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Playing D&D at Every Age

Tony reveals his top kid’s D&D tips from our D&D Summer Camp



After a successful June session, our July and August sessions of D&D Summer Camp are rapidly approaching!


 This June, a band of young adventurers gathered in our gaming room for a week of social hobby fun. They learned to build characters, paint miniatures, run their own adventures, and play through a custom kid-friendly campaign. The store was awash with triumphant yells, defeated cries, and laughter among friends.


This summer camp grew out of a year of wildly successful weekly Kid’s D&D nights, created and hosted by Tower’s own resident dungeon master, Tony. As sessions began to fill up months in advance, Tony knew it was time to create something bigger, where all of the kids could come together and experience a truly epic adventure. 



“When I was young, there weren’t camps like this. Playing D&D was still taboo in the early 90’s. Even if you wanted to play, people weren’t keen on having children at their table. Now, 30 years later, I wanted to give kids the ability to play, build friendships, and a community of their own.”


Tony’s right - it isn’t easy for young kids to find a nerd-friendly community where they can come together and play, besides just playing with their parents at the kitchen table. (Shout out to all the DM parents!)


Running a kid-friendly adventure requires a special touch. How do you keep up the danger and excitement without making the encounters too punishing for young learners? I asked Tony for his tips.


“Keep the adventure balanced, but hint at it possibly going awry. For example, a dozen goblins is manageable, but introducing the threat of a possible ogre ally introduces a fear of the unknown, which makes the outcome of a very manageable scenario seem unpredictable.”


No kid wants their first beloved character to die. That’s why simulating the impression of risk is better than putting them in outright danger. Have your young adventurers cross a rickety bridge, but don’t collapse it until they are across - or give them the opportunity to destroy it themselves and send some pursuing enemies plummeting!


That isn’t to say the kid’s characters are immune. We’ve seen kids make heroic sacrifices to save their friends, as well as ignore repeated warnings and waltz straight into dragon fire. The key is to shift the balancing away from mechanical components, and towards decision-making with clear outcomes. This makes it fun for the kids to see the effects of their actions while they take the time to learn D&D’s more nuanced mechanics.


For Tony, “it’s about passing the torch, 100%. Giving young players the knowledge and skills that I lacked growing up.”


If you ask me, that torch is well and truly passed. I’ve seen so many kids giggling up and down the aisles or huddling up to fervently scheme that it’s clear D&D will be alive and well at Tower Games for a long time to come.


We still have open spots in our July 15th-19th and August 12th-16th Summer Camp Sessions! Sessions run 12pm-4pm Monday-Friday. Contact us at (612)823-4477 or towergames@gmail.com to sign up or learn more information. Otherwise, come visit us in store! We’d love to chat about the Summer Camp or any of your latest gaming obsessions.



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