Most games put on by the HAWKs are kid friendly, but we often dedicate a table in the HAWKS room to games specifically targeted at younger gamers. This year we put on three of them.
The Dragon is Dead
Dave ran a game using Blood and Swash from the Big Battles for Little Hands book. A dragon has been slain on a remote island. Before the official troops arrive, the “government” has issued six exclusive contracts to bands of fearless treasure hunters to gather as much treasure as possible. The kids ran round the table fighting each other and looking for caches of goodies.
I don’t which kid won the game, but they all seemed to have a really good time.
Armies for Kids Project
The showcase event was our annual Armies for Kids Giveaway. The game is restricted to kids 10 and younger. This year it was a WWII game using Milk and Cookies Rules from Big Battles for Little Hands. The paper houses you see in this picture were lovingly hand crafted by Chris Johnson, as were the hills. The figures and tanks had been donated to the HAWKs. Through a number of painting seasons we painted and based the units.
Milk and Cookies Rules were written for kids as young as five years old. It has all the basic elements: movement, fire, and morale. It is written for periods ranging from ancient warfare to WWII. Units consist of four bases. The rules use six-sided dice. There are sometimes saves if the target unit is in cover. Pretty straightforward stuff. The game lasts about 90 minutes.
The young man in the black shirt spent a fair amount of time marching and countermarching with his tanks, but he seemed to have a great time.
The girl on the right was probably her side’s MVP. At one point she had troops in both of the two buildings in the middle of the table, which was the objective of the game. While she was eventually driven out of the far one, she remained focused on the objective throughout the game. She reminded me of my own daughter who when she was younger would often win at these convention games — and games not set aside for kids — by staying focused on the objective.
When the game is over, the kids take home the army they played with during the game. They also take home an opposing army, a set of hills, a set of buildings, and the rules and quick reference sheets. They also get a tote bag full of other goodies, like paints, brushes, rulers, and dice. That is what is mean by Armies for Kids. When the game is over, they have everything they need to play war-games with their buddies at home. Every once in a while we get some feedback from a parent that the armies from previous years are getting a lot of use. We would love to hear from a teenager or young adult about their experiences after Armies for Kids.
This has been a huge success. You should see the looks on their faces when we give them all the goodies at the end. Most of the parents know what’s coming, but the giveaway is a complete surprise to most of the kids.
I think this is the sixth Armies for Kids Giveaway we have done as a club in as many Historicons.
After Armies for Kids, I ran another 90 minute kids’ game, using the War Rocket rules from Hydra Miniatures. We had a lot of fun. One side had to blow up some important satellites while the other side had to defend them.
These kid-focused games take a lot of work and a certain amount of patience, but they are fun. They are our attempt to do something about the “graying of the hobby” other than grousing about it on TMP.