Kid Friendly events

Date Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingIt’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

No Date Night Magic-Magic Prerelease Instead Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingNo date night this month because of the Magic core 2019 prerelease.  It will be the same time, and is kid friendly, but it is not a kid only event (and there is no pizza included–$35 instead of $25 unless you sign up before the day of the event. )

———————————————-

It’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Semi canceled for Battle Bond releaseDate Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingDate night this week will happen side by side with the preview for the Battelbond THG Release.  (Basically, pay and extra $6 for the pizza/drink.)

 

It’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Date Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingIt’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Sun 10am Sealed Dominarea Release

The land of legends, where magic began. We return to Dominaria for the first time since Urza strode it in Time Spiral.  This set looks amazing, in no small part to the contributions of another Legend.  This marks the first time since the original Innistrad that the creator of Magic, Richard Garfield was asked to add his,well, legendary touch.  Ok…a little much with the Legendary comments, but that is because this set is all about the Legends.  From a ton of new legendary creatures, to a new legendary card type, Sagas, an enchantment that changes the game each turn it’s in play, this is a unique set in more ways then one.

When: Dominaria Release weekend. FNM 7pm, $15, Two-headed Giant Sat @ 4pm, and sealed Sun @10 am. $30 in advance, $35 day of the event. (using remaining Prerelease kits–packs only if we run out on Sunday-$5 less)

What: Sealed Standard event (get 6 packs of the new stuff and build best 40 card deck.)(play three rounds, win a round, win a pack). Choose when you sign up.

Who: Who’s it good for?  Since everyone is starting from scratch from a new set, this is a great event for all players.  We run a very friendly shop, so particularly for the casual events, feel free to ask for and get help in figuring out what to make.  Regardless of what happens, you get to keep all your cards and have a day worth of fun.

Here’s what you need to get a head/catch up to the game.

Date Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingIt’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Date Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingFirst Ixalan Date Night Magic….Dinos and Pirates!!! It’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Date Night Magic Draft (Kids-9-14) (Price-$25) Kids Magic Draft

Kids-playingFirst Ixalan Date Night Magic….Dinos and Pirates!!! It’s not called Date Night magic for the kids.   This is kids magic draft is chance for kids to play like the adults in an event with their peers, and for the parents to get a chance to go remember what it’s like to be adults again.

NOTE:  Changes for Date Night:

  1. NEW Location:  1530 Park Street.
  2. Start time 4pm start-End by 8-8:30. (impt to be on time…)
  3. Pizza now bundled in.  (More space but less easy places for kids to walk to get food…also with the earlier start time, it’s just better to have a fixed time to make a break to have food for all the kids)
  4. New Price ($25) includes two slices of Pizza and a drink.

Date night magic was designed as a way for kids to get a chance for their night out while the parents have a chance for one of their own.  For kids 9-14, the Magic tournament starts at 4 and costs $25 including 3 drafted packs of Magic cards, and one prize pack of Magic cards for each of the 3 matches (2/3 games) that the kid wins, plus dinner (two slices of pizza and a drink).  Dads, Mom’s, older siblings are welcome to play also (though the kids get the packs when they play against an adult…) Kids should know how to play, though they are welcome to ask questions to improve their games. Drafting is great for the kids, since it means that everyone is starting from scratch and has equal chances. Even if they don’t win, they still have all the cards they picked in the draft and a fun evening.  (The place is Dad-run, so we’re real big on having fun and treating each other well.) This is a great kid friendly event in the east bay.

What: Kid’s Date Night Magic: A magic draft for kids (9-14)

When: NEW Earlier Time!!! 4pm start (please be here and registered at lesst 10 minutes before) The 1st weekend of every month. Since this is a draft, everyone needs to be there to get started, so for the sake of all of the kids, please be sure to be on time. Last Round ends at or before 8:30.  Feel free to call the store before hand to see where things are at.

