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Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a tabletop role-playing game that is played with a small group. Players take on the role of that created character. Players, guided by a dungeon master, use their imagination to explore a fantasy world, complete quests, and battle monsters. D&D is a great way to learn teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Here are some tips for how parents can teach their kids to play D&D:

dm screen
DM Screen with Clothes Pins to keep track of combat order

You need a Dungeon Master (DM)

The DM creates and/or runs the game. They build and control the fantasy world the players populate. Even if you have an experienced DM for your game, a short game, with pre-generated characters is a good idea for new and younger players. Character generation is a fun way to engage your players but can take hours away from playtime. If you are taking on the dungeon master role yourself, starter sets come with easier content that you can read ahead and familiarize yourself with ahead of time to help younger or new players with. There are a few starter sets.

Starter sets:

Pre-generated characters also solves the problem of filling needed rolls. Most successful parties have a tank (a character that can take damage and be on the offensive) , a healer, and a variety or damage dealers.

Distractions will happen.

Plan for breaks in gameplay. New players need time to pick/use powers, will have questions on rules and their roles. Also, don’t take it personally if players lose interest mid-game and wander off. This happens with players of every level, new and experienced.

Start by explaining the basics of the game.

Metal dice in a tray
Metal Dice in a Dice Tray

When starting out in the world of D&D, it’s important to understand the basics of the game. D&D can be complicated. Explain what each player’s role is in the game and what kinds of things they’ll be doing at the table. Some of that will involve teaching them about combat, magic spells, skills, and role-play.

Choose the right age group.

Not all kids are ready to play D&D at the same age. D&D requires hours of focus and sitting. Base gameplay on your players, and work around them.

Teach your child how to roll dice.

In order to play D&D, your child will need to know how to roll dice. This sounds silly. But trust me, teaching your kid how to throw the dice fairly without chucking them across the room will save everyone a lot of time in the long run. Dice trays or bowls can keep dice from accidental rolls across the room and under a couch.

Encourage them to think creatively.

D&D is all about using your imagination. Encourage your child to come up with their character’s backstory to get their imagination going. Try giving them a few prompts to get them started. For example, did your character grow up in a city, a village, a forest? Who taught them to use their skills. Once they start coming up with ideas, they’ll be ready to start role-playing with their new characters.

Then once they begin playing, make sure to have the DM encourage their creative solutions. As they are presented with in-game problems and challenges reward their creativity even if they approached it in an unexpected way.

Make sure everyone is having fun.

D&D is a game, so it should be fun! If someone isn’t having fun, talk to them about what’s not working for them and see if you can help make the game more enjoyable for everyone. Magic spells sound fun, but using them requires experience and access to what they do and when you can use them. Having spells bookmarked or buying spell cards and ready before you start can help stave frustration.

Play together as a family.

Dungeons and Dragons is a lot of fun, but it can be intimidating to learn if you don’t have anyone to show you the ropes. The best way to learn is by playing with friends and family who are already familiar with the game. That way, you can explore the fantasy world together and get everyone’s take on how to play your character. Plus, it’s just more fun to play with people you know and love. So gather up your nearest and dearest and get ready for some serious D&D action. It’ll be a blast!


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Tabletop role-playing games (RPG) have been around for decades captivating players with unique collaborative storytelling, strategy, and imagination. One very well-known RPG is Dungeons and Dragons, however, there are many more available. These games can serve as a powerful tool for strengthening connections, fostering family bonding, and creating lasting memories. We will explore how playing tabletop RPGs can bring families closer together through gaming.

Encouraging Teamwork and Cooperation

At the heart of any tabletop RPG lies the need for teamwork and cooperation. Players must work together to overcome challenges, strategize, and ultimately achieve their characters’ goals. This collaboration fosters communication and cooperation within the family, as everyone contributes their unique skills and perspectives to the game. By overcoming challenges together, family members build and strengthen their bonds both in and out of the game.

