Archive for May 12th, 2012

RPG(-ish) Games for Kids

May 12, 2012 @ 7:52 pm | Filed under:

David writes:

This [the Mouse Guard RPG] looks fantastic. Thanks!

I grew up in a house that wasn’t comfortable with RPG’s, but I think our boys would love it. Any other suggestions for the 8-12 crowd?

Yes! Do you know the Munchkin game? It’s a card game based on RPG mechanics—a great choice for when you want the fun and flavor of a role-playing game but don’t have time to embark on an elaborate campaign. This just may be my favorite non-electronic game because it doesn’t require elaborate setup and inevitably becomes a total laughter-fest. Like this moment last year:

Playing a lot of Munchkin and laughing our fool heads off. I will long savor that sweet, sweet moment when I demolished my dear daughters by whipping out a Doppelganger card I’d been secretly holding—and thereby destroying the Level 20 Dragon (+5 Intelligence) they teamed up to sic on me. Because nothing says “gentle motherhood” like wielding a Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment against the team effort of one’s children.

Okay, so…bloody dismemberment, yeah. The art on the cards is cartoonish, no gore. But the way you best your opponents is by playing weapon cards or casting spells against the monsters they send your way (or that you bump into on your imaginary dungeon crawl). So I know this one won’t be every parent’s cup of tea. But we really love it. Along the way you get cards that transform you into an elf, dwarf, halfling, etc; and there are “class” cards that give you special abilities: wizard, thief, cleric. Standard D&D categories. (Or you can go for the Space Munchkin deck that pits you against aliens, or the Pirate version, or a bunch of other variations. You can even mix and match decks.)

Turns consist of drawing cards, “kicking down the door” to encounter treasure or monsters, and generally trying to throw as many perils at your opponents as possible. 🙂

One big caveat for parents: a few of the cards are a bit on the bawdy side. I previewed the deck in advance and quietly disappeared five or six that I deemed inappropriate for my young girls. The game works fine without them.

I’ve also heard great things about rpgKids—a simplified-for-young-children version of a dungeons-and-monsters-based role-playing games. It’s been on my radar to take a closer look at, but I haven’t ordered it yet. Which is silly, because the rule system is only $3 to download. If any of you decide to give that one a try, I’d love to hear what you think.