Cost: $25  for the draft, and dinner..(two pieces of  pizza and a drink) after the first and special $2 (half price) deal for sleeves for event players.

Other info:  Parents must leave contact information and stay within the area, and kids need to be well behaved and obey the store rules of conduct to each other, but otherwise, head on out and have good time. Limited to first 24 registered kids, so sign up early if you want to reserve a slot. (info at d20.alameda.com). Must be present by 4 to insure space.

www.d20alameda.com for more info, or email us at info at d20alameda.com. 

 

Unstable Two-headed Giant

Draft and Sealed Simulator

Let’s get squirlly with Unstable, the 3rd in the “un” sets.  These are, well, just plain weird (in the best possible way).  They are set’s that show what happens when the adult supervision at Wizards of the Coast goes to visit their parents for a year or so.  Unlike the previous un sets, that were just designed to be the Mad Magazine version of Magic, this set is beyond goofy, sure, but was actually designed to draft and play well.  Ok, if not well, fun.

When:, Two Headed Giant at 4, Sun at 11 and a More drafts, Sunday at 11 am. 

What: Each player (head) gets 4 packs and shares them with their partner to make two 40 card decks, one for each player . You’ll have plenty of cards to use to make interesting decks with that number of packs, and the cards you open are yours to keep.  Teams play 3 matches against other teams (since the team starts with 30 life instead of twenty, it is a single game…they usually last anywhere from 25-50 minutes.) If you win a round, each team gets two prize packs..

Who: Who’s it good for?  Since everyone is starting from scratch from a new set, this is a great event for all players.  We run a very friendly shop, so particularly for the casual events, feel free to ask for and get help in figuring out what to make.  Regardless of what happens, you get to keep all your cards and have a day worth of fun

  • Buddies
  • Sweeties (couples…either where both play, or the significant other is looking for a nice, no-pressure way to share something the other person really likes)
  • Parent/Kid combos (or big sibling, etc)  Kids get to be the smart ones for once, and the parents get to see what this is about (and get a great date with their kid)

About Two Headed Giants

Parent & Kids playing two-headed GiantParent & Kids playing two-headed GiantTwo-headed giants are a team Magic the Gathering event. Teams usually comprise of buddies, parent/kid combos, and a lot of couples.  Both players play together, sharing a life total, showing each other their cards, consulting with each other and playing at the same times.  Because of that it is both great social fun, and probably the best way for a new player, or someone who is just curious what their buddy/kid/or SO likes so much about the game to get a chance to try without feeling any pressure to know all (or any) of the rules.  Think of it like tandem skydiving…you get all the fun, without having to worry about when to pull the rip-cord.(It is particularly great for Moms or Dads who want to have a really cool date night with their kids. This event is a GREAT way for parents to figure out what this thing the kids are doing is anyway, and for the kids to get a chance to be the ones who know what is going on for a change. ;-)Because you play as a team and can help each other out, the kid gets to be the smart one for a change, and the parent gets to play without needing to worry about “doing it wrong”. Also…kids love having their mom or dad help them try and beat another team.)

Each player (head) gets 4 packs and shares them with their partner to make two 40 card decks, one for each player . You’ll have plenty of cards to use to make interesting decks with that number of packs, and the cards you open are yours to keep.  Teams play 3 matches against other teams (since the team starts with 30 life instead of twenty, it is a single game…they usually last anywhere from 25-50 minutes.) If you win a round, each team gets two prize packs.  If you lost, you will most likely be paired up with someone else who had the same type of night, so it tends to balance itself out.

D20 tends to be a friendly place to play, and the Two-headed Giants are particularly so.  We have great players who take pride in making other players feel welcome and remembering that it’s a game, its played for fun. 😉

Frequently asked Questions

What is it?: Two-Headed Giant Magic Tournament. (Two players on the same team, sharing life and playing in parallel against other teams of players)

Do I need to know what I’m doing?: Since both players play at the same time and can show each other their cards, as long as one of the two players knows what they are doing, nothing is required of the other player. It is the best, most fun way to learn the game.