Nurturing Creativity and Imagination

Tabletop RPGs are open-ended by design, offering players the creative freedom to shape their characters, actions, and even the game world itself. This imaginative storytelling encourages family members to think outside the box and develop their creative skills together. As parents and children create new worlds and scenarios, they stimulate their imaginations and nurture a shared love for storytelling, fostering a strong sense of connection.

Developing Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills

Throughout a tabletop RPG session, players face various challenges and dilemmas that require creative problem-solving and critical thinking. By working together to find solutions, family members hone their intellectual skills while also promoting a shared love for learning. This collaborative approach to overcoming obstacles helps families appreciate the value of each member’s contributions. It fosters an environment of support and encouragement.

Creating Lasting Memories Through Shared Experiences

The memorable moments and in-game achievements of tabletop RPGs can become cherished family memories. Whether it’s a narrow escape from danger or a triumphant victory against all odds, these shared experiences become the foundation for inside jokes and stories that bring the family closer together. By recounting and reliving these moments, family members strengthen their bonds and create a shared history that they can treasure for years to come.

Facilitating Open Communication and Emotional Expression

Tabletop RPGs create a safe space for family members to express their emotions and thoughts through their characters. By assuming different roles, players can explore new perspectives and share their feelings in a supportive environment. These games can also open up conversations about real-life issues. These situations encourage family members to discuss their experiences and support one another in their daily lives.

Adapting to Different Age Groups and Interests

One of the great strengths of tabletop RPGs is their adaptability. These games can be tailored to accommodate family members of various age groups and interests. Ensuring that everyone feels included and engaged. Whether you choose a classic fantasy setting, a thrilling sci-fi adventure, or a more family-friendly system RPG system, the versatility of tabletop RPGs makes them ideal for bonding across generations and preferences.

Establishing a Family Tradition

Incorporating tabletop RPGs into regular family gatherings or creating a dedicated family game night can help establish a unique family tradition. This tradition not only brings the family together for regular bonding time but also fosters a strong sense of belonging and togetherness.

Getting Started

There are many resources out there to guide your tabletop RPG experience. Below are a few links for some resources that can get you started.

Final Thoughts

Tabletop RPGs offer numerous benefits for family bonding, from encouraging teamwork and cooperation to nurturing creativity and fostering open communication. By exploring the world of tabletop RPGs and creating their own adventures, families can strengthen their connections and make memories that will last for decades to come.


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With the next round of Marvel movies being released, Marvel is adding some familiar superheroes for the gaming universe. Your youngster can answer the call to battle villainy in the Marvel universe with a steady stream of titles set to be released over the next year. Let’s take a peek into some of the exciting Marvel video games on the horizon.

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

If your children enjoy swinging from the rafters and everything else, they’re in for a treat that might be easier on your furniture. Set against the iconic backdrop of open-world New York, fans of Miles Morales and Peter Parker can swing into action in this upcoming adventure. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, players can take control of both Spider-Men, battling foes like Kraven the Hunter and Venom. An enhanced experience awaits with faster web-slinging and a wingsuit for smoother movement across New York City. This game is set to release exclusively on PlayStation 5 on October 20, 2023.

2. Marvel’s Wolverine

Teased at the 2021 PlayStation Showcase, Marvel’s Wolverine is being developed by the talented team at Insomniac Games. The expectations is it will be another PS5 exclusive. While only releasing a teaser trailer so far, we do know the game will be set in the same universe as Marvel’s Spider-Man. We don’t know if either web-slinging hero will make an appearance. The release date remains undisclosed, but it’s certainly a title to watch. Fair warning, a Wolverine game may not be suitable for younger superhero fans, don’t.

3. Untitled Iron Man Game

Tony Stark and his alter-ego Iron Man is one of the most well known and beloved superheroes. With limited video game exposure, the team at Motive Studio along with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy producer, Olivier Proulx, are looking to change that. This philanthropic billionaire should be getting an original story-line that aims to delve into Tony Stark’s intriguing persona and his high-tech adventures. We don’t know what they’re developing yet, but expect to see some impressive iron man suit tech and Tony Stark’s well known sass.

