Thursday, August 12, 2010

Creating My Own RPG Game For the Kids

I used to be a fan of Warhammer Fantasy RPG games. We used to gather every Friday at a friend's house in Damansara Utama in Petaling Jaya, where we binged on junk food and battle the dark creatures of Chaos!

What are RPG games?

For those uninitiated, RPG is an acronym for Role Playing Games. As stated in Wikipedia, "A role-playing game (RPG) is a broad family of games in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting." All activity in the game is controlled and arranged by a GM or a Game Master. And in the early days everything was played out with miniatures, "pen and paper", dice and a couple of books filled with statistics and bestiary information.

Image source: Wikipedia.

My first encounter with RPG was in my university days back in Alberta, Canada. I used to stayed at the dorm and I would frequent a comic shop where I would watch the guys deep in Dungeons and Dragons adventures. Some of them were wearing costume and the look on their face were dead serious. This was back in the early eighties.

The first Ultima RPG game for the computers (Atari, Apple, Commodore & DOS platform). Image source: Wikipedia

RPG games have since moved from the "pen and paper" version to the interactive computer version (early Ultima series) and now the massive online version, MMORPG or Massively multiplayer online role-playing game, where thousands of users gather online in a virtual gaming work. All this took about 20 years to achieve.

Create a RPG game?

It was back in 1989, when I was working in Parkson Grand Department store that I actually created a space faring RPG game. I wanted it to be a RPG game that was not "pen and paper" in the traditional sense. I wanted it to be a board-based RPG game. That means, no need for a Game Master or require heavy reading and understanding of a world, before starting and enjoying a game.

Just a RPG game that can be played on a board, with set pieces, and yet providing a suspense filled story and quest.

Unfortunately, I lost the prototype design and cut-out game pieces. In those days, I had to hand-draw everything. There was no Adobe illustrator for me to use. Everything was lost, but never the idea to create my own simplified RPG game. That need or urge has stayed with me to this day.

RPG for my Kids

Last Sunday, I was spending some quality time lazying around with my kids at home... LOL. I asked them if they were interested to play a game. Of course my two boys jumped at the chance. (We had canceled ASTRO and there was no Cartoon Network for the kids to watch, hence the enthusiasm.)

I started off by asking them to roll a 6 sided dice (sic) or in RPG speak, 1D6. With the dice rolls, I generated a character for each of them with simple stats like hit points, dexterity and magic. I gave them a sword each. Then I told them to battle each other. I explained a simple battle system to them (single attack with 1D6, defense using 1D6 and damages based on 1D6 as well).

I was VERY surprise at how fast they caught on and how much they enjoyed battling each other. I wish I had recorded a video of them playing.

Then I introduced earning experience points and magical weapons with stats modifiers and magic fireball attacks. After a couple of battles, they were just quoting stats and talking about how the attacks went and damages scored. It was pretty amazing for me to watch... LOL.

The Kingdom of the Magic Crystal

Later that afternoon, I went a bit further and decided to create a whole new fantasy world for them based on whatever that came into my head. Hence their first adventure, "The Mystery of the Golden Alien Frog Adventure" in the improvised Kingdom of the Magic Crystal.... LOL.

They had to generate new characters, but this time I introduced more stats and skills for their character. Their 6 years old sister decided to join them in a party of 3. Her character was a Mage and she was an invincible!

Their first sortie saw them venturing into the depths of the dungeon in search of the Golden Alien Frog after talking to a villager.

The Mage and the Leeches

After a battle with a witch and venturing further into the dungeon, the trio found a well. The two older boys both went into the well searching for a secret entrance. But when they got out of the well, they had to roll 1D6 to determine how many leeches were stuck on their bodies.

Anyway, one of the brother managed to successfully repel a leech and due to a dice throw, he managed to fling a leech at my 6 years old daughter (narrative-ly that is... LOL). When she heard that a leech was flung at her and now stuck at her feet, she wept and said that she did not want to play anymore. She could not stop crying... LOL.

My wife and I told her that it was just a game and that there was no leech stuck at her feet. She just would not stop crying. And so I forced her to roll the dice to get the leech off. All she needed to roll was any number more than 1.

Let me tell you... the damn leech was tough to get off!!!! Every dice she rolled was a 1. Would you believe it? After the 4th turn, she managed to roll more than 1 and that got the "imaginary leech" off her feet... LOL.

Anyway, after that she stopped crying and the adventures continued... LOL.

Game Design

All this had got me thinking about RPG game design again. If I could design a RPG game simple enough for my 6 to 10 years old to play, I might be on to something. And so, now I am re-looking at how I can design a RPG board game that is exciting, challenging and yet easy to play and easy to understand for kids around 6 years and above.

I kept thinking about the looks on my kids' faces when they were playing the game. So engrossed, excited and filled with suspense... LOL.

Now, I am researching and working on a prototype. Hope I can get it up in a month :-) Will update this blog later.

No comments:

A Family and A Fistful of Coupons' Privacy Policy.