As a father, I’ve waited patiently for nine years for my son to be old enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me. But, if I’d been more enterprising, I could have invented a full blown RPG for young kids like Ben Garvey has done.
Garvey, a geek and a dad of two kids, was playing on the floor with his four-year-old daughter recently. “We made a maze out of blocks. It wasn’t a particularly difficult maze, but I thought it would make a decent D&D style dungeon. I had her assemble a party of heroes and trudge through the dungeon, fighting monsters and collecting treasures. Our first game lasted two hours. This is an eternity for a four-year-old and she wanted to play again right away.”
He knew he was onto something, so he sat down and sketched out some rules. After some fine-tuning, he started Kids Dungeon Adventures to promote his homebrewed game.
The game’s slogan is “You bring the dungeon, we’ll bring the monsters.” It’s up to you to use blocks, pillows, Lego or whatever you have on hand to create a dungeon and Garvey’s site has a planned “Hall of Heroes” to show off user created dungeons, in case you’re short on inspiration.
The game’s adventure framework, which is heavy on reward and achievement, is well thought out and allows plenty of room for creativity. Garvey has some wonderful suggestions for treasure and how it affects gameplay. The monsters on the cards he has created are very kid appropriate and, with a little Photoshop work, could be customized to reflect your home and family.
When it comes time for battle, there’s a combat system that is similar to other RPG games, but simple enough for kids to pick up. Plus, as young adventurers venture deeper in the dungeon, they may find treasure that will modify their attacks or defenses.
“I think young kids are looking for some basic structure and rules in their imaginative play, and that’s what The Dungeon Adventure is there to provide,” says Garvey. “It’s a framework for creating achievement using toys they already have and an imagination they’re dying to use.”
The Dungeon Adventure is a series of downloadable .pdfs and sells for $5.99.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.