4. Untitled Black Panther Game

Newly formed Cliffhanger Games studio under EA is developing an exciting Wakanda experience. Gamers will have a chance to immerse themselves into T’Challa’s home of Wakanda and fully interactive with the previously hidden world. While readers and viewers experienced glimpses of the hidden land of the Black Panther, this is everyone’s first opportunity to see the rich, vibrant world this Marvel hero calls home.

5. Skydance New Media’s Marvel Game

Wakanda fans have another chance to experience Wakanda through the eyes of T’Challa’s ancestor Azzuri. He is the Black Panther from the 1940s. Former Uncharted director Amy Hennig has taken the lead for Marvel’s next story-driven World War 2 Superhero experience. Azzuri will team up with Steve Rogers’ Captain America in WWII era Paris and Wakanda. This unique narrative will take fans through this dynamic team up, joined by Gabriel Jones and Nanali to round out this team. No gameplay has released yet, but a dive into Marvel history should offer a refreshing break from the modern norm.

Marvel games are sure to announce more titles over the coming years as their expand they introduce new phases of heroes for fans to enjoy. As always, make sure the content is suitable for your child before you buy.


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Tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) have become increasingly popular among all ages, offering a unique combination of storytelling, strategy, and social interaction. There are unique rewards and challenges of playing tabletop RPGs with teenagers, as well as addressing additional perspectives to help parents make the most of this engaging and rewarding experience.

Challenges of Playing Tabletop RPGs with Teenagers

There are many challenges that can become obstacles in playing RPGs with Teenagers. Below are some of the common challenges as well as some strategies to mitigate them.

  • Varying interests: One challenge parents may face when playing tabletop RPGs with their teenagers is finding a game that appeals to both parties. It is crucial to explore various genres and game styles to discover a common ground that everyone can enjoy. Tabletop RPGs offer a wide variety of genres and game styles that will appeal to all.
  • Coordinating schedules: Setting aside dedicated time for gaming sessions can be difficult, especially with busy schedules. Parents and teenagers must communicate and plan in advance to ensure everyone is available and committed to the gaming sessions.
  • Balancing structure and freedom: Tabletop RPGs often require a balance between structure and rules while allowing room for creativity and freedom of expression. Parents must be mindful of this balance to create a fulfilling gaming experience.
  • Overcoming reluctance: Teenagers might initially resist playing with their parents, so it is essential to approach the idea with enthusiasm and genuine interest in their hobbies.
  • Learning curve: Anyone new to tabletop RPGs might find the jargon and rules overwhelming. It is essential to invest time in understanding the game mechanics and being patient with the learning process. Open yourself up to the multitude of learning resources out there.
Our intrepid heroes do battle against a flying monster and a bear!

Benefits of Playing Tabletop RPGs with Teenagers

Bringing teens around the table to play RPGs has many benefits, some that may seem obvious and some that are more subtle.

First and foremost, playing RPGs together can strengthen family bonds. Tabletop RPGs can provide a shared hobby that strengthens family bonds and encourages quality time spent together. Engaging in a collaborative, imaginative world can create lasting memories and deepen connections. Many role-playing games lead to inside jokes and punchlines that naturally bring a family together.

Next, it can improve communication skills and foster empathy. Participating in tabletop RPGs can enhance communication skills as players collaborate and negotiate within the game. Additionally, role-playing allows teenagers to explore different perspectives and develop empathy for diverse characters.

Additionally, teens develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities. Tabletop RPGs often present players with complex challenges that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Additionally, players must work together as a team to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

A challenging aspect for teens is self-exploration and identity development. The role-playing aspect of tabletop RPGs offers a safe space for teenagers to explore different aspects of their personality and develop a deeper understanding of their identity.

Finally, playing RPGs helps foster a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives. Engaging in a shared imaginative world can help parents and teenagers better understand one another’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations, leading to a more empathetic and supportive relationship.

These wolves are trouble!

Tips for Making the Most of the Experience

There a several easy ways to optimize the RPG experience and make it more engaging for everyone.

