Tagged: Kids

It seems like an age… Oh and an Ice Cream Card Game?

Dear Derek...I realised today, that with one thing and another, we have been a little bit quiet here at miskatonic.co.uk with nearly a month gone by and next to no posts at all.  We failed to comment on GenCon, or even the results of the Ennies (well done Chronicle City/Modiphius – and in particular Sarah Newton – for the Silver Ennie for Best Adventure for Acthung! Cthulhu – Three Kings).  We didn’t even manage to muster a happy birthday H.P Lovecraft on August 20th (belated happy birthday Howard).  For all of this we have no real excuse other than its been a busy time.

Once again I found myself visiting Brighton for the BURPS ReuniCon.  This year our humble reunion/roleplaying con had a Zombie theme and I particularly enjoyed playing Cosmic Patrol and running some Savage Worlds – War Of The Dead.

I’ve also been busy trying to finish the Savage Worlds Weapons Cards. As mentioned in a previous post we have two more decks in the pipeline; Weapons Deck #2 will complete the list of common weapons found in the Savage Worlds rulebook and add in a few juicy extras, but we also have our WWII Weapons Deck which will list the most common British and German weapons.  There is a possibility that we may follow that up with a US and Japanese deck, but I need to research that a little more first.

Finally its been a great month for RPG Kickstarters, I’m particularly thrilled with Weird Wars Rome from Pinnacle Entertainment Group Inc, within a week of the Kickstarter closing they shipped the Core Rulebook PDF to backers and I have to say it is something I can’t wait to run, but it might wait until I get my hardcopy later in the year.

So while we have probably been a little quiet here in the non euclidean depths of the interweb, we have been busy elsewhere and hope to have lots of interesting articles and resources to bring you over the next few months.

For now I’ll leave you with something slightly different that was brought to our attention earlier today, a Kickstarter for a curious little card game that we think you may well enjoy and that we hope you might find your way to backing: Amg! Ice Cream.

 


 

Why do we like this little game?  Well there are a bunch of reasons…  Firstly the cute little “Blobs”, whats not to like there?  Secondly its a simple game that I can see people playing for fun with younger kids – anything that encourages famillies to play games together, (be that card games, board games or RPG’s) is a good thing in my book.  Thirdly, the gameplay looks to incorporate the essential elements of both strategy and luck, and I like that in a game, it balances things out particularly well when you play with younger or less experienced gamers – keeping it fun for everyone.  Finally the games designer and artist is in her twenties, and I love it when young, innovative people get into the games industry in this way – we need more creative young talent to bring new things to our games table.

So, I’m off to back the kickstarted for Amg! Ice Cream, (Good luck with it Tessa – hope its a huge success).

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek.

Teachg Your Kids To Game – Day 7

Well its the end of the week and at miskatonic.co.uk we have really enjoyed sifting through games for kids and looking at the challenges of taking roleplay gaming to the next generation.  We are going to finish up by looking at two products that are not just roleplay games, the first Fuzzy Heroes is really a tabletop miniatures game (with RPG elements) and the second, Dread House is more a board game.

Fuzzy HeroesFuzzy Heroes from Inner City Game Designs is; “a family fun game of combat and adventure for toys and stuffed animals.  It teaches basic miniatures, role playing, and tactics as well as providing wacky fun for even the most veteran gaming enthusiast.  Death and gore free, but with plenty of action, Fuzzy Heroes is a great gateway game for introducing new players to the hobby, while still providing enough depth, thrills, and laughs to provide even the veteran miniatures or role-playing game player with new worlds to conquer”.

Set in the land of Frolichaven where stuffed toys come from and ruled over by Good King Swineheart, keeping it safe for all. But, the Renegade Eye King has other plans and wants to conquer Frolichaven and rule over all toys. So it is up to you, a Fuzzy Hero, to keep Frolichaven safe from the Renegades under the rule of The Eye King.

