Gaming At The Kid's Table With The Pip System
  • Gaming At The Kid's Table With The Pip System


    Here at EN World, Iím looking 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? The Pip System Corebook is a multi-genre RPG designed for adults, yet streamlined enough for children. From ENnie Award-winning creator, Eloy Lasanta, this rulebook features 143 pages of genre creation, character creation, skills, enemies, and guidelines for how to present this game to both adults and kids.


    The Pip System offers easy to understand rules with options to simplify them even further for your audience, yet itís designed to work in a variety of genres. Each player selects an archetype that gives their character their starting skills, special ability, a hindrance, base Physical Health (PH), and Mental Health (MH). The game uses two damage counts to determine the characterís health. You use build points to buy more skills as well as qualities (specializations and powers). Near the end of the character creation chapter are quick reference charts and example characters that help to speed up the process. For accessories, armor has an Armor Rating (AR) that increases the number of black dice that act as your characterís defense against being hit. Weapons have Weapon Ratings (WR) that add to your white dice and special properties. Vehicles and their armor and weapons are addressed as well.

    But what are these references to black and white dice? Thatís the Pip Systemís mechanic Ė rolling against yourself. Your white dice pool represents your attempt to attack or perform a skill check, while your black dice pool represents your opponentís defense against the attack or the chance youíll fail at a challenging task. You roll both dice pools simultaneously then compare them to see which had more successes (fours and higher) and that determines the result.

    Dice pools for kids. Youíre going to need 10d6 of one color of dice and another 10d6 of another color of dice. You *might* be rolling up to 20d6 some rounds and each player will need that number of dice. This system cries out for community dice (mentioned in the book) and a dice tower and, as EN Worldís Jeff Duncan discussed with me, twenty dice is a lot for an eight-year-old to hold all at once (small hands).
    Does the Pip System win the kids' table? Yes. At the end of the book, thereís a modified ruleset that reduces the system components and math to make the game move faster. Using this, the Pip System can scale with its audience. Itís customizable in every way from rules to setting and allows the players to enjoy a game theyíre comfortable with.

    Would the Pip System work at the adults' table? Yes. The system is easy but not so simplified that players will become bored due to a lack of variation. The Pip System is an outstanding game for young, and, new, and experienced players to role-play in.
    Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links.
    Comments 9 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, Hero Kids, Little Heroes, and Dagger

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher and have an all-ages RPG that you'd like to have reviewed, please contact me here.
    1. J.L. Duncan's Avatar
      J.L. Duncan -
      Hey Egg,

      I'm curious, with the modified (simpler) system, are players splitting the difference between the pools? Or perhaps rolling less dice and just tallying results such as: 1-3 as unsuccessful; 4-6 as a success? I haven't had the time to give Eloy's pip system a look, but I did like the original Mermaid Adventures.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by J.L. Duncan View Post
      Hey Egg,

      I'm curious, with the modified (simpler) system, are players splitting the difference between the pools? Or perhaps rolling less dice and just tallying results such as: 1-3 as unsuccessful; 4-6 as a success? I haven't had the time to give Eloy's pip system a look, but I did like the original Mermaid Adventures.
      RPG's THE Jeff Duncan -

      Excellent question! The simplified system has two major changes:

      1) Replace the skills system with straight attributes.
      2) Qualities are no longer purchased using Build Points, instead each player should write down the qualities that they want and add +1 white d6 for each one that applies.

      Simple and well thought out streamlines for a streamlined system.

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Also, Eloy Lasanta posted this review and shared this thought on large handfuls of dice:

      "As for the number of dice. I usually use 8mm dice at my table for the game. Makes it easy to grab a lot at one time even for small hands. "

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      @Eloy Lasanta. Now all we need is a PIP version of Apocalypse Prevention Inc. I love API!!!
    1. Xaelvaen's Avatar
      Xaelvaen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Egg Embry View Post
      Interested in reading other EN World reviews of all-ages games? Check out:
      The FirstFable RPG, Monster Slayers,
      Mouse Tails, Little Wizards, Hero Kids, Little Heroes, and Dagger

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're a publisher and have an all-ages RPG that you'd like to have reviewed, please contact me here.
      Not sure if you'd qualify it as 'All-Ages', but I'll mention it - No Thank you, Evil! While it is geared toward simplicity and kids, it's obviously meant to be played with the corresponding adults. Just thought I'd present it since I didn't see it in your list =)
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      Quote Originally Posted by Xaelvaen View Post
      Not sure if you'd qualify it as 'All-Ages', but I'll mention it - No Thank you, Evil! While it is geared toward simplicity and kids, it's obviously meant to be played with the corresponding adults. Just thought I'd present it since I didn't see it in your list =)

      I guess you can tone it either way. Thanks though.
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Xaelvaen View Post
      Not sure if you'd qualify it as 'All-Ages', but I'll mention it - No Thank you, Evil! While it is geared toward simplicity and kids, it's obviously meant to be played with the corresponding adults. Just thought I'd present it since I didn't see it in your list =)
      Xaelvaen and vpuigdoller -

      Excellent suggestion! No Thank You, Evil! is on my list. I stopped at Monte Cook Games' booth at Gen Con and saw the kids eating that game up!!! It was going over well and I really want to try it out. :-)

      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      No Thank You Evil is great my nephew loves it!
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