  • Most importantly, choose a suitable game. The group needs to find a game that suits the interests and preferences of both parents and teenagers. Research various tabletop RPGs and consider trying out several options before settling on one that everyone enjoys. Online shopping will give you a wide variety but also a group trip to the local book or game store can heighten the bonding experience as well as give you potential exposure to other gamers and experts.
  • Set expectations and ground rules. Establish clear expectations and ground rules to ensure a respectful and enjoyable gaming environment. This might include guidelines for behavior, turn-taking, and in-game decision-making.
  • Personalize the experience. Incorporate elements of popular culture or personal interests to create a more engaging experience. By tailoring the game to the players’ preferences, you can increase investment and enjoyment in the story and characters. Naming towns and Non-playing characters (NPCs) with inside jokes can add a sense of whimsy and familiarity to a new game.
  • Balance guidance and independence. Allow teenagers to take the lead in certain aspects of the game, such as decision-making or storytelling. Encourage their creativity while providing guidance when necessary, maintaining a balance between support and autonomy. We have a teenager in our game who enjoys antics that would likely get the entire group killed, we balanced this by having him play a wild mage, whenever he uses his powers he rolls a d20, the dungeon master announces whatever extra effect his magics have caused. He gets to have silly things happen without purposely harming the group, usually.

Collaborate With Your Teen

Involve teenagers in the game preparation and planning. Encourage your teenagers to contribute to world-building or character creation, fostering a sense of ownership and investment in the game. Building a backstory can help foster engagement and encourage role-play as well. Creating figurines to represent your character can be a fun bonding activity before play. A DM I’ve played with gave the group a bucket of LEGO mini-fig pieces to create our characters with. It let everyone show their creativity and see how we each saw our characters.

Work together to establish a regular gaming schedule. Ensure ongoing engagement and consistency by creating a regular gaming schedule that works for everyone involved. Scheduling is the Achilles’ heel for tabletop RPGs, if you go too long in the middle of a story players lose interest and it’s harder to dial back in to gameplay when you get back to it. If you are unsure of your schedule pick an easier game, from a starter pack for example when you’re new. These games are easier to play, usually have simpler storylines, and can be easily remembered.

Remember to be open to feedback. Seek input from your teenagers and be open to their suggestions for improving the gaming experience. Regularly discuss what works well and any areas for potential improvement. The first few games allow players to change their characters. Let them try new things to encourage continued engagement, especially when a first-draft character isn’t working how the player wanted or expected.

Additional Perspectives

Do not hesitate to embrace technology. Enhance the tabletop RPG experience by using virtual tabletop platforms and online resources, such as Roll20.net. These tools can streamline gameplay, assist with organization, and facilitate remote gaming sessions. Engaged Family Gaming uses these resources for our online D&D game Coils of Destiny. It allows for players spread out across the country to get together and play. If you have extended family or friends, technology can help bring them together. This provides opportunities for greater social interaction and collaboration.

Attend tabletop RPG events or conventions together to further immerse yourselves in the gaming community and learn from experienced players. This is a wonderful chance to playtest games that have not yet been released and possibly get early access to new content. You can also meet other players, and get advice from them. Also have fun, events and conventions are full of people who enjoy gaming and usually really excited to be around like-minded people.

Final Thoughts

While there may be challenges when playing tabletop RPGs with teenagers, the experience can be a rewarding and memorable journey for the entire family. By embracing additional perspectives and being open to new ideas, parents can further enrich this bonding experience and foster a deeper connection with their teenagers. Ultimately, the positive aspects of bonding, skill development, and enjoyment should be the primary focus as you embark on this shared adventure. Remember that patience, open-mindedness, and a genuine interest in your teenager’s hobbies can create an engaging and fulfilling gaming experience for everyone involved.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to many well-known games: LARP

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role-Playing. It Incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event. Players inhabit a fantasy world at a set location in real-time and can be based in a wide variety of genres.

LARPing involves social interaction with players and NPCs (non-playing characters). LARP events will require specific costumes and props to further the set environment. More experienced players will likely be better outfitted for LARPing events having collected gear over a longer period of time. New players can purchase supplies at various stores and online sites. LARP organizations such as Alliance have forums to guide new players. Preparation: character creation, backstory, props, costuming, etc. assist players with fuller immersion into the event.