Do we need to make and bring our own decks? Nope. This is what is called a sealed deck tournament, which basically means that each team gets a fixed number of packs (8) of Magic cards to build the two decks used to play in the tournament.

When is is and how long does it go? Get packs as early as 4 pm, starts at 5:30 and the last match usually ends by 8:30 (if not earlier).

We also run kid friendly drafts for 9-14 year-olds the first Saturday of each month at 5:30m and adult FNM at 6:45 on Fridays.

www.alameda.com 510-522-2109.

MTG, Magic the Gathering, Friday Night Magic, FNM

D20 Games-Intro to D&D for Parents (and others)

By Ben Calica

This guide is designed as a simple, English translation for parents, significant others, and just those who felt curious as to what the heck D&D is all about.  We run D&D Encounters at D20 Games these days, and I’m old enough to have played the game with the first white books back in the mid 70s.  I’m also a dad of tween twin boys and a daughter who’s three years younger, so I can do the kid to parent translation pretty well. 😉

What is D&D?  Dungeons & Dragons is the game the popularized role playing.  Created in the mid-70’s,D&D was unique in casting one of the players in the role of the Dungeon Master.  A person who both kept the secrets of the world that the other players were trying to discover, and acted as a living interpreter of the rules, allowing players to try all sorts of creative solutions to problems they encounter, and not be limited by only what the original game creators set down on paper.  This was quite literally a game-changer, in that it really allowed people to use their imaginations to inhabit characters that they created and moved through the world.  It works best when the players access the freedom of their 8-12 year old selves and create characters that are ones they would have chosen to play on a playground.  (BTW…those of us who were around for the first round of this remember the media frenzy over kids in the sewers doing horrible things.  That was more made up then the game.  The truth was it was a bunch of us utterly harmless little nerd boys and girls being imaginative in the basement of our parents houses.)

D20

D20s-The rolls at the heart of role playing.  The D20 that is the name of our store refers to 20-sided dice, and are the key to most role playing games.  As much control as the Dungeon Master needs to have over the world that he/she is slowly unveiling, if they end up as the autocrat that just tells a story without any possibility of success or failure outside of what is ordained by them, the game becomes either stale or feels unfair.  Instead, based on a characters developing abilities  the Dungeon Master either consults pre-created tables of possibilities for certain types of actions (attacking with a sword, jumping out of the way of a dragon’s fire breath, getting a good nights sleep without being discovered by some roving band of creepy creatures), or makes their best guess for some creative idea a player has, and assigns a number that they must beat for that to succeed.  “I want to use my special agility to do a back-flip over my friends head to the back of the group.”  “Ok…you need to roll an 18 to make that happen.  Since you have extra agility bonus..you get to add 4 to whatever you roll.  Roll a d20!”  It is the mix of imagination and estimated chance that is the heart of what makes role playing games ongoing fun, and a story that even the Dungeon Master doesn’t know how will play out.

D&D as avengers


18 again, the birth of a character.
  The other key part of what makes role playing games fun, is the birth and evolution of your character.  A few different methods can be used, from the genetic randomness of rolling dice to determine the basic DNA of your character.  Are they quick  smart, wise, strong charming, or tough, or some combo of the above.  The first method involved rolling three six sided dice for each attribute, and then figuring out based on what you got what that character would be.

For example right now I’ll roll out one to show you.ac-muppets

Well…obviously this guy is going to be hiding in the back of the group, not swinging anything bigger then a stick.  But…with those Wisdom and Intelligence scores, looks like we might have a wizard or kind of skinny healer.
Using the more popular method of rolling 4 6-sided dice and throwing out the lowest one, we get a little better result.

