Gaming At The Kids Table With Little Wizards
  • Gaming At The Kids Table With Little Wizards



    Here at EN World, I’m continuing to look at all-ages tabletop role-playing games, board games, and card games. Do they engage the players at the kids' gaming table? Would they cut it at the adults' table? Are they genuinely fun for every age? Little Wizards is the English version of Contes Ensorcelés, which is based on P'tites sorcières. Antoine Bauza created the French originals while Amanda Valentine is responsible for co-translations and some modifications to Antoine’s work. Without a command of French to verify, Little Wizards is akin to the third edition of this game. Targeting ages 6 to 10, the game puts each player into two roles: a lil' mage and a familiar. For $14.95 PDF or $24.95 print, the 128-page rulebook covers character creation, game mechanics, magic, GMing for a young audience, and three adventures.

    Character creation. Every character is a trained Mage or born Sorceress. There is a mechanical difference. Sorcerers know Alchemy as well as Divination while Mages know Conjuring and Shapechanging. Both groups know Spellcasting and Broom Riding presenting a range of magical options. Characters have three traits – Body, Heart, and Brains – ranked from Good (+0) to Better (+1) to Best (+2). The trait names are perfect for the GM to ask kids what power level to associate with each stat.

    After their main character, each player develops a familiar. Here's where it gets interesting, the familiar will not be run by the creator. Instead, it will be played by the child to their right. This encourages each player to broaden their role-playing horizons by moving between characters.

    The system. As you would expect for the audience, the game's mechanics are both simple and fast. 2d6 + Trait + Modifiers vs. a target number. The difficulty levels are Very Easy (5), Easy (6), Average (7), Hard (8), Very Hard (9), and Near Impossible (10). Speaking broadly of general RPG mechanics, the best-selling games are combat systems with talking between rolls. Little Wizards does not have a crunchy combat system or hit points. With their young target audience in mind, deemphasizing combat is the right decision. It allows the players to focus on stories instead of dungeon crawls. As GMs develop adventures for this system, it's important to move away from action-adventures and embrace adventure-comedies.

    Does Little Wizards win the kids' table? Yes. It's a power fantasy wrapped up in a fantastic world where the characters are encouraged to help others instead of helping themselves. It has the added bonus of letting each player be a human and an animal so there's more to do and more to keep the children engaged.

    Would Little Wizards work at the adults' table? No. The mechanics are dull and the absence of the original tool of RPGs, violence, is likely to be lamented. Ideally, that shouldn't be an issue, but it will turn off a swath of gamers. This RPG is a perfect introduction for young children to test out their role-playing skills in a safe, enjoyable setting before advancing to crunchier games.
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      This is excellent. Just what I need for my 6yo girl. We have done a little "gaming" with a d6 and improv, but this adds a little structure but no so much. And frankly, I have hard time getting into the mind set of a 6 yo girl in this day and age. When I was 6, I liked drastically different things. My son at that age loved many of the same type of things as I did. At 17 now, he still does. This should help with my daughter.

      For those interested ,there is a sizeable preview pdf at the link posted that goes over the basic rules, and another pdf of the character sheet.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      This is excellent. Just what I need for my 6yo girl. We have done a little "gaming" with a d6 and improv, but this adds a little structure but no so much. And frankly, I have hard time getting into the mind set of a 6 yo girl in this day and age. When I was 6, I liked drastically different things. My son at that age loved many of the same type of things as I did. At 17 now, he still does. This should help with my daughter.

      For those interested ,there is a sizeable preview pdf at the link posted that goes over the basic rules, and another pdf of the character sheet.
      JeffB-

      I would love to hear how the game goes with your daughter. I hope it's a winner and she really enjoys it!

      Thanks

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table reviews of The FirstFable RPG, Monster Slayers,and Mouse Tails
    1. S'mon -
      "With their young target audience in mind, deemphasizing combat is the right decision. It allows the players to focus on stories instead of dungeon crawls"

      I feel my 6 year old son (now 10) would have strongly disagreed... Sure he loves the social roleplay, but he's rarely happier than when Fireballing a horde of Orcs.

      Edit: It does sound good for young girls if they're less into killing things than most boys
      are, though.
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      JeffB-

      I would love to hear how the game goes with your daughter. I hope it's a winner and she really enjoys it!

      Thanks

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table reviews of The FirstFable RPG, Monster Slayers,and Mouse Tails
      Roger.
      WilCo.

    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
      "With their young target audience in mind, deemphasizing combat is the right decision. It allows the players to focus on stories instead of dungeon crawls"

      I feel my 6 year old son (now 10) would have strongly disagreed... Sure he loves the social roleplay, but he's rarely happier than when Fireballing a horde of Orcs.

      Edit: It does sound good for young girls if they're less into killing things than most boys
      are, though.
      S'mon-

      I have to agree with your son, I am rarely happier than when fireballing a horde of anything. Fireballs and hordes, two tastes that taste like... burnt flesh together...

      Thanks

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table reviews of The FirstFable RPG, Monster Slayers,and Mouse Tails
    1. Bill Winski's Avatar
      Bill Winski -
      My new Rap Name: "Lil' Mage"...
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bill Winski View Post
      My new Rap Name: "Lil' Mage"...
      Lil' Mage-

      Big fan of your first album, 'From the Dungeons to the Dragons!' That's the jam! And your single, 'Don't Crit on Me!' Off. The. Chain.

      Thanks

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      EN World Gaming at the Kids’ Table reviews of The FirstFable RPG, Monster Slayers,and Mouse Tails
    1. Over the Hill Gamer's Avatar
      Over the Hill Gamer -
      As a child in the 70s, I can recall recoiling from anything that smacked of being "just for kids." I wanted to play cool stuff, not little kid stuff. That was one of the reasons I was attracted to D&D. It definitely wasn't created for kids, but kids ate it up for just that reason.
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