References can be similar to tabletop role-playing questions, general gameplay, character class and race choices. Parents may need to assist with forum surfing, costuming. As with sports or a new instrument, invest minimally at first to ensure your player’s interest warrants a larger financial investment.

A PC attacking an NPC

What does LARP mean?

LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Play. LARP is an immersive story experience where participants physically act out their character’s actions. Staff create a different world for players to plunge into with costuming, props, and scenography into an amazing experience. Most children have played make believe. We have all seen towel capes, construction paper crowns, and broom stick swords. LARP is the next evolution of that, which is why children easily lean towards LARP.

LARP Basics

There are several genres of LARP, with 2 basic types. The first: Adventure, Demonstrative, or Boffer LARPs feature mock combat with foam weapons. These LARPs encourage the players to work as a group towards a common goal. Serving the greater good, protecting a community, exploring the unknown, finding a lost item or person, and so on. Another term for this group is combat LARP, and they have genre-specific weapons. The second: Interactive, Literature, Parlor, Salon, or Theater LARP features heavy role-play with emotional interaction more character-driven, often with no specific goal or task. Groups without combat are non-combat LARPs. Their conflicts resolve with cards, dice, or chance games (ie rock paper scissors).

Similar to most modern video games and tabletop role-playing, LARP is Player vs Environment (PVE) or Player vs Player (PVP). PVE the group is united as a whole against something threatening the land, the town, and so forth. Players can face monsters, puzzles, traps, and so forth. PVP plays the players against each other. Narrative or personal motivations can drive this game’s focus and player interaction. (We define PvE and PvP in the greater gaming context here.)

How to find a LARP?

Now is the time to find a new LARP group. Many groups were constrained by the pandemic and are restarting and rebuilding. There are several online resources, use your favorite search engine and search for LARP or LARP in your area. If you already know what genre you’re interested in, add that to your search as well, i.e. pirates, medieval, futuristic, and so on. Some specific sites include LARPfinder, meetup (for larger cities), reddit (r/LARP), Facebook, and many others.

Local gaming and tabletop stores often have LARP advertising and may have LARPers on staff. There are some summer camps with LARP themes and events as well. Conventions can also be a good resource for single-event LARPs, some may run over the course of the convention. You can typically reach out to the organizers and ask. There are LARPs across the globe with a wide variety of genres and sizes. You will find one that fits if you look for it!

Examples of different LARPs. 

LARP genres can vary as widely as any interest base. These genres can include: aliens, cyberpunk, futuristic, fantasy, historical, horror, pirates, murder mysteries, superheroes, and whatever else imagination can create. Genre types will dictate costuming, weapons, character interactions, and window dressing for the environment. The setting will determine how your player reacts to what is around them. A pirate or cowboy won’t be as surprised by a train as an elf from a medieval setting might be.

Some LARP games and genres are geared towards adults only, most vampire LARP is adult only. Most LARPs have their age requirements posted on their homepages to make child-friendly LARP easier to find. (AllianceLARP New Hampshire, for example, allows players starting at 14 with a guardian.)

What are Boffer weapons?

Bow, Swords, Staff

Boffer weapons are traditionally part of American LARP.  Boffer weapons are 3 layers: a rigid base, foam middle, and duct tape or nylon cover. The materials vary. Foamsmith (boffer weapon makers) skill sophistication can vary from pool noodles with handles to sleek light weapons resembling their real-world counterparts. Boffer weapons are built for safety and ease of play by a wider range of players. They are typically checked for safety before every event. Boffer weapons are easy to use by the average player. However, they are not always painless, especially in the heat of battle with adrenaline. It is not uncommon to get a bruise or two from combat regardless.

European LARPers tend to use latex rubber weapons which are heavier, and more realistic in appearance, but require more physicality to wield. In some cases more extreme LARPers use real weapons, this is rare and more likely in historical reenactments than play.

Is Cosplay the same thing as LARP?

