What an interesting Sunday.
I had the occasion – nay, honor, of introducing 4 people to dungeon crawling last week. The best part was that two of the people were kids under the age of eight, and one was a mom (dad was along too – but he doesn’t count as he has experience!)
Decidedly NOT your typical D&D crowd.
Granted, the dad/husband was the impetus for this adventure – as he had D&D experience from a long time ago and liked the idea of introducing his kids and wife to the concept. Which, of course, I support wholeheartedly. I’m a strong believer that kids should be exposed to role-playing type games as early as possible to develop and foster imagination and the free-flowing part of their minds. Many games don’t necessarily do that – as they emphasize strategy and deep thinking. RPGs (role playing games) do that as well (albeit to a lesser extent), but really can expand creative thinking by allowing the players a degree of intellectual freedom not necessarily constrained by rigid rules.
In other words – if you want to try feigning death in front of that dragon instead on confronting it head-on, go right ahead!
After some discussion, we settled on the game Castle Ravenloft - which is a cooperative “dungeon crawl” board game based on the Dungeons and Dragons rule set (4th edition). It is a boxed game with really nice components including a plethora of plastic miniatures, dungeon tiles and a host of cards. Kind of a board-game/RPG combination.
This seemed a great fit for this family as it has the RPG basis, it is cooperative (meaning you are working as a team to beat the game) and the components of the game are fun – especially the monster miniatures.
The five of us played the first group scenario – and we managed to get through 90% of it before it was decided to call it a day due to some attention span issues (I’m looking at you there Mom!).
We played for 90+ minutes.
Two kids – ages 7 and 5. Brother and Sister. Their Mom and Dad, and me. Ninety minutes, focused on ranged attacks, disarming traps, felling giant spiders, and looting treasure. Fantastic!
I challenge you to find another cerebral activity that can maintain that duration of interest with such a diverse crowd.