Gaming with kids

Most of the gamers I know are all grown up now and a number of them have started/are starting families. It’s inevitable that when Dad sits down to paint that a child will become fascinated with what they’re doing and why.

My (step)son had just turned seven and is starting to make noises (along with Beyblades, Mighty Beans and Lego) about toy soldiers.

Obviously there are a number of reactions, some good and some bad. The bad would be to completely discourage it; selfishly wanting to keep it for myself. I don’t roll like that.

Good would be allowing them to explore their curiosity (as long as they don’t want to play Eldar. No sir, not in my house!) and either let it run it’s course or continue to develop. Mr. Seven has painted a couple of miniatures with a little help, but has no real interest in the game.

I think I have (after talking to a number of father types in the wargaming scene) come up with a tool to help either make or break. As one such father said, “You can’t force them to do it; it’s a hobby. They do it because they want to.”

It’s a pretty simple version of a wargame called Four Plus. Collect some scenery and a few miniatures and place them on a coffee table or other surface that is kid sized. At one stage we were collecting Star Wars Clone Wars figures, and they made great, easy to recognise troops.

Apart from that, the only real rule is “it happens on a four or more”.

I made a couple of six inch rulers from some left over plasticard that measure movement and shooting to help with controlling where they go, but that bit is optional.

Hopefully this will either spark an interest or he’ll play for a while, beat me mercilessly and then forget about it.

I am inspired by guys like Pete Dunn ( whose son Jack (known at the time as Little Horus) came across the pond to play at Liber Animus one year and promptly roll over the top of his opponents.

I don’t expect Mr. Seven to go to that length, but if he enjoys it, I see no reason not to encourage him.