Monday, May 17, 2010

Gaming with Kids - A Cautionary Tale

I enjoy playing RPGs with my children. They are my gaming group.


My oldest is a sensitive child. When we first started with RPGs we talked about winning and losing and the fun of just playing. He gets that. But the other day we played a practice scenario of Supers! in order to familiarize him and his younger brother with the combat system. He played his shape-shifting character, Phoenix, and his younger brother played Phoenix's companion, a dog that can shape-shift into a teenager. The scenario was a simple case of a group of six mooks robbing a bank. The boys went in (my youngest used his character's super stength to literally burst through the wall) and cleaned the mooks up in a round and a half of combat. I then sent in the Centurion character that I posted in my mini-review. Centurion was being mind controlled by an unknown villain and attacked the pair. So we all rolled our reaction and the sequence became my oldest son, me as GM, then my youngest. Centurion has 6D in armor. This is strong armor. So my oldest would attack, Centurion would defend with his armor and fend off the attack. Then Centurion would do his thing and then my youngest would attack. Centurion would defend with his armor again but at a reduced 5D. My youngest scored a hit or two as a result.

Before we could finish the combat it was time for bed. Well, my oldest became upset because he wanted to finish and was very frustrated that he could not hit Centurion. I tried to explain to him that he and his brother were working as a team and that his attacks distracted and weakened Centurion allowing his brother to hit. This did not mollify him. He became more worked up and began talking about not winning the game. Once again I reiterated that the fun was in the playing, not winning or losing. No dice. He swore off RPGs forever.


Of course a half hour later he apologized and asked if we could play the following night with the caveat that I use a different character to fight with.

Well, what lessons can I draw from this? Emphasize the fun of playing not the winning or losing more often. Perhaps adjust the power level of the opponents (though this was the first combat we ran so I wasn't completely aware of how it would play out.) Children, like adults, can invest to much emotion into games and thus lose some of the enjoyment.

I know I'll think of more but that is all for now.

Oh, and Centurion is a Badass.

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