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I ran a "mini-megagame" for my kids camp and it was a blast!

Iron Sky

Adventurer
Last week I ran my usual June martial arts summer camp. We were scheduled to go play in the park one morning, but got rained out. Fortunately, I'd set a contingency should this happen: a "megagame."

I made a YouTube summary of it, but for those who would rather read: I pitched it to the kids as "like a boardgame, except you're the pieces. You will all be generals moving around trying to conquer territory. We'll play for about an hour and whoever has conquered the most territory at the end OR who has conquered the other tea
m's capital will win. Sound good?"


Martial arts tends to attract introverts, often the nerdy variety (such as myself), so most of them were excited, others went along because kids just do that, and the rest did because everyone else was. There were 15 kids in camp that day, aged 6-12. With an odd number and the oldest kid looking skeptical, I made an on-the-fly modification to what I'd jotted down for the rules: one team would have a king who had no power, but would be the big-picture person who could walk around and suggest where the other kids should be going and aiming for.


I asked for volunteers and got three (the three I expected would). I put the oldest (previously skeptical) one as the sole king on one side, the two younger ones as "dual kings" on the other. Boy did leadership have a huge effect!


Early in the game


I won't dive into the full nitty-gritty of the game, but there were red and white teams, each with wiffle golf balls for armies (we normally use them for bullets and the like in other games). Each general got a d6, 3 armies, to start and could move 1 mat "square" per turn, optionally leaving an army behind to control it. Moving through a square already controlled gave an extra movement.


Objectives were forts, villages, a port, monsters to fight for unknown rewards, and the other team. At castles, forts, and villages, players could attempt to recruit more armies instead. One of my assistant instructors roamed handling the dice rolls for white team, while I did the same for red and handled any combats.


While some kids focused on expanding territory, the focus of both teams was to take the ports and when the first was conquered, I told them about ships and the far island with a giant guarding a powerful artifact. Both teams built their first, turned a general into an admiral, and sent them off towards the island. After a sea battle, red's admiral had to retreat onto a reef (a sai laid in an ocean "square") and lost everything, giving white dominance of the deep sea and the island. This turn eventually led to red's victory.


The serpent driven to white's capitol. Admirals in the far distance heading for the island

With the island in white hands, red's (brilliant) king decided they needed to decisively crush the poorly-defended white capitol before white beat the giant and got the artifact with whatever power it gave. He organized and orchestrated a perfectly timed meeting of three generals adjacent to the white capitol at the same time two ships from the other side of the game world landed on a beachhead at the capitol's rear.


The white kings were both hanging out at the island, excited about the giant and didn't notice the approach and buildup until their capitol was under attack from 5 generals and ~25 armies against their defense of a castle, 2 generals, and <10 armies.


White rushed all their mainland generals to help and had some lucky rolls that let them hold out longer than expected against the red juggernaut, but were on the brink of losing when the two admirals across the game world took out the giant and claimed its artifact, giving them extra dice in combat and also allowing them to fly!


Fighting the giant


They could have swooped in and conquered the completely undefended red capitol, but instead dropped their troops at their capitol, taking the numeric odds from 5:1 to 3:1 against them. Even with the power of the artifact, the odds were too great and they were buried under the red juggernaut.


The game ended up lasting ~2 hours with even the 6 year-olds locked-in the whole time. The only one who got bored was the red king who, after seeing his final plan was in motion, headed off to beat up a Wavemaster for the last half-hour, returning only briefly when white's admirals flew in. He prudently directed a general to protect their capitol against white realizing they could fly there, then returned to his attack on the Wavemaster.


Overall, the game was a great hit! With a few post-game tweaks and improvements it's now my new go-to activity if we get rained out of the pool or park!
 

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