed to get going was just icing on the cake.

So I give the boxed sets to MisCon, end up giving another one to one of the boys at the table that was there for the demo I ran and I got to see him tear into his first boxed set with the same enthusiasm I had when I was nine years old and opened my first one (Champions). The clincher was when he told me that he’d “have an adventure for [me] to play in next time!” Because of that experience I gave my Judge’s Spotlight award to a game that brought a kid into the hobby, but that wasn’t the only one…

Nominated for “Best Free Product” in 2010 was the Warriors Adventure Game. Here’s a story I shared on ENWorld (and other places) about it:

It’s a nice, simple, diceless system that has helped one kid I know really start reading.

Just to share a quick story, I had always seen Warriors books at my girlfriend’s work. One of her boss’s kids is always packing them around, so I printed him out a copy of the game, bound it up and left it at the shop for him thinking he’d like it. Turns out, he’s interested in the Warriors books but struggles like hell to read them. His mom told me he’s behind on his reading and they’re having him tested for learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia and so on because he gets lost in text really easy, gets frustrated and doesn’t read more than a couple pages at a time because of it.

Anyhow, I guess after he got his hands on the Warriors Adventure Game he sits down with his book and just powers through them, turning them into adventures for his brothers. For a kid that used to spend more than a month getting through one book he has been knocking them out at the rate of one a week on average.

And he made me a card

The point of this drawn out post was to say thank you to Stan! You really deserve the nomination.

Another nomination that year (Best Rules) was BASH Ultimate Edition. I gave a copy of BASH UE to the brother of the kid I was talking about above after one of the players in my con game said that he might be interested in it. Since giving those boys their games they have mixed and matched, created their own systems, played cats, superheroes, superheroic cats, Star Wars and the list goes on. I got a message in October ’10 asking if I would be interested in playing in a BASH UE-powered Star Wars game run by the boy I gave the book to. 2010 was a great year.

In 2011 I found myself back at GenCon and on Sunday evening I was at dinner with Mark Truman and Marissa Kelly of Magpie Games and Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games. After a lot of back and forth about game design, systems and goals Mark brought up the idea of getting publishers/writers/artists together to release a game each year targeted at kids. I thought it was a brilliant plan and even though I’m not a publisher/writer/artist I have already begun working with two groups for 2012 releases with just that idea in mind.

But the real reason behind this post is that DriveThruRPG has stepped in with a fantastic new event: Teach Your Kids to Game Week! Here’s some information in their own words:

We’ve got guest essays from Bill Walton of The Escapist, Kevin Kulp (MC of the ENnies) and we’ll be featuring a number of games we think are great for teaching kids about RPGs.

We are also looking for your stories, we’d love to hear about your experiences with kids in RPGs on our Facebook page and if you have a blog, feel free to participate in Teach Your Kids To Game Week with advice, reviews, suggestions and general enthusiasm. We have created a Facebook Event so feel free to drop by and show your support.

Check out the list of games they have provided. Take a gander at the Facebook Event they have posted. Post your stories about getting kids involved in the hobby, what systems you used to introduce games to younger players and anything else that will help spread some encouragement to others who are curious how to spark that creativity and love for our hobby in our kids.

Now, since I’ve been slacking on the posts here, I wanted to leave you guys with a list of games at DriveThruRPG which are on sale this month:

The code to use is EarlyShopRPG2011 and it’s good for 20% off all those titles through December 10th. In addition, I’ve got a $10 RPGNow gift certificate to give away to one reader. What I’d like is for you to post a comment below with a story of gaming with kids and having a good time. I’ll pick a winner from the posts and email you the gift certificate.

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