Opinions sought: Much younger players?

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Tewligan said:
Hm - I seem to be in the minority here, since I wouldn't take players that young into my group, but not due to any possible impropriety. I prefer to game with friends, or at least people with whom I have some things in common. At 36, I'm just not going to have much common ground with a 16-year-old, and I'm not inclined to give up my leisure time to hang out with them, honestly. I do salute people who are bringing fresh blood into the hobby, but I'm not going to be one of those people, unless the "fresh blood" consists of people who aren't young enough to be my children.
That's more or less the point I was trying to make some posts ago... besides any legal concerns the main issue is whether it would be enjoyable to play with two kids for you and your group.
 

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Jeysie

First Post
My group games in IRC, so age has never been a factor... we have a couple players in their early thirties, and current and past players in their late teens. I find that the teens tend to be just as mature as the rest of us (not that that's necessarily a hard bar to reach...), so it's not a factor either way.

I know when I was a teenager I sometimes hung out as friends with folks older than I was in non-public places... don't see how it's a problem from a social or legal standpoint if the teen's personality meshes with yours and you deal with any overprotective parents. I find that teens, and kids in general, tend to be a lot smarter and "aware" than adults give them credit for.

Peace & Luv, Liz
 

Dremmen

First Post
I'll share my own experience on this topic - I'm not sure if there is a lesson to be learned from it, but hopefully you can glean something of value - or just be amused, whichever.

Going on seven years ago now I moved from Raleigh (a big town, at least by NC standards) to Siler City ( if this was DnD, it would be a hamlet) to be able to live on a house with greater than 1/3 acre of land (10, to be exact). Among the myriad of complications this produced was the lack of a gamer base. It took me nearly a year but finally I was able to organize games at a local book store. The gamers I found were all juniors in high school at the time - I set a limit of 15 years old - no real basis for it, but anything higher and I slashed heavily into the gamer base...these were sad days.

There were exceptions - a brother and sister, one 14, one 13, really wanted to play. They showed maturity (something that is not always directly correlated with age) so I let them play. All this was very new to me since I normally play with peers of my own age. As it turned out, it was a learning experience, for all of us. I had to often reign in the players - they had a boundless well of energy that would sometimes drive them to boredom or distraction or ramblings. Not only that, as it has been pointed out, kids that age can be just as crude as any adult, without the filters, so since we were in a public book store I had to check them on that. However, because it was public ( I wasn't about to invite a new group, all strangers, to my house, at least not at first), I did not bother with contacting individual parents. THe store owner was chaparone enough for me.

So this initial experience went fine after some fine tuning by the DM (yours truly) to adjust for their playing style. And then one day the store owner said he had a young kid that wanted to join. I asked how young and his reply was that he wasn't sure, but he was very mature for his age. Hind sight is a devil of a thing...

I left the store owner with a vague - "I'd like to meet this kid sometime, and maybe we can squeeze him in." What I got was a boy showing up at my next gaming session with books and dice and a character. A boy that looked like he was 7.

SO, it ended up the boy wasn't 7 - he was 10, going on 11 as he told me a few times. He was a small kid, and very articulate, but still..he was a little boy. His mom worked at a nail salon next door, and the boy had nothing to do the whole day. Apparently the book store owner had said it was fine for him to join so...for better or worse, I let him in the game.

I'm not sure if all 10/11 year olds are like this, or if it was this kid in particular, but he seemed to have a taciturn case of ADD, where at times he'd sit quietly listening, and keep up with the group, and at times he'd be bouncing (literally) on his chair, or standing on it, or rolling on the ground..sigh... Don't get me wrong though, it wasn't constantly like that. Although the other players shut him out early on, dragging him around in the game like a mule, barely paying him any mind at all, I split my time evenly between all the players. Quickly I realized that for every 4 or 5 hairbrained schemes that the boy had, he had 1 really really good idea that would have spared the party much grief...if they only listened.

It all came to a head during a nonencounter. The party was traveling by wagon from point A to point B, an activity that would have not normally warranted any RPing. The young boy was playing a wizard with a nonstandard assortment of spells. He decided to sneak off from the wagon, and started to use glamors to imitate the sounds and voices of orcs in the woods, whilst exclaiming that, alas, there were orcs in these woods ready to attack. THe rest of the players groaned and sighed and told the player to get back..but I gently reminded them that, in game, they heard the wizard exclaiming about orcs, and then actually heard said orcs. After a number of rounds, and a good bit of the entire gaming session where the party earned no experience or gold ( and the DM had some truly good chuckles ), the wizard's character found himself tied up, in the back of the wagon.'