Players each command one or more fuzzy animals. Each toy’s statistics are derived from its measurements, predominant color, and visible equipment. The basic rules allow toys to move and fight, but the advanced rules add leadership, fortifications, special abilities, new weapons, and fatigue. Honestly if you have, as most of us seem to, a house full of plush toys you  would be mad to pass this up, from  my shelves I took Dilbert, Dangermouse, Pooky Bear and Cthulhu and frankly they are unstoppable characters and bags of fun.

Now published in a second edition and with a bunch of available supplements kids from 7 up are going to love this, its relatively simple, visual and engaging and it is one of my favourite finds in this week of looking at games for kids.  The PDF is available from DriveThruRPG, normally priced at $19.95, but currently just $10 as a part of the kids promotion. – Worth every cent/penny/euro….

The second title, Dread House from Dig a 1000 Holes Publishing is a horror game for “spooky children and brave adults”. It is a role-playing board game in which you play kids who haveDread House dared each other to spend the night in Dread House.  You know, Dread House, the one that sits high upon a lonely hill, at the end of a dark and gloomy street a looming mansion that has been abandoned for years and from which, late at night, things can be heard stirring…

As the players explore the house, they draw cards and describe to each other spooky things they see and useful things they discover. Each players character has special abilities that can help them explore and help each other stand up to the Monsters that lurk in the house. The characters will be scared by many things they encounter in the house and when that happens the players pull blocks from a Tower (Jenga Set – not supplied)  to see if their character stays in the Dread House or if he/she runs home to Mummy.  If the Tower falls when someone pulls, then that person gets to play a Monster in the house which is  a nice touch and keeps everyone involved. If half the kids get scared away, then the Monsters win and the teens have to try another time to prove their bravery. But if the card for the Sunrise is found while enough kids are still in the house, they have made it through the night!

The PDF version of Dread House, available from DriveThruRPG comes with: The Rule Book, Six Character Sheets, Six Monster Sheets, Six Monster Cards, A deck of 22 Spooky Events, A deck of 22 Useful Items and a map of Dread House (printable in three parts).  It is all nicely formatted and ready to print, easily assembled and very importantly, you’ll have to supply your own Jenga set to be able to play!

This is a lovely game, I may even try to get my hands on a proper physical copy rather than the PDF, it is very playable – not just by kids and we can’t recommend it enough.

Hev fun with your kids,

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek.

Teach Your Kids To Game – Day 6

Ok so this ones a bit poor – I’ve suddenly realised that I forgot to put up todays post…  I know I’m a bad man.  Given that this is ostensibly a Lovecraftian, Cthulhu inspired RPG site I’m going to share one of the few Fearless Imagination products suitable for people of any age (not that they will necessarily understand it unless you’ve been reading the Dunwich Horror to them since the age of three).   Find attached our very popular and still free – Cthulhian charades and taboo cards. Ideal for playing with a group of friends, I recommend a group of five or six, and also a few beers maybe to get the thinking muscles nicely relaxed.

The attached PDF file contains 100 clue cards, instruction booklet for both Cthulhian charades and taboo as well as a single page of card backs with a nice tentacle design and of course our web address!

Enjoy!

CTHULHUIAN CHARADES AND TABOO

 

FREE DOWNLOAD

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek.

Teach Your Kids To Game – Day 5

Today I want to take a look at some Internet resources for those of you who want to game with your kids.  It might sound daft, but it is a big and confusing hobby, and playing games with kids is very different to playing with groups that are in their late teens and early (or late) adulthood.  There are a number of websites out there that can help you with making decisions about what and how to play, considerations to take and so on and today I want to share a few of those with you.

