Gaming At The Kids Table With Amazing Tales
  • Gaming At The Kids Table With Amazing Tales

    Here at EN World, I'm 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? Amazing Tales is "a game for children who love adventures". Martin Lloyd's RPG is designed for a GM and one or two young players, and includes the rules, GM tips for young gamers, four settings with adventure hooks, and more.

    This game targets the younger side of "youth" with engaging yet simple mechanics. The rules for the game are summarized on a single page and then elaborated on throughout the book. Points in Amazing Tales' favor as more RPGs could take this cue and lead with an overview of the rules before the deeper discussions of the details. For the system, each character has a name, appearance (including items or companions), background, four skills, and that's it; no AC, no HP, and no STR. The four skills – each unique and created by the player and GM – get a die between d6 and d12 to represent how proficient the character is in those skills. Here are some example skills from the book:

    • Being brave
    • Being friendly
    • Doing magic
    • Talking to animals
    • Flying quickly
    • Fighting monsters
    • Finding hidden things

    They're broad categories and to succeed at one the player chooses the appropriate die then needs to roll over a static number. The streamlined system is matched to a constant GM mandate – every encounter should be a string of questions to the player(s). Have the player describe what they do and allow them to narrate the results of their actions. While the GM is the ultimate arbitrator, this calls for more player input than some RPGs. It also puts more of the workload on young shoulders (and the book has suggestions to help with that workload). There are discussions about fights but no discussions about death (a topic that is too weighty for their target audience). There's encouragement for the GM to always say yes to whatever direction the player is taking the story. While the game encourages you and your player to make up the setting, the book offers four great generic options to test out in case you don't want to invest the time. Using these, you can jumpstart their very first adventure.

    • Tales from the Deep Dark Wood
    • Tales from Magical Kingdoms Long Ago
    • Adventures on the Pirate Seas
    • Adventures Among the Stars

    To bring the setting to life, the book includes some pieces of art that are strikingly well-rendered and appropriate for this project's intended audience. Iris Maertens' work is youthful, kinetic, cartoony, and wondrous.

    Does Amazing Tales win the kids' table? Yes, provided there are only one or two players. With larger groups, you'd need to add some initative mechanics or you run the risk of over-focusing on a single player. But the lack of scale is the beauty of this game, it's designed for fewer players so one player can get the full experience. Amazing Tales is the RPG training wheels that answers the question, "What's the youngest age you can start role-playing?"

    Would Amazing Tales work at the adults' table? No. That's not a harsh no; instead, this is a no because this game is not intended for adults – not that many of the games I review are – this is really a system designed to let four year olds game. Because of that, it's perfect for its target audience and a great first time RPG.

    contributed by Egg Embry
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. nitsua60's Avatar
      nitsua60 -
      I'm so glad you spotted this one and reviewed it--I've played it a bunch with my kids (ranging from 4 to 9) and they love it endlessly. I'll add that it's easy enough to run that I play it with the kids while driving--having them roll into a cupholder.

      I do disagree with the limit to two kids--I've had no trouble with three and even four children in a party.
    1. Brian Fitzgerald1's Avatar
      Brian Fitzgerald1 -
      That’s so good to hear. I bought this to play with my niece and nephew this summer so haven’t given it a spin yet. But I love the quality of the book and the illustrations are fun and beautiful and full of life. Can’t wait to play!!!!
    1. FCWesel's Avatar
      FCWesel -
      Too bad it's not available for retail stores.
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