Gaming At The Kids' Table With Hero Kids
  • Gaming At The Kids' Table With Hero Kids



    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? Hero Kids core rules and the Basement O Rats adventure is a tabletop role-playing game for 4 to 10 year olds. The core book provides rules for GM’ing younger audiences, combat, skill tests, character creation, monster compendium, and character tokens for $5.99 (PDF).

    Hero Kids is a kid-level intro to combat-centric sword and sorcery RPG. The book is deftly written allowing the rules to flow. Hero Kids understands that, within its target audience, there is a range of ability. To accommodate that, it suggests three role-playing options to level with the skills of the players:

    • The skirmish is a quick battle that focuses on the basic combat rules
    • The delve is an adventure with a more complex objective and is a good place to explore advanced combat rules
    • An exploration offers the fullness of role-playing in a campaign. With increased opportunity for role-playing, it introduces Ability Tests as well as Inventory and Skills


    Hero Kids utilizes pools of d6s, miniatures, and maps since all distances are measured in squares. Characters have four abilities – Melee (Strength), Ranged (Dexterity), Magic (Intelligence), and Armor. Each stat has zero to three d6s in its dice pool. At its easiest level, Hero Kids focuses on combat, rolling the appropriate pool against the opponent’s roll. The highest single die rolled stands for each side. Characters have three health levels – KO, Hurt, and Bruised – a Normal Attack, a Special Action, and a Bonus Ability. For maturing players, the addition of Ability Tests and Inventory/Skills gives them more options.

    Basement O Rats is an introductory Hero Kids adventure with a dream-logic setup. The kids and their parents are at the town’s tavern when the owner's son, Roger, is carried off by rats. The rest deserves quotation:

    "There’s a moment of silence as everyone looks to you. Your parents encourage you.
    'I hope you’re ready for your first adventure.'"

    That is the perfect wording for the audience. It grants the kids permission to make their own decisions. Basement O Rats continues to display well-considered decisions including the end reward [SPOILERS]: "'I reckon you deserve an extra serve of ice-cream for at least a whole week!'"

    Does Hero Kids win the kids' table? Yes. It’s worth noting that the characters live in a world of violence and violence is ingrained in the mechanics of this game. Some parents will support its D&D-ness while others may want a less aggressive option.

    Would Hero Kids work at the adults' table? More yes than no. It has some crunch and it offers an interesting world where kids do the heavy lifting. Overall, Hero Kids has the right level of mechanics for all-ages at the gaming table.

    Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Interested in reading other EN World reviews of all-ages games? Check out:

      The FirstFable RPG
      Monster Slayers
      Mouse Tails

      Little Wizards

      Hope to see you at Gen Con 50!

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. JeffB's Avatar
      JeffB -
      Who knew Caillou would turn out to be a pyromancer?

      I've looked this game over before. Seems pretty solid.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
      Who knew Caillou would turn out to be a pyromancer?

      I've looked this game over before. Seems pretty solid.
      I think Caillou always fit the profile of a pyromancer! :P

      I feel that Hero Kids is rock solid.

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. Joshua Wardrop's Avatar
      Joshua Wardrop -
      If you guys aren't aware, Arcknight makes a Flat Plastic Miniatures set of hero kids minis as well!


      https://arcknight.squarespace.com/shop/fpm-hero-kids


    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Wardrop View Post
      If you guys aren't aware, Arcknight makes a Flat Plastic Miniatures set of hero kids minis as well!


      https://arcknight.squarespace.com/shop/fpm-hero-kids


      Joshua Wardrop-
      Those look cool! I think they'd had an extra layer of fun to the kids' table! :-)


      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. fjw70's Avatar
      fjw70 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Joshua Wardrop-
      Those look cool! I think they'd had an extra layer of fun to the kids' table! :-)


      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Agreed
    1. Saxon1974's Avatar
      Saxon1974 -
      Fun system. I am running this for my 6 and 4 year olds. They keep asking to play so must be a hit with them. They are on a quest for Pokemon right now

      Only thing I wish is that it had a level progression system.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saxon1974 View Post
      Fun system. I am running this for my 6 and 4 year olds. They keep asking to play so must be a hit with them. They are on a quest for Pokemon right now

      Only thing I wish is that it had a level progression system.
      Saxon1974-

      That is awesome! How many Pokemon have they caught so far? :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. paul1's Avatar
      paul1 -
      I have run this with my kids (5 and 6) and they loved it! It is a great introductory system for young kids. Combat is like D&D, but simplified quite a bit. There are many additional adventures to get at drivethroughrpg
    1. Saxon1974's Avatar
      Saxon1974 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Saxon1974-

      That is awesome! How many Pokemon have they caught so far? :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      Ha, so far about 9. I figured I had to use rewards they would like. I first used chocate coins (and still do a bit) but then crafted a story that all the pokemons had gone missing from the town so they had to go and find them. Since that, their excitement is through the roof; they ask
      me to play constantly.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saxon1974 View Post
      Ha, so far about 9. I figured I had to use rewards they would like. I first used chocate coins (and still do a bit) but then crafted a story that all the pokemons had gone missing from the town so they had to go and find them. Since that, their excitement is through the roof; they ask
      me to play constantly.
      Saxon1974 -

      That's awesome! My excitement would be through the roof for chocolate coins! I'd treat them like Pokémon, gotta catch'em all!

      Seriously, I think your idea is perfect! You've engaged the kids in the story and the system. My hat's off to you! :-)

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
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