Shadow vs T-Rex

Kris and Big sent us this account of their first ever game of Amazing Tales. As you can see they had an epic and prehistoric time. If you’ve got an Amazing Tale to share send it in, or share it in our Facebook group.

Big (a real life five year old boy with a great imagination) is a crystal raptor. This is a raptor dinosaur made of crystal so that he’s almost invincible. His name is Shadow, and his best talent is clawing and tearing things with his razor sharp claws. He can also run super-duper mega-fast (adjectives supplied by Big), build things, and swim.

Amazing Tales Character

Shadow lives in a hilly forest with a nice stream running through the middle and between the hills. One day, as Shadow takes his morning walk to the stream for a refreshing drink and to catch a few breakfast fish, he hears a small mewling sound. Upon investigation, he finds a tiny baby triceratops (Meepmeep) who seems to be all alone.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Tyrannosaurus Rex can be heard in the distance. He’s coming closer! Shadow grabs Meepmeep and takes off running.

[Roll for run. Miss!] Shadow’s weighed down by Meepmeep and can’t get away as fast as easily as usual. T Rex is now right behind Shadow, almost in chomping distance.

[Roll for build. Critical hit!] Shadow quickly puts Meepmeep down and, with his outstanding building ability crafts a strong wall out of forest material right in front of T. Rex. As T. Rex moves to go around the wall, Shadow builds even further. Eventually, there is a wall dividing the full length of the forest into two halves – Shadow and Meepmeep on one side and T. Rex on the other.

Shadow and Meepmeep settle down to enjoy their belated breakfast and rest for a bit. T. Rex can be heard thumpthumpthumping along the wall looking for a way to break through. Just as Shadow starts relaxing, he hears a desolate sound from Meepmeep. Meepmeep explains that he’s sad and worried because his mother is caught on the other side of the wall with T. Rex.

Shadow comes up with a plan to save Meepmeep’s mom. He’ll hide Meepmeep in the safe half of the forest, then take down a small portion of the wall atop the river. He’ll swim through the river so that T. Rex doesn’t notice him.

[Roll swim. Hit!] Shadow stealthily swims underwater past T. Rex. T. Rex continues stomping along the wall while Shadow searches the dangerous side of the forest for Meepmeep’s mom. He finds her and begins the trek back to Meepmeep on the safe side.

[Roll swim. Hit!] Shadow and Meepmeep’s mom make it past T. Rex by swimming underwater to the safe side of the island. From his hiding place, Meepmeep spots his mom and runs over in excitement. The rush of movement catches T. Rex’s attention, and he once again tries to break through the wall. He finds the weak spot where Shadow had to remove part of the wall to cross over. T. Rex starts making his way through.

[Roll build. Miss!] Shadow tries to hurriedly rebuild that portion of the wall, but does not finish in time. Now T. Rex is on the same side of the forest as Shadow, Meepmeep, and Meepmeep’s mom! T. Rex gets even closer, eyeing the group hungrily.

[Roll fight. Hit!] Shadow uses his razor sharp claws to defend Meepmeep and his mom. T. Rex is injured in the scuffle and takes a few steps backwards.

[Roll build. Hit!] In the brief period while T. Rex is recovering from Shadow’s attack, Shadow very quickly rebuilds the missing portion of the wall, effectively shutting T. Rex on the other side of the forest again.

Rex continues thumping along the wall looking for another way through but seems to be stuck on his side of the forest. Shadow, Meepmeep, and Meepmeep’s mom live together happily ever after as a family, safe from T. Rex.

Amazing Tales’ big day out

About a month ago my friend Juliette asked if I’d like to give a talk about Amazing Tales at the company where she works. I said yes, not just because I like talking about Amazing Tales, and because Juliette is a great friend, but because Juliette works for Lego.

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The brief was simple. Come along, be inspiring, tell us stuff about playing with kids that we don’t know.

Note: Simple is not the same as easy.

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Amazing Tales: A story-game for children aged four and up

Five years ago I made up a game to play with my four year old daughter. Now it’s a beautiful book, and thousands of parents are playing the game with their children.

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Amazing Tales is a role-playing game, like Dungeons and Dragons, but with simple, child friendly rules that fit on one piece of paper. Your child makes up a hero, anything from a dashing pirate to a space alien, and you make up a story for them. When your child decides their hero should take a risk you roll dice to see what happens next.

