3 Resources to Help Build Future Gamers

The promised dice tower construction tutorial has been delayed by a day due to technical difficulties. While I sort those out, I thought I’d talk a bit about kids and gaming.

The last question in the 30 Days of Game Mastering Challenge is “How do we grow our hobby?”. You can read my extended answer there when I post it, but the short answer is: get kids involved. The only way the hobby is going to keep growing is if it has a steady influx of new players, bringing new ideas and perspectives, and a fresh love of tabletop gaming. Yes, there are any number of people who come to the hobby in their 20s and 30s and stick around because they love it. That’s great, and I’ll never say a thing against anyone who came to the hobby late. The minute you pick up dice and have fun, you’re a gamer nerd just like me; welcome to the table!

But in order to keep the hobby growing, not just adding new players but actually developing and innovating, is through kids. The hobby needs people who grow up with gaming and often become the person they become because of games. In my opinion, those are the folks most likely to have an impact on the hobby’s development and growth. There will always be exceptions, but I think it is every gamer’s responsibility to foster that love of gaming in children whenever they have the opportunity.

That said, here are three on-line resources to help you teach tabletop games to kids:

1) GeekMom and GeekDad – Probably the best resource I can recommend, not just for teaching games but in raising a young nerd, are the GeekMom and GeekDad articles over at Wired. While they run the gamut of nerdy topics, a quick search of the gaming tag will yield a plethora of tips, suggestions, and advice about gaming with and for children. Both Mom and Dad have a wide range of entertaining articles about gaming with kids, and it’s well worth a read through if you are planning to bring kids into gaming.

2) Pathfinder Society: Kid’s Track – If you are looking to teach the Pathfinder RPG to kids, Paizo has created a four part lesson plan called Kid’s Track to help you get started. This free download works in concert with the Pathfinder Beginner Box and the scenarios from the Beginner Box Bash. While the information on game play is specific to the Pathfinder RPG, the guide has a treasure-trove of game neutral advice on how to GM for kids: keeping their attention, how long to spend on each topic, and so on. The guide even has time recommendations next to each section to help keep you on track and keep the session moving. I can tell you from observation the Kid’s Track works. Paizo runs a Kid’s Track at Gen Con every year, and it is always packed with kids learning the game and likely getting their first exposure to gaming. I highly recommend you take a look at the resource, even if you are starting with another game, because hacking it to work with another RPG would not be difficult.

3) Role-playing Games for Kids – Branching off from the site of John H. Kim started in 1994, his Role-playing Games for Kids page has a great starting list of commercial games aimed at children, as well as links to other on-line resources. There is even a list of free RPGs for kids, so you can introduce kids to our fine hobby with just a few clicks of the mouse. There are even links to actual game play reports from EN World and others, so if you want to get a sense of what gaming for kids is like before you jump in, give them a look.

There you are, three resources to help you bring the yoots into our fun and exciting hobby. Do you have any suggestions on kids and gaming? Drop them in the comments!

4 thoughts on “3 Resources to Help Build Future Gamers

  1. Role play. Kids do it naturally, I think. At least, my kids have. Hotwheel cars become characters with motivations and fears and plans. Stuffed animals become the monsters that lurk, or the alien creatures invading. I think we’ve kind of encouraged role playing, by…well…playing with our kids!
    It’s been a pretty natural evolution for me to now have my 5 year old interested in my D&D miniatures and that big bag of dice I have, and want to keep the stories we’ve been creating together going, but in a more structured manner.
    My two bits.

Comments? Questions? Amusing Anecdotes?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s