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How complex is the Beginner Box - would it be good to introduce RPGs to kids with?

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#1 pwvogt



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 07:44 AM

I haven't played either Star Wars RPG from FFG, but I've played tons of RPG's, and I tend to lean much more towards lite/fast games like Fate Core, Dread, and Fiasco.


I want to try to introduce my star wars-loving nephew to role-playing. He's fourth grade - going on fifth grade, so I think the time is right. The problem is that he's a very hyper kid who loves making explosion noises and sometimes has a hard time sitting down for a while.


My wife and I love RPG's, so we're thinking of playing a game with the three of us the next time he comes and visits. So my questions, after the long-winded opening, is for those of you who have bought, read through, and/or played the beginner box.


How complex are the rules? Do you think he could just jump in with my wife and my help with rules and what kinds of things he could do in an RPG? I myself have been itching to get something Star Wars RPG related to see how well the system plays as I'm a long-time fan of FFG and their products. 



#2 mlbrogueone



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:36 AM

The rules might still be a bit complex for a 4th grader, but you'll never know until you try. One tip I have is to go heavy on the fighting and light on all the other skill roll like computers, survival, etc. Its ok to have some skill rolls, but some FFG scenarios will have you do 3 computers checks in a row. Beyond the Rim has you do a scan to track a wreck to a hemisphere of a planet, then one to track it to a continent, then another to a more precise area. For a 4TH grader I would recommend one roll to decide it all.

That and keep the action moving. I would also recommend only 2 player characters so your nephew can really feel like the center of the story maybe with some help from your wife as the other PC.

That said the beginner box with pre made characters and a premade adventure with good maps should be fun and is the way to go. I just have no reference for how smart 4th graders are these days.

Edited by mlbrogueone, 04 May 2014 - 09:40 AM.

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#3 Lathrop



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:51 AM

Rules are slightly simplified in the Beginner's Games, and introduces everything at a gradual pace with everything split into encounters. So first encounter is doing a basic skill check to hide from some guards. Second is introducing combat. Third is social interactions. Etc. Actual gameplay in this system requires some basic addition and subtraction of the symbols on the dice and really pushes for player interaction and creativity with its dice rolls (you can have good things happen when you fail, bad things when you succeed - and these can come through in more narrative ways or more mechanical).


Also, for what it's worth, the box says 10+ for recommended age. I've seen a few people here and in a few podcasts mention they've got kids around 6-8 that have played through the system without any major tweaks to simplify.


In terms of how the beginner game is setup. There's a nice mix of characters in the box already, including a couple you can download on FFG's site. None of them are crazy specialized, and the way the beginner game is set up, even if he wants to do something his character may not be great at, he's still got a decent chance at succeeding. The story of Edge of the Empire's game is that the group pissed off a Hutt, now they're trying to do some preparation for a ship they're going to steal, and then book it off the planet. If you went and got the Age of Rebellion Beginner Game, it's about a group of Rebels taking over an Imperial base.

#4 Zszree



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:40 AM

I ran my 9 year old nephew through EOTE Beginner's Box adventure and he did just fine ... after he settled down being dressed up in his jango fett Halloween costume and blaster in hand.   :D


These adventures do a good job of introducing more and more rules after each encounter.



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#5 ScooterinAB



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:57 AM

I think it's more about adventure content and planning than game content. As others have said, the rules don't actively anything that would push a child away or make the game too hard. It would be more an issue of pacing the game for a child rather than for an adult group. As such, i'd maybe stay away from canned adventures in favor of shorter, perhaps more straight forward adventures (we might like the talking drama, but it might bore him to tears).


One consideration is that Escape from Mos Shuuta (the EoE beginner adventure) is about escaping the clutches of a Hutt. While there is a little pew pew, it's pretty close in content to the movies. Whisper Base (the AoR beginner), on the other hand, is quite dark. It is outright says that the team is going to be killing nearly every single person in taking the base to prevent further problems, to the point of possibly killing prisoners. This could get a little out of hand pretty quick with any group, so that's just something to think about. It's one thing to shoot a Gamorean or Stormtrooper in self defense, but it's another when you might be in a position to shoot a prisoner because you're forced to act when victory is nearly lost.

#6 pwvogt



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:54 PM

Thanks guys! I'm not sold on it since I've got some other options that he might like more, but I'll continue to think about it and weight the pro's and con's.

#7 MrHotter



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Posted 04 May 2014 - 07:08 PM

My 10 year old daughter and her best friend just finished the Edge of the Empire Beginner Box. They loved it, and the rules were easy enough.


It may be different with boys and girls, but she avoided combat and I let her work her way out of every battle besides the one needed to get on the ship. She would have avoided that one too, but she did not realize that Trex was on the ship.


The Beginner Boxes have abbreviated rules, so you could just stick with the shorter rule book when playing with the young ones. I ordered the Age Of Rebellion beginner box even though I already have Edge of the Empire Beginner Box. We rewrote the characters back stories and I already have a hook for how they will end up being part of the Rebellion. Since kids normally don't play marathon sessions I have the two box adventures and the two downloadable extended adventures to use for them. With the simple rules and 3 tiers of talents to advance with, we should be set for a while.

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#8 angelicdoctor



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Posted 05 May 2014 - 09:24 AM

I introduced the Edge of the Empire boxed set to a group of kids with ages ranging from 12 to 18 last year without problems.  The method employed by the adventure proved to be very effective.


For younger players, I would recommend introducing them to RPGs using the West End Games' D6 version, however.  Using the templates included one can jump right in immediately and since most everything is resolved with a simple roll of multiple six-sided dice the concepts are clear and easily digestible to even the very young, even my 4 year old.  The rules are the domain of the game master.  The player just really needs to know how many six-sided dice he or she needs to roll to hit that storm trooper at medium range.

