Role Playing Games

Over the past several months my older son has been increasingly spending more time in what I call “solitary imaginative play.” People may disagree with me, but I believe it’s good creative fun.

The trouble here is logistics: it’s hard for him to find space where his younger brothers don’t intrude. And then there are the times I interrupt, however briefly, to ask about what he’s imagining. I don’t get much of a response, which is understandable. He just wants to continue on whatever adventure I had inadvertently pulled him out of. Believe it or not, I get it.

So really, I desire 3 things:

  • A chance for my oldest son to have awesome epic level adventures
  • Him to play with at least one of his younger brothers and genuinely enjoy it
  • A window for me to see into those epic imaginary adventures without distracting him.

Which is where the idea of introducing Role Playing Games started to come in. Then during this year’s Free Comic Book day, we visited a shop that had an extensive RPG section. This year the boys were more curious about the RPGs, but not so curious to ask me to explain it to them. Which is good, because I couldn’t. I participated in exactly 1 rpg session when I was 14 and I had to leave early. So clearly I know more than someone who has never sat down at a table to play, but less than someone who has stayed through one complete session (which may not even be the end of the adventure).

But hey, there’s the internet which makes anyone an expert. Even me. I watched a couple of youtube videos, and showed my two older boys (even though they didn’t ask to see them). And they were really excited about the idea. I was honestly not prepared for how much my six year old was excited for the game.

These Pathfinder videos and I eventually came to the conclusion that Pathfinder is awesome… for someone who knows what they are doing and is at least 13 with a high IQ. It is safe to say that you want someone who has played more than a fraction of 1 game 2 decades ago to be the Game Master.

Someday we’ll play and when we do, I will not be running the game.

So the quest was on (ugh! Dad pun) to find an RPG that met the 3 criterea from earlier, plus these two:

  • A six year old can understand it enough to enjoy it
  • Its level of complexity is one that I can manage

After less then 30 minutes of research, I landed on Dungeon World [Wikipedia]. It has several of the same elements as Pathfinder (and D&D), but is more focused on creating a collaborative story.

The boys were on board and all we needed was dice… the rule book… character sheets… pencils… and wait I have to prep this game? All of which I’ll get into next time. Maybe.

Featured Image came from OpenClipArt.Org


6 thoughts on “Role Playing Games

  1. Fantastic Post!

    Your 3 desires are simple, attainable, yet elusive & complex.
    We find ourselves in a similar boat, having 4 nephews (6 to 14)
    The oldest has always been a good sport playing with the
    younger ones, so finding games that are easy to play but deep
    enough to sustain long term interest are always of interest.

    We recently played Star Realms with friends, & were blown away
    by the simplicity & depth. The game plays straight away, & within
    one game you understand the game concepts (which is important
    when you have younger players.) Game play is from 20 -40 mins
    so perfect to keep everyones attention. The creators have also
    made an RPG version called Hero Realms, which looks really fun.

    Looking forward to reading more adventures in family gaming!

    • Thanks! I’ll be checking out Hero Realms and Star Realms. When I started explaining RPGs to my oldest the first question he asked was, “Is there a Star Wars one?” There is, but it’s more complicated than what we started with, and either of those two games might be able to engage him in a similar way. Thanks again!

      • Anytime, we are always happy to converse with family gamers, it is a
        true joy to get everyone together & enjoying non-technology gaming.
        Also both games have a very low base game cost ($20) with some
        expansions available. Loved how Hero Realms, the bonus is the
        Hero class types (Warrior, Paladin, Wizard, Ranger, & Thief)

        So many games (online games cough cough) are about that hard
        money grab. It is nice to see ethical game developers who actually
        WANT people to play & enjoy their games in this current economy.

        Another board game we all play is Smallworld. It is fast & furious,
        super fun, & always different. You have a small map & the tribes
        just keep growing, so within 2 turns you are bumping into your
        neighbors. At some point you have to start a new tribe as your
        current tribe goes into decline, & you choose a new tribe.
        (there are several expansions but we have stuck with the core
        game & have never gotten bored with the multiple tribe options.)

  2. Small World is the youngest ones favorite! Lol, he always insists
    on playing Ghouls, which I happily oblige, as I have now learned
    definitely one of the strongest as they keep playing after decline.

  3. Hero Realms arrived in the Mail! The box is neat & the gaming was great.
    One suggestion is sleeving up the gorgeous new cards to keep them in
    good condition for years to come. It is my nephews 14th birthday today,
    so the timing worked out wonderfully. We will see if Hero Realms becomes
    a Party Favorite this evening! (We will have to order another one for us lol)

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