This guy (or gal), could end up as a thief, or bard, or ranger, whose dexterity will make a bow sing in their hands.  How the characters start out is only the birth, because as they go out in the world and experience interesting things, they gain, well, experience.  and that experience directly leads to them increasing their levels, and with each of those new levels, their skills, toughness and abilities increase, so that the monsters that almost destroyed them in that first week of play, go running from them a few sessions later.  The greater the risks, the greater the rewards in terms of experience points AND goodies that they find along the way.  But those risks are very real (in the world of the game), in that if the hit points of your character (A number created based on your level, constitution, and what profession your character chooses), gets knocked down in battle to 0, then your character, well, dies.  Most often in the early levels, your playing buddies (your group), will drag you back to town, and find a sufficiently powerful healer to bring you back.  But that gets increasingly expensive both in terms of gold you’ve been able to collect, and eventually costing you some of those experience points you’ve been working so hard to gather.  Plus that fact that during the rest of that particular adventure, when the DM asks each character what they want to do next, the answer from you is “lying in the corner…still dead.”

DnD_Character_SheetThe DM–The guy that gets to have fun by not playing the whole time:  The Dungeon Master, or DM, has a very important and sometimes tricky role.  It is their  job to have either created or familiarized themselves with the world and adventure that the players are going to encounter.  They need to keep things moving at a good pace so people keep having fun in the world, and they have to strike a very careful balance between making the world so easy to defeat that there is no sense of real risk or drama, and making it so tough that the players feel like they are spending half their time trudging back to town to get resurrected   They need to make puzzles that are solvable, but hard enough to be challenging, and they need to be open to the players creativity taking the story in a direction they didn’t anticipate. Common mistakes are to become the great and powerful OZ, manipulating the players into doing things they really don’t want to do, or being seen as vindictive and mean..being the enemy of the players, as opposed to their guide to a world they have never encountered.   The best DM’s enjoy the story being told and it’s telling, and are open to knowing that the player’s creativity is a huge part of what makes that story fun for everybody, including them.

Pathfinder_RPG_Core_Rulebook_coverD&D vs. Pathfinder.  Both of these games were born from the original D&D.  While many people were kind of mad about D&D 4.0 (kind of an attempt to turn D&D into World of Warcraft) they redeemed themselves with 5th edition. It honors the best part of role playing games, the, well, role playing. Pathfinder is a game made by a different company that was founded by a number of people who used to work on D&D an has stayed very much in the spirit of the original D&D.  The reality is that both of these are brothers in spirit, and you can’t really go wrong with either.  There are also a host of other genres of role-playing that have been born from the same basic ideas and that speak to the different 8-12 year-olds in each of us.

Special notes from one parent to another:  First off…most any game that gets people face to face instead of screen to screen is a good thing.  Second, the game is jam packed with creative problem solving and social skills building opportunities.  The books are expensive (in the $30-40 range) and they will read them to the point of seeming obsession, but what is happening is that they are using the possibilities in the books to load themselves up with tools to solve problems when they play as well as doing creative thinking in their heads about what they could become.  The games can go from a couple of hours a time, to 2 in the morning when they get older.  It is the, “let’s just see what is behind that next door” that create that.    Obviously, the timing issues are different based on the age of the kid.

It takes a lot to get a group of kids together on a regular basis to play, and once a game is going and gets healthy it is worth encouraging.  Despite whatever “Revenge of the nerds” preconceptions there are about people who play, the reality is that the people who are drawn to the game do tend to be disproportionately bright, mostly because they don’t like the constraints that standard games place on their creativity.  The groups also tend to provide good social support.  The characters they create have different specific  ethical rules, and it is important for the player to stay true to those rules, making for a great chance to explore and understand those. For the kids who are bright but have social skills challenges, the role playing stuff is wonderful, both because it provides some set of written rules for social interactions, and because usually the DM provides a level of moderation for social issues that come up that makes the sessions mini-social skills groups wrapped in a big spoonful of sugar.

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