DEPARTMENTS

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Books & RPG For The Youngsters

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that my oldest daughter Anna has a fondness for the "Warriors" series of book by Erin Hunter. If you are not familiar with this series, it is about tribes of feral, non-anthropomorphic cats trying to survive in a world of man. But, this is more than a simple naturalists tale.

I have not read the books myself, but Anna has told me quite a bit. Listening to her tell me the tales of her favorites characters' trial and tribulations has made me more than simply acquainted with the world of Warriors. These cats have rituals, prophecies and political and emotional conflicts that make them interesting and deep characters. Within the stories that span three series of books with a forth on its way, characters grow, some die, and the plot thickens. All in all these are a great series of adventure books, especially if you have children who perhaps are not sold on trolls, gnomes, hobbits, etc.

In an interesting move, the publishers of the books have also decided to make an RPG for the series, a game they refer to as an "Adventure Game" This is free for download on the official site for the game. They also have a map for the main setting, character sheet, an introductory "mission" and a handy quick start guide.


This game is a pretty solid introductory set of gaming rules. Character generation is simple and straight forward and game play is a task resolution system that manages to be functional and diceless. Characters have bonus points that can be spent to boost their chances to resolve tasks. As nice and simple as the system is, I think it is the language and care that is used to convey the concepts of RPGs to the young readers that makes this game outstanding.

Throughout the text of the rules there are sections that go to great lengths to explain concepts of fair play and to instill a casual and fun attitude toward gaming. They cover how to run a game, how to play, how to settle disputes at the table. They even have a section covering the dynamics of player versus GM and how it's okay to just want to be one or the other or to rotate who runs the game. In fact, the game assumes that every memeber of the group will at one time want to tell their own Warriors story and discusses what to do with your character when you are running the game.

The Warriors books and its associated RPG are a great package to introduce to your adventure-minded youngsters. My ten-year old loves the books and has rewad them over and over. The RPG is a great primer and actually a fun game to play and can serve as a wonderful transition into the world of RPGs without it having to be "your games". I printed out a copy of the game and put it in a binder, handed it to my daughter and told her to tell me when we were playing. It made her day and now she has several stories ready for when a little time presents itself.

Give it a look and enjoy,

-Eli

7 comments:

  1. Without actually having looked (what with me being at work and all), the task resolution sounds very similar to the Marvel Universe RPG that came out a few years back.

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  2. Interesting!! At Historicon last year, the HAWKS (IIRC) ran two miniatures games of Warriors based on Blood & Swash. I got the stats (as my daughter LOVES these books) but never got around to tracking down appropriate figures. I may have to try this game with her.

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  3. Mik,

    My daughter bought a set of cats from those "Tube o' Animals" sets you see in the craft and educational toy stores.

    Gametyme,

    I tracked down the designer's name once but it escapes me at the moment.

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  4. Actually, I note now that it's authored by noted RPG personality Stan!.

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  5. And hey! I'm not Mik! Mik is Little Gyro. ;-) ;-) ;-)

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  6. Sorry, you two have similar Avatars and I got confused by the pic :)

    BTW, I only respond so well to being shamed in podcasts :)

    -Eli

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  7. Similar?!? Psh!! I'm the angrily righteous GM! He's just the dopey player. ;-)

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