No. Cosplay and LARP are not the same things. They are similar. Cosplay is when you dress up as a character from a movie, TV show,  book, videogame, or your own creation. Most Cosplay is found at conventions or special events connected to the character. Stormtroopers, Wookies, and Jedi often appear when a new Star Wars movie comes out, that is Cosplay. Cosplay is more for appearances and getting into a character as an expression of enjoying a fandom. LARP costuming needs to be functional as well as genre appropriate to play a game.

Is LARP Similar to DnD?

Absolutely. LARP and Dungeons and Dragons have very similar origins and base rules. Noncombat LARP uses dice or card systems similar to D&D for combat resolution.

Both games require a bit of imagination to help build the setting and role-playing. Most LARPers play D&D or other similar role-playing games in the off-season, or started there and branched off into LARPing. If your child is nervous about LARP, tabletop role-playing games are a good place to learn which genres they’re interested in and a chance to practice their role-playing skills.

What does a new player need to know?

Learn the basics before you go. Most LARP groups have websites with the rules, they may have a rulebook, requirements, and so on. You should have read through those things at least once before you go to an event. Game restrictions and waivers should be known ahead of time not when you’re with your kiddo in full costume at the event. If you or your child need special accommodations, reach out to the game runners ahead of time (they typically have at least an email on their websites) or other players may be able to help or point you in the right direction. Review costume guidelines and requirements. Part of immersing yourself into a LARP world is the proper costuming.

What to Bring

If the venue is outside, bring sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Dress appropriately for the weather, extreme weather conditions can lead to certain costuming holds. It’s easy to add layers to a cloak and remove them on cold days. Ask ahead of time about food and drinks. Some offerings either in or out of game may be provided or you may have to pack lunch. Try to play along and bring in genre meals, a Lunchable can be repacked in reusable wax cloth instead of a plastic container. If the event is a one-off versus a multi-day event you may need to arrange sleeping accommodations as well. This may be camping or a local hotel.

Acclimating to Events

NPCs

Remember it’s natural to be quieter when you’re new. Many LARPers have been playing for years and are very welcoming. Give it a few events before deciding it’s not for you. However, group dynamics aren’t always a fit, you can explore other games and other groups. LARP is an international game, there are places for everyone.

Most games start with a welcome speech or intro, this is your time for new players to ask their questions. Logistics or the pre-start time where your costuming and weapons are being checked for safety is also a time for questions.  Most games have moderators or experienced players or staff on hand to answer questions as you go, identify them early, and ask. It doesn’t hurt to play into your character either and ask in game.

Places to buy LARP costuming and supplies

Finding the right costuming for your character can go a long way into finding role-playing and helping a new player step out of the real world and into the LARP world. LARPing can be an expensive hobby. There can be ways around that, especially for new players trying out LARP before committing. Look to your new LARP group for guidance: new player forums, game organizers, and veteran players can all help you with rules, requirements, and where they got their gear. New players might be able to borrow some pieces to help with the cost while they’re deciding if this is for them.

Depending on your LARP genre, there are several easily accessible websites to help build your character. First look at your LARP group website & forums, there will be suggestions related to the rules and needs specific to your game. Next a quick search for LARP costume, LARP gear, LARP armor, LARP weapons, etc will find you several sites. Costume stores/sites, Walmart, amazon, and other bigger markets. can get you something serviceable in a quick time. Once you’ve decided on LARP as your hobby and you’re looking to move from testing to definitely playing: Etsy, Epic Armory, B3, Holy Clothing, burgschneider.us and MANY others will have genre-specific weapons, armor, props and so on.

Don’t forget about crafting. If you or a friend can break out a sewing machine this can save you quite a bit. Also, thrifting has been a time-honored way to build up your costuming. Pinterest is full of LARP DIY to help with various levels of your skill and direction needed.

Where can I find LARP in the media?

There are a wide variety of LARP examples in movies and TV shows. Not all of these examples are family-friendly, often LARP is confused for tabletop role-playing by those who haven’t read this article yet. Often the examples produced depict LARPers as unsympathetic nerds with poor social skills. LARPing attracts all sorts of people, most of whom are welcoming and enjoy sharing their beloved hobby with others.

