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Soapbox: About the Industry

Simple Gifts for Pre-Gamers

by Sandy Antunes
Dec 09,2005

 

Simple Gifts for Pre-Gamers

by Sandy Antunes

What do you get the young Pre-gamer? 'Tis the time of year to make gift recommendations, but everyone already knows what their RPGer wants. I'm going to focus on RPG-favoring gifts for children ages 2-6. A gift that, while not an RPG, will build RPG-loving habits at an early age and help them develop their burgeoning 'inner RPGer'.

This is, basically, stealth indoctrination to the joy of RPGing. I've found that giving games to my nieces and nephews was less than successful at encouraging them to game. Far too often, parents of such a child think "Oh, a game, I'll toss it to the kid and let them play on their own".

That makes it tough to get a kid into RPGing, because the main path to liking RPGs is first playing in an RPG run by someone else. Also, RPGs require multiple kids. And, RPGs require pulling the kids away from their Playstation 2.

Oh, it's an uphill climb. Too many parents want a game to entertain the kid, out of sight and out of mind. The idea that games are something parents can do with their kids isn't always present. So, instead, we'll make a present that makes the kids want to seek out more.

Oh, and we're going to be cheap about this, because I have too many friends and relatives to buy for. While I'd love to get the best of the fun games that also build proto-RPG skills, I can't afford it.

First among those I would give in a perfect world (infinite cash and parents who play with their kids) would be Apples to Apples Junior. At $15, it's for 1st grade (can read) and up. It teaches the concept that you want to play the players, not the game.

For the younger, not-yet-reading, pre-K set, Moose in the House, at $7, is a great visual card game that introduces young 'uns to 'weasel games', games where the point is to nail the other players. It's fun, it's easy, but it's also got a heck of an endgame strategy to it. A good tactical proving ground, and fun for adults to play with kids or kids to play against each other.

And since everyone should eventually like the Euro 'path' games like Carcassonne, Legend of Landlock ($10) is a great start that works for pre-K and pre-reading. It's a tile-laying game that can be done competitively or cooperatively, or even freeform for the very young. Yet it doesn't bore adults. And unlike the previous two games, it doesn't require a crowd and works for two players.

But, as I said, when gift-giving you can't be sure the parents will take the time to play with the kids. And you can't be sure siblings or friends will play with them. And, not all kids like to read, so 'pick a path' adventures may not yet be in their picture.

So what do you get as a solo activity for a child, that will build them into an eventual roleplaying powerhouse? The answer is simple.

You give them a free dragon, and a castle to destroy. To destroy many times. Oh, and you let them wield scissors and make it-- because _every_ parent will encourage arts and crafts.

Go and buy Vyllage-on-the-Cheep COLOR Buildings Set #1 at $6. Also download the free dragon and free village house.

It's a PDF downloadable, so print a copy of it on stiff paper. Print in color if you have an inkjet or color laser and, face it, who doesn't have a color printer these days? Burn it to a CD to include so the parents can print extra copies for their kiddie.

And-- this is crucial-- print out one building and also the 2 wagons and four horses, and assemble them. Stick them in a shoebox so the kid knows what they just got, and has something neat and touchable to aim for. Toss the papers in a folder, add in a scissors and gluestick if ya wanna be a fancypantsbigbucks.

Now the kid has a great winter project, the parents will happily let the little one alone to assemble... and you're building something for them to create stories. And all kid's stories turn into 'what if', leading them to either RPGing or miniatures combat.

You deserve a reward for your effort. While buying the one item above, you may notice you can then get any and all of the free downloadables RPGNow offers. Go for it! Grab free stuff, print for yourself or to give as gifts!

I may be cheap, but I'm devious. This holiday, you can be, too!

Until next month,
Sandy

p.s. if you really want to have fun, choose every single darn Freebie publishers on RPGNow offer, and click on "burn to a CD" in the cart ($6). That saves you the hassle of click-and-saving dozens of stuff, and means you get a ton of fun free stuff to occupy the next year. Mind you, I think I ticked off James (the RPGNow owner) when I did that last year, but hey, it's all part of the game. TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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All Soapboxes

