Kid-friendly roleplaying game is simple brilliance
Roleplaying, when you get down to it, is all about make-believe. Whether you’re stabbing goblins in a dingy dungeon or uncovering shadowy conspiracies in a neon-tinged future metropolis, imagination is the beating heart of the hobby.
That should make it a perfect activity for parents to share with children. But for the most part, designers and publishers are happy to tailor their products to an older crowd, with many games revelling in complicated rules and violent themes. Even when RPGs do cater for younger players, they tend to assume that they’ve at least reached reading age.
Amazing Tales is different. An introductory roleplaying system with an emphasis on fun and creativity, it’s designed specifically for pre-school and primary-aged kids. Its rules are incredibly light – in fact, they pretty much fit on a single page – and rather than endless stats, tables and modifiers, it comes packed with hints on how to keep children engaged and interested through a game.
Much of this is common sense: keeping sessions from running too long, handing players a degree of creative control and using characters’ failures as an opportunity to introduce interesting twists to the plot rather than as sudden brick walls. It’s the kind of advice that could equally apply to grown-up roleplaying. What’s really helpful, though, are the pages that deal specifically with GMing for kids: providing them with interesting questions, keeping things from becoming too scary or stressful, and harnessing the energy, enthusiasm and imaginative quirkiness they bring to the table.
Other than this, the bulk of the book is made up of pre-made settings for adventures, but it’s far more interesting to work with your kids to create one of your own. By adult standards, Amazing Tales may seem rather light on actual content. But as a new twist on storytime and a way to join your children in creative play, it’s priceless.
PLAY IT? – YES
Designer: Martin Lloyd
Artist: Iris Maertens
Time: 20-40 mins
This review originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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