All good fun right? Well...then it got a shade darker. My wife was in the game, and she was playing a barbarian. She decided that it was proper for a frustrated barbarian to not leave it at that and I couldn't well argue. So she smacked the wizard across the face and told him to not do that again.

OK, well, that was that.

Until the rest of the party decided that that seemed like a good idea. There was noone that was lawful good in the group to put a stop to things so...to my chargrin, the party lined up like a scene from Airplane (if you get this, you are >30) and took turns administering subdual damage to the boy's characater while the poor boy squirmed in his chair and made some futile escape artist rolls. And if I wasn't feeling bad enough about the whole thing, the last player steps up - he was playing a minotaur. His smack was enough to KO him from subdual damage even before rolling the dice.

It was a beating, and the last time I was going to run anything that crossed the line between "gaming" and "babysitting". Don't know if that was any help at all since 16 is a far cry from 10 going on 11, but there ya go..
 

Glyfair

Explorer
Tewligan said:
I prefer to game with friends, or at least people with whom I have some things in common.

I've found that in any players that have expressed interest in a roleplaying game I've been involved in typically shared with me an interest in roleplaying, gaming and usually whatever genre the game is set in. Maybe your experience is different.

Now, there often are play style differences. However, I tend to find that is more often an issue with older gamers than younger players. Often younger players don't have a set gaming style, or soon adjust to the preferred gaming style of the group. Older players tend to be a bit more set in their ways.
 

Dread October

First Post
Glyfair said:
I've found that in any players that have expressed interest in a roleplaying game I've been involved in typically shared with me an interest in roleplaying, gaming and usually whatever genre the game is set in. Maybe your experience is different.

Now, there often are play style differences. However, I tend to find that is more often an issue with older gamers than younger players. Often younger players don't have a set gaming style, or soon adjust to the preferred gaming style of the group. Older players tend to be a bit more set in their ways.

Yeah, I game with a group of adults now and no matter the size of the group, we don't all share the same things in common. The only thing we ALL like is the hobby. There may be some crossover in a few other places like comics, some types of music or movies but not always a ton.

It turned out that with the teenagers, when they were curious about books or comics, they were coming fresh to the works of Jack Vance or Alan Moore's Watchmen.

They didn't have to be there when the stuff was published in order to get into it.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Dremmen said:
All good fun right? Well...then it got a shade darker. My wife was in the game, and she was playing a barbarian. She decided that it was proper for a frustrated barbarian to not leave it at that and I couldn't well argue. So she smacked the wizard across the face and told him to not do that again.

Lesson to be learned: Don't let your wife play D&D with young kids.

I guess this highlights a certain issue to be cautious about. Just because you, as DM, move the game to age-friendly territory, not all of your players may do so. Sometimes they'll forget, sometimes they'll be obstinate. I suppose it's something that has to be considered.

In similar situations, you might consider just narrating what happens rather than play it out. It can soften the blow and keep the humiliation from being drawn out. I suspect the 10 year old would have been less squirmy if you just said, based on everyone's actions, "Everybody lines up and punches or slaps you, some calling you a jerk, others just giving you a dirty look, as they chastise you for playing such a prank. Your body slumps to the floor of the wagon, nose-bloodied. You come to a few minutes later with a pounding headache and a couple black eyes but no permanent harm has been done, except possibly to your pride."
 

Ourph

First Post
I've gamed with a number of teenagers and pre-teens since 2000 and the results have been mixed. Several younger players (10-12 years old) have been excellent additions to the group and one player who started with us at 12 remains with us today (he's now 19) as a core group member. There have been minor difficulties with other young players of the same age, most of whom eventually left our group to game with friends of their own age after gaining some experience with us.

Older teens that I've gamed with have, for the most part, been excellent players. The fact is, I've had much better experiences incorporating new people in the 15-19 range into the group than I have people in the 30+ range.

It sounds like the kids described in the OP were polite, well-behaved and responsible. If the mother says it's OK, I would definitely let them join a game if I were in the OP's position unless the rest of the group strongly objected. I'm not sure what's up with the GF thinking this will somehow be viewed as inappropriate. It seems to me that gaming shouldn't really be different in this regard than any other hobby. I've fished, hunted, played softball and put on local theatre productions with people half my age before and no one has seen anything inappropriate about the mix of ages in those activities (except maybe the softball, where people felt sorry for us old farts playing against a bunch of teenagers ;) ). I'm not sure why gaming would somehow be different unless the person objecting already has some negative opinions about gaming in the first place, in which case I don't think their opinion should necessarily count.
 