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#9 Jamwes



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Posted 05 May 2014 - 02:38 PM

We have an 11 year old in our group. Dare I say, he picked up the dice pool rules faster than some of our adult players. I will agree with the others that you'll probably have to do a lot of hand holding. Role playing can be a hard concept to get into and it might take some work to get the kid to fully participate but if he's the focus then it should be ok.


If I was to run a game for the kid and one adult, I'd do an adventure that was pretty straight forward and catered to the kid's character and personal tastes. The kid in our group likes the fighting, so I'd run smash and grab heist games heavy on the combat and kicking down doors.

#10 Castlecruncher



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Posted 05 May 2014 - 06:59 PM

I'm not sure when I started, myself, but I know that I was young when I did. If you run it with your nephew having the soldier, and base it all on running around and shooting those dirty Stormtroopers, then he's sure to have a fun time.

Of course, this is coming from a guy who's always been creative, and when I started playing RPGs, it was without dice in a sort of "one of us is a dude in Star Wars, the other says what happens around him," in what my brother and I called Talking Games (games where you talk; very creative, I know).

In the end, I'd say to just give it a shot. You don't even need to focus on the rules just yet, just roll for him and say if he hits or misses. And be sure to let his imagination get the best of you; kids get some of the craziest (and most fun) ideas in the world!
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#11 Agatheron



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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:58 PM

My daughter is 8 going on 9, but reads at a grade 5-6 level. She's been pestering me about doing the AoR Beta, which I will do. One of my gaming buddies has two sons that are slightly older, so the plan is that we'd do something together using the AoR box set a a starter, while my regular crew does EotE. :)

The mechanics are pretty easy to get, but some of the vocabulary you might need to do some backtracking on.

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#12 artteach



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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:01 PM

My children are 18 and 15, but started playing RPGs from around 4 years of age.  We would play a simple game with their action figures and some dice, then we moved to basic DnD and on to the normal games.  


Age of Rebellion or Edge of Empire basic sets are perfect introductions for 7+ year old children.  The number one tip when starting is to let them tell you what they want to do and you figure how they will do it mechanically.  This teaches them the fun and joy of Role Playing. Over time they will pick up what you are doing and learn the roll playing.


Remember also that this age level is referred by some educational theorists as the concrete stage.  They need the concrete minis, maps, star wars legos, action figures, stuffed ewoks.  Whatever works to help them see what is going on.

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#13 Brother Bart

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 11:21 AM

My 9 year old had no problem with it at all. We even ran the EotE beginner box game for a group that had a seven year old and two 5 year olds...the younger ones just had fun rolling the dice and tallying up the results..and obviously enjoying the story-telling aspect of it all. But depending on the kid, they may take to it or not depending on their attention span, reading/comprehension level, etc. I think 7-8 is minimum (give or take a few outliers) for grasping the rules and engaging in the story/game in a meaningful way. 

#14 bigity



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Posted 14 May 2014 - 08:01 AM

I ran it with my 7 year old, and he didn't have much trouble.   Though, he was of course using a pre-gen character, and basically could look at the die pools and pick out the right dice.  I had to double check his end results some, but that was just a matter that familiarity with the symbols would eventually have solved.


I had more trouble explaining to him that stormtroopers weren't the 'good guys' like on the Clone Wars cartoon.  He wanted to be one of those! :D

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#15 awayputurwpn



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Posted 30 May 2014 - 02:32 AM

Heh, my 3.5-year-old has seen Episode IV and a good amount of the Clone Wars, so he understands that Clone Troopers are "good guys" and Stormtroopers are "bad guys" (he will consistently remind me, "the stormtroopers killed the Jawas!").

What was funny was we went to Costco because they were doing this photo-shoot/charity-benefit thing with some guys in Imperial dress (a scout trooper, a Stormtrooper, and a couple TIE fighter pilots), and my son says to me, half-stating and half-asking, "some stormtroopers are...good guys?"
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#16 Midnight_X2



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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:02 AM

One of the groups I run Star Wars for is about to switch from WEG d6 to EotE. The group includes an 11 year old who picked up the d6 system with little trouble. Based on what I've read in this and other threads I think he'll do OK with the "Escape from Mos Shutta" beginner's game. After playing through that and "Long Arm of the Hutt" he should get solid enough with the rules that when we transfer from beginner game to normal game it won't be a problem.


Regarding the original poster's request: I think your fourth grader will do fine in the Age of Rebellion beginner's set. The adventure is very straightforward and "on the rails". You can take your time with each encounter and let them get comfortably with what they're rolling and why. The adventure is designed to stop at each encounter and learn a new mechanic. After the AoR beginner adventure you can download "Operation Shadowpoint" which continues the adventure using the beginner game rules. Let them get good and comfortable with the simplified beginner rules using the pre-made characters. After a few sessions they'll be ready to jump to the full game.


Of course, you could always stay with the beginner's rules and not jump to the full mechanics in AoR. There is absolutely nothing wrong with running a whole campaign for those pre-made characters.

#17 Farseerixirvost



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Posted 19 August 2014 - 07:26 PM

Nutshell, give it a try.


My 7 now 8 YO son has played with me and my 11 YO daughter. I like to make him come up with ideas of how to "spend/interpret" the advantage & threat results. He's come up with some doozies. And he LOVES to roll the dice, so I call for skill checks as frequently as possible.


In a FFG Deathwatch 40k campaign we have a 9 YO. That system is WAY more complex and he's able to comprehend most of it.

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