Roleplaying Games for Kids
Role-playing games began being published in the 1970s with the
release of TSR's Dungeons & Dragons. The first set was a
small set of booklets. However, in the decades since then, published
tabletop game books tend to be written for late teenagers and adults.
It can be difficult to find RPG material which is both fun and
appropriate, particularly for children under 12.
Commercial RPGs for Kids
The following are published print RPG products which are intended
specifically for younger kids (pre-teen). In some cases I include
links to postings which describe actual play using the games.
Adventures in Oz by F. Douglas Wall
A fantasy RPG set in the world of L. Frank Baum's Oz books.
It has a simple system with seven traits. There is a combat
but no death given the background.
The Big Night by Alan Dotson
A cooperative storytelling game with puppets to cut out and color,
about helping Santa deliver presents on Christmas. See the
example of play posts:
"Sheckleton's Sacrifice" and
"GenCon Kids Room".
Cat by John Wick
A game about playing cats, who defend unsuspecting humans from
Faery's Tale by Patrick Sweeney et al.
A game about playing tiny faeries (pixies, brownies, sprites,
and pookas) within the fairy-tale land of Brightwood.
An RPG about child heroes in a fantasy world, aimed at players
age 4-10. The characters are based on templates including
Warrior, Hunter, Healer, Warlock, Brute, Rogue, and Knight.
Monster Island: The Game of Giant Monster Combat
by Patrick Sweeney and Bruce Harlick
A game of playing monsters like Godzilla and other kaiju
engaged in various fights.
The Prince's Kingdom by Clinton Nixon
A game of playing 5 to 11 year-old princes who solve problems
within the string of islands that make up their kingdom.
Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men by Annie Rush
A game about playing gingerbread men who become magically
animated for the twelve days prior to Christmas. Everyone
bakes an actual cookie to represent their character, with stats
depending on how they are decorated.
Squirrel Attack! by Clash Bowley
A game about playing squirrels from the magical kingdom of Nuttopia
on a secret mission to raid the Mortal World for nuts.
Tunnels & Trolls by Ken St. Andre
A simple fantasy dungeon crawl system from the seventies. This
is simpler than the current incarnations of Dungeons &
Dragons, and has a number of solo modules -- like Choose Your
Own Adventure books, but with rules and die rolls.
Usagi Yojimbo by Greg Stolze
A role-playing game set in medieval Japan based on the popular
comic book about a samurai rabbit.
Woodland Warriors by Simon Washbourne
A medieval fantasy RPG with animal characters inspired by
the Redwall series, using the Swords & Wizardry rules.
The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo by Chad Underkoffler
A fairy tale RPG in the style of the Wizard of Oz.
Free RPGs for Kids
The following are free mini-RPGs available on the Internet that are
designed for kids. They are not as well-supported as most of the
published RPGs, but they may be good for one-off experiments. In most
cases I include links to postings which describe actual play using the
Actual Play Reports
The following are just discussion posts about actual play with kids,
which might be useful in seeing the strengths and weaknesses of
different RPGs and role-playing styles.