Jack7

First Post
I don't see where Jeff said that D&D was the ONLY thing he did....


Simple deduction. Saying he played every weekend, involved in multiple games through each day of the weekend, then answering my reply by saying that the game was golf for him and his buddies led me to conclude (an imperfect conclusion given lack of direct supplementary data) that it was his primary if not singular recreational activity, or that given the situation with his girlfriend that it was his most time-consuming activity.

I also deduced from the fact that his girlfriend did not appear to like gaming and had furthermore questioned him (on her own volition) on the appearance of the girl that she considered the game, either consciously or sub-consciously, a time consuming and possibly slightly distracting activity which was time that could be better spent in her company. Think about it this way, if the game were not the likely most important and time consuming recreational activity then the thread would have never been posted, the time spent never mentioned, or the girlfriend mentioned. The posting about these matters speaks to behavior, and words as direct verification of anything are not necessary, because it is behavior being expressed and described. Behavior expresses true intent, words can either clarify or obscure behavior, but when words are contrasted against behavior always assume behavior to be the more immediate and trustworthy portrait of intention and objective. That might not be true if someone is working specifically to modify their behavior to mask a secondary or covert intention, but in this particular case I think that an unlikely possibility.

I'm not making value judgments on any of these matters (indeed I don't think he's done anything wrong, just personally individualistic to taste and interest) based on these deductions, I know only what I read in the thread and furthermore I read nothing but Jeff's view of the matter(s) but given the clues it is a perfectly logical, if necessarily incomplete deduction to make given no other background. I am merely describing how I arrived at that conclusion.

As I said different people are different and some people like consistency in the activities, some like variety, but all evidence was, given the information available, that Jeff's primary, time consuming recreational activity is the game.

Then again this is further supported by the very idea that he spends enough time on the game to post on a website dedicated to the game about a personal game situation. Therefore this fact alone is likely verification of my assumptions.

Anyway I can see both his point of view regarding how much time he consumes at the activity, given his expressed proclivities, and I can understand his girlfriend's suspicions about how much time he spends engaged at the game. That's for them to work out, but it's not hard to see given the clues in the post that much time is consumed at the activity. For good, or ill, or maybe both.

Lastly, none of that directly relates to his question and I didn't want to get off track concerning the real purpose of the thread, and as I said I'm not drawing any value conclusions, but it might be interesting for him to think about in an objective fashion.
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
"Um, I'm standing right here. Right exactly here."

Yes, gaming is my primary -- but not only -- recreational activity and the means by which I spend about eight to twelve hours a week with my closest friends. Objectively speaking, as much as possible, that doesn't seem excessive to me.

So ... how about that local sports team?
 

KingCrab

First Post
I knew someone in his 50's that played a D&D game with mostly children (ages 12-14). He was accused (by a cop) of being a molester. The child testified that they were only playing D&D. The parents backed up the story and said it was okay that their kind was playing D&D with him. The guy was innocent (I knew him because I played with him when I was young as well.) He was found innocent. But it cost him a lot of money for lawyers and being in that situation was horribly frightening for him. I would NEVER want to risk that.

However, that was one older man playing a game with all pretty young kids. What you're talking about is a different story. I'd just make sure I wasn't saying or doing anything too inappropriate at the gaming table. I don't see that same thing happening to you.
 

Hussar

Legend
Jeff - just to echo a common sentiment here - I think you acted entirely appropriately. Well done you. You approached the parents and got their ok which is incredibly excellent. kudos.
 

Harmon

First Post
Hussar said:
Jeff - just to echo a common sentiment here - I think you acted entirely appropriately. Well done you. You approached the parents and got their ok which is incredibly excellent. kudos.

Well stated by so many. :D

My one suggestion leave the door open for the parents to come in and watch. Otherwise <thumbs up> you are doing a great job. :D
 

Tewligan

First Post
Glyfair said:
I've found that in any players that have expressed interest in a roleplaying game I've been involved in typically shared with me an interest in roleplaying, gaming and usually whatever genre the game is set in. Maybe your experience is different.