Examples

  • Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
  • Monster Camp
  • Hawkeye
  • Supernatural: LARP and the Real Girl
  • Role Models *not kid appropriate

Conclusion

In conclusion, LARP, or Live Action Role-Playing, is a form of immersive story experience where participants physically act out their character’s actions. It incorporates physical action, improv, cosplay, and roleplay into a single event and can be based in a wide variety of genres. There are two basic types of LARP, Adventure or Boffer LARPs which feature mock combat with foam weapons, and Interactive or Theater LARPs which feature heavy role-play with emotional interaction. LARP can be found through online resources, local gaming and tabletop stores, summer camps, and conventions. With a wide variety of genres and sizes, there is a LARP for everyone to enjoy.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get

Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Action Games

Space Invaders

Action games are a super-genre of games that focus on mechanics, physical challenges, and reaction times. This genre overlaps with several other genres such as RPG, sports, and adventure games, but an action game relies primarily on overcoming challenges and with quick response times and hand-eye coordination often coupled with an intense time element favoring speed over complexity.

Shooter games were one of the first action games on the market, one of the more famous being Space Invaders. A single defender needs to shoot oncoming aliens without damaging their own defenses (although doing just that was a common strategy).

Action games are so common that they have become a hybrid of almost every other type of video game. There are Action Adventure games, Action RPGs, and more.


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Platformer or Platform game

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In this genre players jump or climb between different platforms. Graphics are typically 2-D in a third-person perspective side-view. Although newer games are using 3-D in first person perspective.

Early platform games used ladders and climbing but later games generally focus more on jumping.  Platform types can include standard, jump through, slippery/high resistance, sticky, conveyor belt, and many more.

Donkey Kong, one of the first video games with a storyline; is one of the first examples of a platform game. Mario jumps over barrels and climbs ladders to save Paulina as she cries “HELP!”

Super Mario Bros is also one of the most famous examples of a platformer game. Several sequels of Super Mario Bros has taken Mario and Luigi through various platform types and increasingly difficult jumping challenges over the years. The vintage Mario platform is also included in Super Mario Odyssey, where you need to navigate through 2D sections to reach the next needed location.

Examples of Platform Games Include:

Little Big Planet

Guacamelee 2

Crash Bandicoot


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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games: Fighting Games

Fighting games are a type of action game where two or more characters fight each other. Players can fight a combination of other players or the computer. Fighting typically includes hand-to-hand or melee weapons.

Fighting games typically have a player and enemy health bar on the screen. Combat is divided into rounds. Rounds, typically 3, end when one player’s health is reduced to zero, or whoever has the least health with time runs out. In-game characters have different moves and attacks based on simple to complex button combinations. Most traditional fighter games are viewed from the side in 2-D and 3-D. Fights take place on a set area similar to a stage where players have limited movement capabilities. Animations in fighting games tend to feature exaggerated movements and reactions. Subsets of fighting games include sports-based, beat ‘em ups, brawlers, and other combat styles.

Street Fighter is the classic game most associated with this genre. Street Fighter has many series titles over the course of the years.

Fighting Game Examples Include:

  • Super Smash Bros
  • Street Fighter
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games:  Adventure Game

In this genre the player is the protagonist of an interactive story driven by exploration, narrative, puzzle solving, or a combination of the three. These games are story based and can vary widely by content. Play is single-player. The majority of adventure games do not have action elements.

The adventure game has evolved from text-based command and prompt games into full graphic immersive stories and exploration. One of the first text-based adventure games was Zork I. The game describes player locations and actions, while the player types responses to these text prompts creating interactive fiction. You can find the Zork Anthology on Steam here.

Text-only prompts have evolved into graphic explorations such as Myst and Monkey Island where puzzles were entwined in the experience. As players move through the game, they are trying to solve a big problem or series of problems. To reach this goal, you need to complete many subtasks, in a chain of activities to work closer and closer to your goal. For example, you need a key to open a door, but to get the key you need to go solve a farmer’s problem (and in order to solve his problem you need to find some other object.)

