Thursday, 19 May 2011

A New Hope: Gaming With an Eight Year Old

I've been away for a while, but that doesn't mean that I've been abstaining. No, sir (or madam, whatever the case might be). I managed to keep the once-weekly going. I've even GM-ed a little.

As far as the GM-ing goes, I ran a session with the GF and The Punk, her eight year old son. Now that was an interesting experience. As most boys between six and sixteen, he is a proper space-cadet. His attention span is that of your average hamster, but he makes up for it with imagination in spades. Big spades. More like industrial-grade earth movers, actually.

The game was Star Wars d20, and The Punk is a proper little fan-boy. He got the choice of Rebellion or Clone Wars, and chose the former. Going through character creation, he picked Trandoshan as his race. He also picked Soldier as his class, as he wanted to be able to climb walls, and to kill badguys. His main mellee weapon was a vibro-ax, and he also had a heavy blaster. In addition to this, he wanted vibrodaggers. Lots of them. Once he had made the choices, I did the crunching and point-distributions – at this point he was busy acting out how his hero, Ssneckeyes, was dispatching his enemies in droves (sound-effects included).

The GF made herself a Droid, and the plan was for her to help The Punk with rules and such, and me with keeping him more or less on track. This proved to be a brilliant strategy, as once in game, our biggest challenge was to keep him thinking inside, or at least close to, the box. He had no problem whatsoever getting involved in the plot, and he did some pretty good roleplaying in the set-up phase of the adventure. Combat was more of a challenge, though. 

In the main encounter, he first dropped his axe so that he could drive his claws through the skull of a security officer. He never touched his blaster (I guess Ssneckeyes is more of a close-quarters kind of guy), and used his daggers only as single-charge items (one was thrust through the skull of an enemy and left there). The challenge quickly proved to be how to encourage him to use the system to channel his imagination, as opposed to letting him discard the rules and godmode the entire battle. The result, somewhat influenced by really crappy dice-rolling all around, ended up as one of the most entertaining combat-sequences I've run in a long while. Again with plenty of sound-effects included.

Once all the enemies had been defeated, The Punk was pretty tired, and he politely asked if this was a Save Point. I guess it's no wonder some newer RPGs tend to mimic computer games...

I'll drop a few lines on my player-experiences a little later, but to provide a small spoiler, let me give you a few hints: Call of Cthulhu, Nunavut, and an Arctic marine-expedition.

Take care, and to quote the Californian, "I hope you get some gaming done this weekend."

[Picture source: LucasArts]


  1. I shall indeed, sir!

    I'm glad you had a fun gaming experience. Way to influence a new generation!

  2. My then 8 year old made a D&D character named Hogarth (after his favorite movie character, from Iron Giant) and similar rowdiness was had... sounds lovely!