“It doesn’t have a ton of crunchy rules you’d be used to seeing when you open an rpg, and I almost didn’t want to buy it because money is tight, and why do I need a reference if there aren’t a lot of rules, right? BUT, the kids are so excited to have their own book, their own game, that I absolutely recommend buying it. They’ve been reading over it and reading over it and excited to tell their own stories like we adults do on game night.”*

Amazing Tales includes 28 pages of full colour illustrations to inspire adventure, and four complete backgrounds; the deep dark wood, magical kingdoms long ago, the pirate seas and adventures beyond the stars. Each background includes ten story seeds, exciting ideas to get an adventure started.

“I just bought the pdf last night and had our first game with my almost 4 year old twins. Wonder woman and Flash flew into space to save Spiderman, dangling from a planet with giant bean stalks and a blue furred alien with ten legs named deni. We had a blast!”*

To work well for small children Amazing Tales is different to many traditional role-playing games. Here are some of the key differences

Traditional role-playing games Amazing Tales
Have extensive rules Has rules so simple a four year old can understand them
Limits what kind of hero you can be Heroes can be anything your child can imagine
The story needs to be prepared in advance Designed to be played with no preparation
Can take hours to play Fit a whole adventure into 30 minutes
The games-master rolls dice against the hero’s player Only the hero’s player ever rolls dice
Heroes can be hurt or killed Exciting things can happen, but the heroes always survive

Unlike most kids games Amazing Tales is a workout for a grown-up brain as well. You work with your child to invent the world and the adventure, and decide what happens after the dice are rolled.

Magical Fight

This is more fun than snakes and ladders.

For parents who are new to role-playing games or gaming with children Amazing Tales has plenty of advice on everything from making magic magic, to keeping fights child friendly.

“I ordered two copies of the standard hardcover for my children and my niece for Christmas, but now that I’ve seen them in person I don’t think I can wait that long. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful! I’ve read through the instructions, they’re very easy to understand and seem to cover everything. I love how the focus is on the children’s creativity and creating a story with them; it seems like the perfect introduction to RPGs.”*

Buy Amazing Tales as a hardback book or PDF from DriveThruRPG

Still not sure? Watch me play a game with my children

All quoted reviews can be found here or here.

Amazing Tales Lesson Plan

Just before the summer I wrote about Amazing Tales in the classroom. In particular what happened when my friend Baz Stevens of the Smart Party podcast ran a game for his class.

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In that post I promised that a lesson plan would be forthcoming, and here it is. Baz provides some explanation:

“I’ve attached the files for my lesson planning for the Amazing Tales lessons. I pitched these at my year 4 class and it went down incredibly well. I think it could be run as-is for any year in Key Stage 2 (7-11). Teachers looking at this will be able to see what’s going on, and will adjust for their own differentiation and text subject. Mine’s sci fi, but they can do whatever.

I’ve also included two Smartnote files. This is a commonly used teaching software that can be used on interactive whiteboards. The second file is full of imagery which the teacher can use to spur on the story. I only used two or three in the lesson myself, but they’re all there if needed. Again, teachers can and will customise to suit.”

Download the files here. 

Introduce your child to Role-playing games this summer

Role-playing games have long been touted as a great way to develop social skills, creativity and vocabulary in children. And while they’re usually seen as something for older kids to play among themselves, here are four reasons to start your kids on adventures, even before they can read:

1. Playing role-playing games with your kids is so much fun

It really is. You and your children make up a story together. They invent the heroes and decide what they do, and you pose the challenges. They will amaze you with the things they come up with and it’s a stimulating work out for your brain too as you improvise responses and new challenges. Or you could play snakes and ladders, again.

Magical Fight

This is more fun than snakes and ladders.

2. Role-playing lets your children practice interaction and build confidence

For a four year old approaching someone, making a request and agreeing a deal doesn’t come naturally. Asking a friendly wizard for a spell to chase away a ghost gives them a chance to practice this skill. And if the friendly wizard asks for something in return, then they learn about bargaining. For shy children learning what it feels like to have a conversation when they’re a mighty hero can be truly empowering.