The EscapistFirstly lets stop by at The Escapist, a web page that, in its own words is “devoted to the betterment of role-playing games and the education of the public and media of their benefits to society”.  A noble concept indeed!  This is a useful site for general information for those new to the hobby: “what’s a roleplaying game”, “how do you play” and more pertinent for this discussion, “how do I get kids involved”.  Importantly the escapist contains a lot of material that addresses what I hope is an outdated belief that roleplay games are evil, that they endorse black magic, have satanic undertones and so on.  If you have any of these concerns, well bless you for being open minded enough to read this far, and you may find reassurance in some of the material at The Escapist – start with the FAQ’s.  Finally The Escapist is also home to a number of relevant “projects” such as the Young Persons Adventure League, The Square One Podcast and Reading, Writing and Roleplaying.

It might seem obvious but DriveThruRPG and its sister sites are fantastic resources for all roleplayers, even if you do nothing more than sign up for their newsletter so you can check out the weekly free publications!  However, beyond that there are always promotions, reviews and ultimately PDF’s are a great way to dip your toe in the water without breaking the bank.

RPGNet  has seemingly been around forever, it is probably the number one site for reviews and industry news, if you are thinking about spending your hard earned euros on a product check out what RPGNet has to say about it first.  In addition the forums are an incredibly deep well of information on almost any topic, if you need rule clarifications, opinions chances are you’ll find them at RPGNet.  As well as the forums there are a number of well written regular(‘ish) columns, an RPG Wiki as well as the ever useful Game Index.

RPG PodcastsFinally I want to share rpgpodcasts.com with you – guess what that’s about?  Yes it is a directory of podcasters from all over the web who have at least one thing in common – roleplaying games. You will find podcasts covering what they are playing at their tables, about what’s going on the industry, or about what the collective consciousness has learned that might help others improve their games. You might also find other things besides roleplaying games! Explore this site and find out more about the many shows that you can pop on your iPod (other devices are available).  I’ve long been a fan of the “Pulp Gamer Out of Character” podcast which is a very likeable group discussing table-top gaming and community news in a morning show style format.

I’ll end up this post by pointing you to one last web resource the home page  of the  kids-rpg mailing list run through the Yahoo!Groups web site. Its purpose is to foster discussion on the topic of kids and non-computer-based role-playing games.  It has a simple mission statement:

“We, the members of the kids-rpg mailing list, are committed to the promoting the practice of roleplaying as a hobby among children. We set out to foster discussion between and amongst adult caretakers of children, children, teachers, religious leaders, role-playing game industry personnel, and other interested parties. We strive to increase our membership list and encourage active weekly participation. We come together to provide both a nonjudgmental place of free expression which is also safe for children.”

The list was founded and is moderated by Sam Chupp. He is a former employee of White Wolf Game Studio, a publisher of roleplaying games primarily for adults. During his time at White Wolf he was a writer, game designer, layout artist, public relations liaison, Intern Program Manager, Internet representative, playtest coordinator, design contributor and creative assistant, He is a parent, as well, of three children.

I know that not everyone is keen on subscribing to mail lists, but I have never experienced any issues with those organized through Yahoo Groups like this, and the ability to opt for consolidated mailings will reduce the amount of traffic through your mailbox – trust me if you think you have a lot of mail, just try being me for a day or two…  If you do subscribe to this I am sure that you will find the material appropriate and engaging.

Anyway, that’s it for today – tomorrow we take a look at a couple more games.

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek.

Teach Your Kids To Game – Day 4

Dear Derek...“Dear Derek

I’m making a serious effort to get my kids into RPGs, but it hard to get the time to get the plots together. Can you recommend any well fleshed out ones, something to make the DM’ing easier?”

