Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Next Generation

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Garish and I have been doing what I call "Paint-&-Play Sunday" down at Hobbytown to introduce new people to the joy of painting miniatures and then using them in roleplaying games. So far we've had amazing success, attracting a regular audience of young people and their parents, who tell us they're glad to see their kids playing the same kind of game they started out playing back years ago when they were still in school.

These kids' intro to RPG started with a simple Oe-style character data card for one single model. We then let two kids take their models and a few dice and let the models have a fight. The simplicity of Swords & Wizardry Whitebox rules makes keeping up with model stats a bit easier so the kids catch on really fast.

So you can imagine how psyched those kids were the next week when we unpacked our fieldstone dungeon maze...wihch was awarded the official seal of "wicked-awesomeness" by one youngster. Their characters who had been pit-fighting at home all week now got to partner up and clean out a dungeon.

Honestly, it does a soul good to see kids getting so excited over anything that did not involve extreme speed, high sugar, or joining an online guild.

So they came back next week, this time with friends. Of course their characters had experience points now and a few weapon upgrades, and they "totally owned" the dungeon full of kobolds and rat swarms. By now they were coming to understand the concept of levelling up and getting more hit points, and a few of the parents were asking about how to make some of the terrain pieces we had been using.

This past Sunday, some of our kids showed up all ready to go, telling us that they had downloaded and printed both S&W rule sets and two even had found the character sheet download. They had also brought along another new friend who says he "never plays games,but it looks cool" and we put them through a new water-caverns maze (seen below).

A closeup of the water-caverns HirstArts environment with our local club's party defending a passage.

All we need now is cake and ice cream!

These guys did not want to go home they were having so much fun. One kid went so far as to say we "should do birthday parties too".

And that's how to ensure roleplaying has a future. Now we have two families..two generations of roleplayers, enjoying the hobby together. With the economy being what it is, families are glad to discover inexpensive entertainment, and thanks to the vast wealth of older-edition materials out there at places like Dragonsfoot and Judges Guild, they can expand their hobby as far and wide as they wish. And ultimately, imagination can take them everywhere beyond that.

Not so long ago, I posted a "challenge" on the TARGAtalk Yahoo group and TARGA Facebook group for people to introduce our hobby to somebody they've known for a long time but have never gamed with before. This can be a spouse or sweetheart, a co-worker, or even a family member...and that especially includes kids. ...because I believe that children are our future...

Oh good grief...now I've got Whittney Houston stuck in my mind.

... teach them well and let them lead the way....

Yeah..let them lead, especially if they've got lots of hit-points or are good at finding traps... and show them all the beauty they possess inside .... and don't forget the ten-foot pole!


Amityville Mike said...

and a few of the parents were asking about how to make some of the terrain pieces we had been using.

Count me in amongst that group. That terrain looks amazing. Do you have a suggestion as to where someone might get a brief intro/primer so they might begin to learn make pieces like that themselves?

Spike Page said...

Yes I do.

The moulds as well as instructions (the most thorough I've ever seen) for assembling the pieces and painting the project can be found on the HirstArts web site.


Check the links to Casting Instructions and Building Instructions near the bottom of the main page

But in brief, what HirstArts sells is silicon one-piece rubber moulds. (around $30 USD apiece). You use those to make plaster building bricks, and the moulds can be used over and over for years before they wear out. You then assemble the bricks into projects. Some projects use only one or two moulds. Others use dozens (such as the gothic cathedral project).

That particular terrain is made with the water cavern moulds, and if you want to see more detailed directions for that project, go to their projects page and follow the links... or go to the link below.


The projects pages even let the reader know the project's difficulty level. The only drawback to using HirstArts is that bigger projects may require 20 castings of a single mould. Even if it's not all "hands-on" time, large projects demand a certain degree of patience and commitment.

Anonymous said...

Even though I've already stated as much over at the S&W boards... this is just freakin' beautiful.
What you guys are doing is essential to our hobby as well as being just plain good for the kids.

Reading stuff like this just puts a big, dumb, softie smile all over my mug.

(It's so great they downloaded and printed S&W themselves too! -lol- Did you guys give them or their parents the web addy? If not, it's worth considering little handouts like that... though I think I recall this already being mentioned on the forum.)


Spike Page said...

That's my next project..to make "business cards" with all the good download places listed.