3. Role-playing is a great way to learn about problem solving

The space-ship is damaged and spinning out of control, what do you do? The treasure map is burned and you can only read half of it, what do you do? You’re trapped in a cave and the noises are getting closer, what do you do? Role-playing games teach children to take on problems that aren’t structured. Learning to look at the resources available, make a plan and carry it out is a valuable life skill, and it’s at the heart of role-playing games.

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Pondering how best to fight a sea-serpent

4. Role-playing stimulates creativity

Young kids have amazing imaginations, and naturally mix and match everything that crosses their path to make new ideas. Playing a role-playing game with your kids allows you to share in that and build on their ideas. Together parents and children can create unique, shared stories that will last.

If this sounds good then I’d like to introduce you to Amazing Tales, a role-playing game written for parents to play together with their children. What makes it so good for kids?

  • Rules so simple a four year old can explain them
  • Packed with advice for new role-players, and role-players new to gaming with kids
  • Designed to be played with a parent and one or two children
  • Fit a whole adventure into the time it takes to watch a cartoon
  • Nothing to prepare so you can play when your kids are ready

The Amazing Tales book features 28 pages of full colour artwork to get the creative juices flowing, and four different settings ready for your adventures.

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Four amazing worlds to get started

  • The Deep Dark Wood:  Where animals talk and fairies fly in secret groves
  • Magical Kingdoms long ago: Where knights and wizards seek adventure
  • The Pirate Seas: Follow a mysterious map to treasure islands, mermaids and sea-monsters
  • Adventures beyond the stars: Robots, men and aliens

What kind of character would your kids create? What kind of adventure could you take them on?

If you want to find out by playing Amazing Tales you can download a PDF or order a hardback copy from DriveThruRPG.

Note that European orders printed in and shipped from the UK.

Amazing Variations

Thousands of children and their parents have played Amazing Tales in the six months since it was released. And they’ve come up with all kinds of new things to do with the game. Here are some of the best.

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1. Play one scene a day: Like most grown ups I think about role-playing games in terms of sessions that last for hours. Amazing Tales is designed for kid friendly sessions that take less than thirty minutes, but you can go further. Play out one or two scenes a day, right before bedtime. And right there you’ve got a five or ten minute daily dose of role-playing for parents and child.

And who doesn’t like a daily dose of gaming?

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Amazing Tales coming to retail in partnership with Studio 2 Publishing

Amazing Tales coming to retail in partnership with Studio 2 Publishing
18 June 2018, Haarlem, Netherlands, Amazing Tales, the tabletop role-playing game for kids is coming to retail with Studio 2 Publishing. Amazing Tales is a role-playing game for children aged four and up to play together with their parents. Since launching in Amazing Tales has been DriveThru RPG’s top selling family game for three straight months. Retailers can order Amazing Tales now via Studio 2 Publishing for August delivery.

hardcopy

Amazing Tales will retail at a MSRP of $19.95

“Kids and parents’ reactions to Amazing Tales has been fantastic. Seeing it in stores is going to be great and I’m sure it will help grow the newest generation of gamers.” -Martin Lloyd, designer, Amazing Tales

The 96 page 8” by 10” hardback book contains:

The short and simple Amazing Tales rules

  • Advice on gaming with children, including tips for thrilling fights and advice on making magic amazing
  • 29 pages of full colour artwork
  • Four inspirational settings; The Deep Dark Wood, Magical Kingdoms Long Ago, Pirate Seas, Adventures Beyond the Stars
  • Forty story seeds that can grow into amazing tales

Retailer information
Retailers and distributors can find information about Amazing Tales here.

Earlier praise for Amazing Tales
EN World described Amazing Tales as “perfect for its target audience and a great first time RPG.

The GMs Table said “if you have kids I’d suggest it”

BoingBoing said “A huge smash hit”

Customer reviews can be seen at:

DriveThruRPG www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222950/Amazing-Tales
Facebook www.facebook.com/pg/TalesAmazing/reviews/ .

Press Contact

Martin Lloyd
martinjlloyd@gmail.com
+31 (0)6 46 19 7324

Retail contact

Jim Searcy
+1 865-212-3797
jims@studio2publishing.com

Amazing Tales in the Classroom

A little while ago my friend Baz Stevens of the excellent Smart Party podcast let me know that he was going to be running a game of Amazing Tales for his class of 31 nine year olds. Now “would this work in a classroom?” is a question I’ve been asked pretty frequently since Amazing Tales was released, but, not being a teacher I haven’t had a great answer.