This was a real question, and although I gave my friend an answer, the more I have thought about it the more I can relate to the sentiment.  We are all really busy; time is a premium, even those of us who want to spend every waking moment immersed in our games mostly can’t, so if you are a busy, working parent what hope is there that you will be able to find the time to prep a game for your kids and their friends.  Well there is some good news and some bad…

Firstly lets get the bad out of the way.  There is no real alternative to a well prepared game, even if your players trash your plot in the first session, the time you spent putting it all together usually means that you have the creative mental material to hand to be able to cope and keep the game on track.  If that is what you want to be able to do you are going to have to put in the time.  There is no magical way around it so, no more “X-Factor” for you, switch-off “I’m a Celebrity”, put down the Xbox/PS3/Wii controller and get prepared to put in the effort.  In general I have found that for a single four or five hour session I need at least an hour to make sure I’m up-to-speed with the material, and that assumes that the material exists and all I need to do is read it.  If you are aspiring to your own scenario or campaign then be prepared to double up and put in at least as much effort as you expect to spend playing with your group.

But now lets focus on the good news, because there are some shortcuts and tips that I can suggest for you.

STARTER SETS – If this a new thing for you and your kids then one option is to look at the starter sets – the latest to hit the stores is the Pathfinder Beginners Box, you can almost play it from cold with just a little background reading to become familiar with the mechanics.  Everything is ready prepared Pathfinder Beginner Boxand presented for “Beginners”.  It is true that these types of game never quite have the depth that a full-blown game, but for dipping your toe in the water and for first time groups it’s a great place to start.  Similar products exist for Dungeons & Dragons and in one form or another for other mainstream games.

KEEP IT SIMPLE – You could save a lot of time by trying a game system that is really light on rules, the 1PG series from Deep 7 are great examples (available from the Precis Intermedia Games website)  The mechanics of the system can be learnt in minutes and character generation takes only a few minutes more.  Each game comes with a bunch of plotlines so you really have everything you need for a sessions gaming.  These games work well if you are an experienced GM who just doesn’t have the time to read a detailed scenario – if you can improvise and tell a good story then this is everything you really need.

OUTSOURCE THE HARD STUFF – Find someone else to run the game and just play it along with your kids.  Local games clubs are a fine place to start, something you can do with the kids that will get them to meet new people as well, and you get to play – it’s a win win.  Alternatively, if your kids have played games before then why not consider asking one of them to run the game for you?  Honestly you would be amazed how many roleplaying parents I can think of would never have considered this.  The kids love it and yes you still get to play the game with them – you might end up paying for a bunch of scenarios and sourcebooks, so be warned!

USE ESTABLISHED GAME WORLDS – A good shortcut is to play a game that is based on TV, film, book, comics or something similar.  Where there is already a well established familiarity with the basic back story and what is possible.  Examples are things like Star Wars, Marvel Super Heroes, Buffy, Serenity, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf or even Harry Potter.  If you already have the basic background clear in your players minds then the roleplaying can be much easier to work with.  Yesterday I touched on “Meddling Kids” a great RPG that fits this category nicely, we already know what to expect from the plot before a single dice is rolled.

CHOOSE CAREFULLY – Finally, if your players are already comfortable with the rules and mechanics then you just need to pick your scenario or material carefully. Find something really well presented with a solid plotline.  If you are playing D&D or Pathfinder then something like the Blackbyrne Publishing scenarios should do the job nicely.  Whilst you can always be more creative, scenarios like these can largely be run from the page, there is sufficient descriptive flavor, all of the statistics are to hand and you don’t need to be cross referencing half a dozen source books.  There are loads of scenarios that fall into this category, and many like those from Blackbyrne Publishing are really very good, you just have to look carefully.

So in summary I have to admit that roleplaying with your kids isn’t like getting out the Scrabble set and just having a quick game.  It takes more than that.  But, if you are reading this then you probably already appreciate that the effort you put in does give its own rewards.  Roleplaying is a hobby that has given me over twenty years of great fun and has introduced me to some of my best friends, it has led me to read hundreds of books and to write my own material (and even get some published).  Time spent on roleplaying with kids isn’t the same as playing a simple game, its much more than that, it is an investment.

I hope that helps, and I promise that in tomorrows post I’ll get back to the games themselves.

Ia! F’tagn!

Derek