  • See What Sticks by Sandy Antunes, 06jan06
  • Simple Gifts for Pre-Gamers by Sandy Antunes, 09dec05
  • Col vs Blog by Sandy Antunes, 04nov05
  • Running a First RPG for Kids by Sandy Antunes, 07oct05
  • Making It Pay by Sandy Antunes, 02sep05
  • The Hazards of Non-Combat Gaming by Sandy Antunes, 05aug05
  • Just-in-Time Pre-order Hell by Sandy Antunes, 01jul05
  • Cassandra's Industry Report by Sandy Antunes, 03jun05
  • Fiction or Non-Fiction by Sandy Antunes, 05may05
  • I am not a Storyteller by Sandy Antunes, 08apr05
  • A Better Job by Sandy Antunes, 01apr05
  • Advice For Working Writers by Sandy Antunes, 04mar05
  • Startup Fever by Sandy Antunes, 04feb05
  • Why Blogging is Lame by Sandy Antunes, 07jan05
  • Being a Pro Writer by Sandy Antunes, 10dec04
  • Viral Marketing Invitational by Sandy Antunes, 05nov04
  • The 24 Hour RPG Challenge by Sandy Antunes, 08oct04
  • A Decade of Distilled Advice by Sandy Antunes, 03sep04
  • Go Ahead, Hit Me! by Sandy Antunes, 06aug04
  • Promoting Yourself by Sandy Antunes, 09jul04
  • 10 Hurdles to Selling Your Game by Sandy Antunes, 11jun04
  • Let's Team Up! by Sandy Antunes, 07may04
  • Beyond Role and Pla(t)y(pus) by Sandy Antunes, 08apr04
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  • Paradox Redux by Sandy Antunes, 06feb04
  • Mad Scientists and the Kilgallon Paradox by Sandy Antunes, 09jan04
  • It's Not Your World, It's Mine by Sandy Antunes, 05dec03
  • Murphy's Law for Adventure Writers by Sandy Antunes, 07nov03
  • Eigentesting by Sandy Antunes, 09oct03
  • Atomic by Sandy Antunes, 05sep03
  • Is Writing a Commodity? by Sandy Antunes, 06aug03
  • Designing Amidst the Tides of Gaming History by Sandy Antunes, 08jul03
  • Buy This Book by Sandy Antunes, 05jun03
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  • The Websites That Wouldn't Die by Sandy Antunes, 10apr03
  • The Path to Atrocities by Sandy Antunes, 06mar03
  • Cattle Mutilation: The Game Design by Sandy Antunes, 06feb03
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  • How To Be An Industry Poser, Part 1 by Sandy Antunes, 05dec02
  • all i game with, i learned from kids books by Sandy Antunes, 19nov02
  • TCG: The Total Cost of Gaming by Sandy Antunes, 10oct02
  • Game Publishing & The Law by Sandy Antunes, 06sep02
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants by Sandy Antunes, 01aug02
  • Buying Time by Sandy Antunes, 04jul02
  • April 10, 2002 13 New FAQs
  • March 1, 2002 Give Me A Closet
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  • December 13, 2001 Conflict, Ethics, Winning, and Money
  • November 13, 2001 Secret RPGnet Operations Document Leaked!
  • October 16, 2001 Leadership and D&D
  • September 4, 2001 Leading Industry Site Reports Secret: Sex Sells!
  • August 7, 2001 Any, Anyone Can Be an Internet Success-- Why Aren't You?
  • July 3, 2001 Fine Print, Part U
  • June 5, 2001 Fine Print, Part I
  • May 8, 2001 Pushing Limits
  • May 4, 2001 RPGnet State of the Union special feature
  • April 6, 2001 The Other Magic: Niche Hobbies and Other Markets
  • May 9, 2000 Running a Business as an Old Style D&D Party
  • April 14, 2000 First to Market
  • March 20, 2000 Labor Pains
  • February 15, 2000 One Trick Pony
  • January 6, 2000 Creativity is Bad, Hard to Sell, and Great for Business
  • December 14, 1999 Oranges versus Bananas: Entertainment Costs
  • November 2, 1999 Why Editors Lie
  • October 5, 1999 How to publish a quality game, accept criticism gracefully, and lead a happy life: Pick Any Two
  • September 7, 1999 It Takes a Village (to publish an RPG)
  • August 3, 1999 All Gamer Money Isn't Equal
  • July 6, 1999 Tides of Cash Flow
  • June 1, 1999 Ad-itudes
  • May 4, 1999 Who, What, Give me a Guiness
  • April 6, 1999 The GAMA Trade Show '99
  • March 2, 1999 Roleplaying would have saved Millions
  • February 2, 1999 Games That Won't Suck
  • January 5, 1999 Dangerous Games
  • December 1, 1998 Making Gamers the Old Fashioned Way
  • November 3, 1998 The $1K Company
  • October 1, 1998 So You Want to Start Your Own Company...
  • September 1, 1998 Holy Grails and Marching Morons
  • August 4, 1998 Gamers Must Die!
  • July 7, 1998 Profit versus Prophet
  • June 2, 1998 Acquire! Acquire!
  • May 5, 1998 Power
  • April 21, 1998 The GAMA Trade Show Report, Part 2 (eventually)
  • April 7, 1998 Schroedinger Games, or, the GAMA Report
  • March 3, 1998 Culling the Herd
  • February 3, 1998 Horatio Hornblower's RPG Company
  • January 6, 1998 Double Feature (Us and Them/A Clash of Images)
  • December 2, 1997 "How to Scam Games for Free"
  • November 4, 1997 "Women in Gaming?"
  • October 2, 1997 "Fear of a Gaming Planet" (Welcome to the RPG ghetto?)
  • September 2, 1997 "Rush" (fame and adoration in lieu of pay)
  • August 2, 1997 "For the Money" (convention mating rituals)
  • July 2, 1997 "Good Deeds" (the dearth of evil game companies)
  • June 2, 1997 "Dirty Laundry" (copyright and slander on the net)
  • May 2, 1997 "Communications Breakdown" (company and player schisms)
  • April 2, 1997 "The Quick and the Dead" (dying companies versus new ideas)
  • March 2, 1997 "It's All in the Timing" (on hype and late deliveries, and on genres)
  • February 2, 1997 "Insiders and Outsiders" (who's who and who uses the web)
  • January 2, 1997 "Fits and Starts" (web presences, print runs, live roleplaying)
  • December 2, 1996 "Procastination Season is Over" (delays and new products)
  • November 1, 1996 "Best of Times, Worst of Times" (on rumors, survival, and larps)
  • October 1, 1996 "Post-Con fallout and not that many new games"
  • September 1, 1996 "Our launch, news from GenCon, demos, new LARPS"
  • Our reason for existence

    Other columns at RPGnet

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