Baz has the answer – and here it is… (I added the links)

“So it went astonishingly (amazingly?) well. We had already genned up characters as a whole class. Some wanted to ‘multi class’ straight away. Most were fine to run with their ideas. Abilities ran the gamut from almost mundane (“I can be nice to people”) through powers (“I can fly”) to bonkers (“laser parkour”).

AMONG THE STARS

I chose the five best written ones to be run by tiny committees. Each hero had an artist to record scenes, a writer to do same (all done in real time on a poster in the middle of the table), a caller to speak on behalf of the group and advisors to actually make the decisions. You can’t take the D&D out of me completely…

Each group had a table. And off we went.

I have the luxury of a smart tv as a teaching aid. It runs interactive wipe board software and a visualiser which I use to display work, or model writing etc. I’d loaded it up with imagery intending to improvise and bring up pics as and when. Essentially I built a Pinterest board instead of writing an adventure. I used the works of Jean “Mobius” Giraud. Check him out.

I sent the heroes into the starting situation: kid ambassadors for their respective planets attending a field trip on Station Alpha X (see Valerian. It’s good)

Question: how do you get there?

Each group got chatting, then shouting. Loads of excitement and debate. I went to each caller for their heroes action. Can’t decide? Too long. Move on. They soon got the hang of teamwork and leadership.

I saw an opportunity to roll dice. One hero travelled by alien horse. Another by hover board. Sounded like a race to me. I asked them for abilities, and it threw them all. They hadn’t looked to those. They were used to writing fiction where you can be anything as the story demands. Spot rule: no ability means you need 4+. Done. I rolled real dice under the visualiser, and the kids lost their minds! Brilliant.

Next question: it’s a party reception. What do you eat, drink and what’s a problem that happens? Cue furious engagement.

I slapped on a plastic crown and made up an NPC. Brian Blessed as host. I asked them all what they enjoyed from my table and got great answers. The artists and writers went overtime.

Then the problems. I picked two. Bombs placed under the guests beds, and the arrival of the Red Knight, a nemesis of one of the heroes.

Dice and carnage ensue. The Red Knight is defeated.

The dust settles and I display a picture of a warrior on a pink alien unicorn.

“This bursts through a window and lands among you. The woman on the creature stands up in her stirrups and announces “I am She Ra, Princess of Power, and you kids just killed my brother””

The room erupts. In real life.

Bell goes. The kids will not leave. I insist they have their lunch, they eventually leave buzzing with the stories yet to tell.

More to come…”

If there are any other teachers out there who have tried Amazing Tales in a classroom, or are thinking about it – let me know. Once Baz has a bit of down time he’s offered to share his lesson plans – so watch this space.

 

Update: And here’s the links to the lesson plan

Table psychology

While searching the internet for resources on role-playing games and young children I found this great series of videos by Megan Connel of Geeks Like Us.

In her words the videos deal with

“how you as a dungeon master can be more supportive of your players to make your table a more inclusive place for everybody”

To which I would add one, big, caveat. When I run games I don’t want to feel I’m taking on responsibility for the players’ mental well being. But, when I’m part of a group, I want to feel that I’m doing my bit to make it a supportive and inclusive place. So when I watched these videos I mentally replaced ‘dungeon master’ with group member, and then it was all awesome.

I haven’t watched them all yet, but the videos on dealing with players who have problems with math or reading, depression or anxiety all seemed smart and useful, and include the important advice that sometimes it’s time to get a professional involved.

While it may not seem obvious that these issues will apply to the four and five year old players of Amazing Tales, they might. Anxiety is definitely something small kids can get when faced with something new (like a role-playing game, or a dragon), and as soon as you have two kids you have group dynamics.

Plus as kids get older they’ll probably want to play other games. I imagine my future will involve running games for groups of pre-teens and teenagers, and these videos look like useful advice to me.

So, a collection of useful videos on issues that affect lots of people. What’s not to like?

Five ways to make your child’s first role-playing game amazing

How old does a child have to be to play a role-playing game? I know of children who’ve started role-playing at the ripe old age of three and a half. My rule of thumb is that if a child can read numbers up to ten, and follow a bedtime story that lasts 20 minutes, then they’re ready.

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But making that first game a success is still a challenge. Here are five ways to make sure that first game is memorable for both of you.

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