Other subgenres of adventure games can include choosing your own adventure games and visual novel games. Many visual novels are intended for older teens or adults.

Examples of This Genre Include:

  • Dreamfall
  • Portal
  • Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
  • The Last Express
  • Monkey Island series
  • Telltale games

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Virtual reality isn’t an emerging, fringe technology that is limited to tech nerds. These are mainstream pieces of technology that can be readily purchased at Target and Amazon. They’re cool pieces of technology that play games so it was only a matter of time before parents started asking us about virtual reality and whether or not it is safe for their kids.

We did our homework! Here are our findings!

What is Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is an immersive environment accessible through an avatar (computer representation of the player) through a set of glasses. Players can interact with a 3D space, as their avatar mimics their actions. VR can take the player to any environment imaginable and allow you to interact within that space through button pushes, movement monitoring, screen swipes, and so on. VR has the potential for education, social interaction, and gameplay combined.

Most VR glasses/headsets are recommended for children 12 years of age or older. The biggest concerns for parents in the short term will be VR sickness and eye strain.

VR Sickness

VR sickness is similar to car or motion sickness. It is caused when there is a difference between what is in your field of view and what your vestibular system detects. (The Vestibular System is the system in your inner ear that helps detect motion and to help with balance.) If your child is susceptible to either car or motion sickness then there may be a risk of VR sickness in the future. As technology progresses, there will likely be more ways to combat this, but there is no real “cure.” Most home remedies lack any real scientific backing.

VR Induced Eye Strain

Eye strain is a problem with any long-term screen usage. You can combat that with 15-minute breaks for every hour of screen time. Younger gamers may not be able to convey this to parents and require more parental supervision than others. Encourage frequent breaks, talk to your child about how they feel when and during play, and adjust their equipment for them where possible.

If your child wears glasses, then you should make sure that they fit comfortably inside the VR headset to limit discomfort.

Headaches and eyestrain could be increased for those with eye conditions. Frequent breaks can help

VR With Younger Children

VR is designed to create an immersive experience for the player. The younger the gamer, the more intense this immersion can feel. While this means younger children will often have a stronger emotional experience with VR tech. They might be scared or uncomfortable after experiencing something frightening or disorienting.

This means it will be very important for parents to talk to their kids. . Let your child tell you about their experiences and help them better understand the difference between the real world and VR.

Does this mean that children under 13 should be cut off from VR? Not necessarily. Every person is different. Monitor equipment for fit. Shorter time on the system. Talk with your children about how they feel during and after gameplay. However, because of the age limit on most headsets, content may need a closer review.

Many parents are concerned about the long-term effects of VR on developing brains and on vision. But, there is very little consensus from medical experts and manufacturers around this. This is why 12 seems to be the most common age limit among VR manufacturers six years into VR’s mass market availability. There have been a few studies done on mice and they did not demonstrate long-term effects on young mice. However, most professional advice regarding VR and kids leans towards being conservative and not using your child as a guinea pig. Every child is different so parents should use their own judgement.

VR Games and Content

Our advice regarding content for VR is the same as every other console. Parents should do their research on the VR games their kids want to play. Remember if it’s not something you would let them play in any other game setting, those rules will still apply to VR.

We do, however, recommend that new players (young and old) start with less stimulating experiences to ease their introduction to virtual reality and help them adjust to the new game style. 

Some VR games do have in-game purchases. Parents should check the parental control functions, and set limits with your child to avoid potential problems.

(Note: Check out our list of Essential VR Games for the Meta Quest.)

Safe Space

Virtual reality requires a lot of space (most of the time). Imagine your child moving around your house with a blindfold. That is going to be their real-world experience while they are in VR. Clear a space for them to play to make sure your child won’t knock into a wall, fall over a coffee table, or break your favorite vase. No setup is perfect though, so you will want to supervise them during gameplay until they are accustomed to their devices and the games they play.

Final Thoughts

VR isn’t all that different from other forms of technology that are out there. Each family needs to evaluate what works best for them. Parents can look to current research, but ultimately they need to know their children and their own comfort levels in order to make the best decisions regarding virtual reality or any other new tech.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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