Now, there often are play style differences. However, I tend to find that is more often an issue with older gamers than younger players. Often younger players don't have a set gaming style, or soon adjust to the preferred gaming style of the group. Older players tend to be a bit more set in their ways.
Well yeah, sure there's going to at least THAT one common interest between me and a 13-year-old if he also wants to sit at a table and pretend to kill orcs. That's so obvious that it's not even really noteworthy. It's not just a matter of just liking the same game, though. That 13-year-old certainly won't have anything like the same frame of reference as I do when talking about non-game things. Your experience may be different, but gaming for me is a social activity - in addition to rolling the dice, I also like to chat with the people I'm at the table with. The nice new restaurant my girlfriend and I went to, something that happened at work, everyone meeting for drinks on a non-game night, whatever - conversational topics that someone so far removed from my age group either can't relate to or isn't able to participate in. I have nothing against younger players, I'm just not especially interested in spending my valuable free time with someone with which I have no connection beyond happening to be in the same adventuring party.
 

Jack7

First Post
"Um, I'm standing right here. Right exactly here."

Made me laugh. The way you said that. I wasn't speaking to you though, but to the question, or implication directed at my conclusion, or how I arrived at it. That's why I spoke about you in the third person. Don't take that wrong. My response was not directed to you, but about how I arrived at my conclusion about you and gaming given the information available.


Yes, gaming is my primary -- but not only -- recreational activity and the means by which I spend about eight to twelve hours a week with my closest friends. Objectively speaking, as much as possible, that doesn't seem excessive to me.


Then my conclusion was accurate. That said however, now that a time frame has been added to the dates given, that is a normal work day, plus overtime, spent gaming, every weekend.

Now spread over two days that's approximately 4 to 6 hours per day.
Since I game, and given the implications you made about multiple players, I know this is not necessarily a huge amount of time spent per game. Assuming a fairly large group of players that is probably moving pretty fast per game. But add in preparation time, etc., and the fact that your weekends are probably the time you would most likely have open for other activities, given your point about working a lot, and I objectively see your girlfriend's point about disapproving. Now she might not disapprove of gaming per se so much as she might kinda disapprove of the time consumed. I don't know that, but it seems a distinct possibility.

Don't get me wrong, because I don't know anything more than what you've said here on this message board, but assuming your expressed the situation correctly from your point of view, and I have no doubt that you did just that, I can still see both your point, and the point of view of your girlfriend. You're mistaken if you assume I'm being disapproving of your actions (if you have made that assumption) but I am trying to give you an objective, non-involved assessment of how you have described the situation. When you say objectively speaking, that doesn't seem excessive to you, then that is really a subjective conclusion. That is you still being subjective but trying to be as objective as possible from your point of view. And there's nothing wrong with that because it is almost impossible for anyone who is directly involved in any matter to divorce themselves from the matter and be truly objective. That's just being human. I'm not saying it is excessive either, given your situation or the other factors involved (which I don't know), but I can easily see how others could draw that conclusion. It's something to think about anyway, especially from the point of view of your girlfriend. I'm not saying you're right, or wrong, just that everyone has a different idea of excessive, and that might be something worth considering. I'm trying to encourage you to consider the situation from all points of view, because in this particular circumstance I can see how everybody can be partially right, and everyone can be partially wrong.

As to the kids playing I suspect that with the mother it will probably come down to a similar issue, not the game itself but how much time will be spent on it.


So ... how about that local sports team?


They're really nothing to brag about. So I won't bother.
But there's always hope...
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I skimmed most of the posts: sorry if this repeats others.

I think you handled it correctly Jeff. I have two boys, 10 and 11, and I DM for them, but there is only 1 other adult there (with other kids).

I'd be ok with them playing with other adults, if I knew the other adults, and observed a session. I'd want to know the tone of the encounters/maturity of the obstacles they face, and I'd want to see how the adults interacted with each other (language, jokes, general appropriateness). If the mother does contact you, you might want to suggest she watch one session, so she can understand the situation and properly judge its appropriateness for her children.
 

Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
Jeff Wilder said:
So ... how about that local sports team?


That star player is a top-notch athlete. Do you think they can achieve victory in post-season competition?
 
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irdeggman

First Post
Thanee said:
It's sad enough, that you actually have to worry about this.

Bye
Thanee


QFT


It will probably be the next Lifetime movie of the week too. ;)

Something with Tom Hanks I think. . . .

My son started when he was 10 (he's 16 now) another person in our gaming group did the same with his sons (and they are in their 20s now) another one has added in his 3 sons, the youngest is around 10 and the oldest is a Marine.


None of have any girls though. . . .hmm maybe there is a pattern here
 

Barendd Nobeard

First Post
Just keep an open door policy, like a Day Care Center.

And by that, I mean: The parent is free to stop in, unannounced, at any time when the kids are playing at your place.

And I see that Varianor Abroad has made the same suggestion. :)
 

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