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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Soulful Sunday: 07/06/2014

Today's post is about kids and D&D.  The question being, would you or should you introduce your children to the fantasy roleplaying hobby and at what age?

Clearly this is a sensitive topic for gamer parents and my guess is that opinions span the gamut.  My own feeling is that whether D&D is appropriate largely depends on the maturity and personality of the individual kid in question multiplied by how patient and willing to teach for the parent involved.

My own kids are pictured here right around the age of eight years old enjoying a clink of cups over their first real experience playing D&D Basic by the rules.  Both of my boys are patient and get along reasonably well over a board game so I knew the bickering would be at a fairly low roar.  The boy on the left has a neck, he just has his shirt pulled up to his chin because he is pretending his shirt is the beard of his dwarf for the photo.

D&D continues to be a largely occasional experience for my boys.  They are just now gaining an interest in more of an ongoing campaign with a few friends.  By the time they are half way through the 4th grade I hope to provide that experience for them, using the Rules Cyclopedia as their edition of introduction and the World of Mystara as their first hunting grounds.

As a side note they are both becoming interested in Warhammer.  An expensive hobby that I never actually tried out.  Just yesterday we spent a few hours together working on a box of Eldar and Tyranid models.  Teaching them how to put a plastic model together with a file to get the nubs off and hobby glue was fun and a good learning experience for them.  I think in another two sessions they will be largely able to assemble their own Warhammer models as long as the models are fairly simple without a whole lot of assistance or guidance from me.  This is also an opportunity for me to teach them how to paint a miniature and one boy in particular I think will really enjoy that process.  We will see.  There is a hobby store only a half mile from the house where they have a tournament in two Saturdays.  I plan to take them so they can sit in and learn a little more about how to play.  I hear there are other kids close to their age, 11 and 12 year olds...actually playing in the tournament.

So why would you not share your RPG hobby with your kid?  I suppose one reason would be if your child struggled with social relations.  What???  Preposterous right?  Well hear me out.  I think that there are kids who could benefit from waiting for their introduction to social games like D&D for a later age when they are either a little more mature or a little more able to understand the rules.  Its important that THEY have fun and that other kids in their group get to have fun too.  It should never about Dad or Mom getting to have an extra game night where the kids are forced to play something they simply are not interested in.

Personally my hope is that both boys will find the RPG hobby and now Warhammer at least a fun side interest if not their main one.  If they consider it something fun they want to do a few times a month or even a few times a quarter then I can feel good about bringing them with me to places like Gen Con.  That is something I've looked forward to as a Dad.

The only parent I think would avoid introducing their kid to the hobby altogether might be someone who plays but feels a certain amount of religious inspired guilt.  This, to me, is patent sillyness of course but I am sure there are parents who worry that introducing their own kids to D&D might start them down the dark road to damnation with the rest of us hooligans.  That makes me feel a little sad for the kids involved more than anything else but there are certainly more things in life than playing a six hour game of D&D.

Well that is it for today's installment.  See you next time and as always - Happy Gaming!!

Ed Kann

1 comment:

  1. 8 years old, with the Moldvay version of the basic rules worked well for all 3 of my boys.

    YMMV, of course.