Leewei

2013-07-30, 11:54 AM

Hi, everyone.

I'm an unrepentant gamer as well as the father of a six-year-old girl. I've had friends over to play tabletop games, D&D, and so on, for years. A few months ago, my daughter asked if she could play D&D with me. I thought it over, and decided I could make it work. This may sound familiar to some of you - part of my inspiration came from another poster in GitP who did the same thing.

While I mainly want to do this to have fun with her, a lot of my reasoning comes from the belief that a lot of my mathematical ability actually comes from repetitive basic math involved in tabletop games. Even determining a hit or miss involves adding two numbers and comparing to a target number. This makes a 4E tabletop game very ideal for mastering early grade school math. At the same time, adding hundreds and thousands of gold, XP, and so on would certainly be a bit overwhelming. This leads me to the customized 4E which I'm posting about.

For starters, AC, HP, NADs are all kept hidden from the player. Whenever the player tries anything, just give the target number, which you calculate yourself. For older players, give them their bonus for a skill or attack and allow them to add it.

Experience awards and requirement for level are divided by 50. This means that a PC needs 20XP to reach level 2. We use glass beads on a grid to track her total. Once or twice each session, I'll ask her how many she has, and how many she needs to get to the next level. When she works through it, I award her another experience bead.

Gold is also tracked with (different colored) beads. Each bead represents 10gp. When counting these, she counts up by 10 for each one to determine her total. She also needs to budget these to buy healing potions, pay her tuition for Hero School, and so on.

Lastly, Hit Points are divided by 5, both for her and for NPCs and monsters. She doesn't roll for damage -- she just does 2 per hit (her average damage is around 10), or 4 on a natural 20. Most monsters also do 2 per hit.

As a general rule, there is one melee fight per session. The games are designed more for drama and for skill challenges. Also, her enemies are rarely intelligent creatures. When they are, she is encouraged to exercise diplomacy to resolve problems.

I'd encourage other parents to try this with children 5 and up. Removing a lot -- but not all -- of the math, makes this game far more accessible, and can be a lot of fun.

Edit: One final note about actions -- I've also hidden Minor Actions from my daughter. She moves and attacks once each round. I let her know when she can do other things as well.

I'm an unrepentant gamer as well as the father of a six-year-old girl. I've had friends over to play tabletop games, D&D, and so on, for years. A few months ago, my daughter asked if she could play D&D with me. I thought it over, and decided I could make it work. This may sound familiar to some of you - part of my inspiration came from another poster in GitP who did the same thing.

While I mainly want to do this to have fun with her, a lot of my reasoning comes from the belief that a lot of my mathematical ability actually comes from repetitive basic math involved in tabletop games. Even determining a hit or miss involves adding two numbers and comparing to a target number. This makes a 4E tabletop game very ideal for mastering early grade school math. At the same time, adding hundreds and thousands of gold, XP, and so on would certainly be a bit overwhelming. This leads me to the customized 4E which I'm posting about.

For starters, AC, HP, NADs are all kept hidden from the player. Whenever the player tries anything, just give the target number, which you calculate yourself. For older players, give them their bonus for a skill or attack and allow them to add it.

Experience awards and requirement for level are divided by 50. This means that a PC needs 20XP to reach level 2. We use glass beads on a grid to track her total. Once or twice each session, I'll ask her how many she has, and how many she needs to get to the next level. When she works through it, I award her another experience bead.

Gold is also tracked with (different colored) beads. Each bead represents 10gp. When counting these, she counts up by 10 for each one to determine her total. She also needs to budget these to buy healing potions, pay her tuition for Hero School, and so on.

Lastly, Hit Points are divided by 5, both for her and for NPCs and monsters. She doesn't roll for damage -- she just does 2 per hit (her average damage is around 10), or 4 on a natural 20. Most monsters also do 2 per hit.

As a general rule, there is one melee fight per session. The games are designed more for drama and for skill challenges. Also, her enemies are rarely intelligent creatures. When they are, she is encouraged to exercise diplomacy to resolve problems.

I'd encourage other parents to try this with children 5 and up. Removing a lot -- but not all -- of the math, makes this game far more accessible, and can be a lot of fun.

Edit: One final note about actions -- I've also hidden Minor Actions from my daughter. She moves and attacks once each round. I let her know when she can do other things as well.