Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Games for the wee ones

Rhys goes with me to the store on Thursday nights.  While I play or talk, he hangs out and plays with Star Wars minis on some of the store terrain or plays the DS.  Lately he has been wanting to play LotR with me.  He'll be right around the table, "measuring" things with a tape measure.  Thursday nights are special bonding time for Daddy and Rhys, but he is also starting to intrude into the games.  So far, everyone at the store has been very nice about it, but I obviously need to get Rhys his own game that we can play together.

You see, Rhys is seven and has special needs.  He doesn't grasp the rules for LotR yet.  He's, among other things, developmentally delayed about a year and a half to two years.  I've been looking for the right game for him, but have not been able to find something.  I finally gave up on buying it and decided I'd just have to make something up.  He loves the mini's and he loves the Lord of the Rings. 

I decided on a dungeon crawl game.  I wanted something simple and quick to pick up and put out.  I don't have any dungeon tiles but I do have Spacehulk.  Problem one solved.  They may be Space Ship tiles but to a little boy they are tunnels and rooms in a dungeon.

Next, we needed playing pieces.  Cardboard is not going to cut it with Rhys.  He has seen me playing with minis.  He has legos and Star Wars Squinkies.  He knows that games are played with little dudes, not with pieces of paper.  No problem.  Aragorn, from the Mines of Moria set can be Rhys.  Bad guys?  Well, I have 72 goblins.  I'll have to de-flash them and glue them to their bases, but that is plenty of opposition.  So, we have a board and we have playing pieces.

Third thing we need, some kind of combat/movement mechanism.  This needs to be simple.  So, easy peasy.  The goblins roll a d4, the boys roll a d8 and the higher number does a wound.  No saving throws.  The boys each have 12 HP, (d12), that's the only record keeping.  For movement, roll a d6 and move that many squares.  The goblins roll a d4.  Shooting?  They boys need a 5-6 on a d6.  The goblins need a 6.  Done, Bob's your uncle.

We played a trial run through last night to see how it went.  Owyn (turned five today) wanted in on the action too.  They cleared three rooms and even learned some basic tactics.  The rules were easy to understand and they both seemed to have fun.

This morning both boys said, "I want to play the game".  "What's it called?".  So...

The Goblin King's Dungeon is born.  Nice, simple, hack and slash game that can be scaled up as they get bored with it.

SWMBO was just shaking her head.


  1. The moment you 'recruit' the kids is something you'll always remember. The SWMBO may not be so impressed but you have sown the seeds of a future gamer. Result!

  2. SWMBO has lived in "fear", for years, that I would make the kids into geeks like me. I think it all came to fruition last night. Now I just have to convince her that she should join us to make it a family event.


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