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Parenting 101 – Getting Kids into Miniatures Games

4 Minute Read
Aug 30 2014

As mature adults, pushing tiny armies around a board of terrain we made, it is our duty to make sure we are raising responsible children who carry on the gaming community.  Here’s how!

With the increase in video games and online gaming, I have taken on the challenge of how to raise a table top gamer.

In October our son will be 10 years old.  He is completely fluent in the ways of the controller and mouse.  He has limited exposure to tabletop gaming.  I have found the biggest challenge facing him as such a young player is the heft of the rule set.  With video games, even if you don’t know the rules you can wing it with button mashing.

My goal is to make sure he has the opportunity to learn and play table top games and choose if he wants to continue to learn (and live under my roof, just kidding).  To make this a reality here is what I have done and will continue to do with him.

1.  Let him pick a game and army – this step was big.  It not only got him excited about the process, but it also established his by in on the plan.  He loves the look of the Tyranids and so 40K it is, but not regular 40K (more on this later).

2.  Start small – while this may seem like a no brainer, I mean keep it REALLY simple (more on this later).  For my son we picked up 1 HQ choice and 2 Troop choices.  Again, I let him pick the miniatures.  I guided him based on keeping it simple, and he ended up picking a Hive Tyrant and Termagant/Hormagaunt troops.

3.  Build and paint together – these are just a start to what I hope is a long lived enjoyment of gaming.  I help him with the glue and clippers and get a chance to spend quality time teaching him painting techniques.  I know he enjoys this, and whatever he produces is great.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to be his.

4.  Simplify the game – here is how I have approached teaching him the game.  Move, Shoot, Fight.

  • First games will be designed to play five turns and kill as many enemies as you can.  No upgrades on anything, just base units.  Once he understands the concepts of measuring correctly, shooting phase and fight phase we will move up to a simple objective game. 
  • The next step will be very straight forward objective games.  They will introduce the concept of victory points for specific items.  One VP for killing the opponents HQ, one VP for controlling the objective at the middle of the table, and one VP for destroying a troop unit.  We may play to many ties in this step. That is ok, it is all about continuing to learn the mechanics.  Once we have mastered these items, we will start rolling in more steps in the game.
  • Third we will add the psychic phase and the other remaining rules.  This will round out the basics.  At this point we will start playing some of the scenarios out of the book missions and some of the user generated mission packs out there.  In addition, we can start to grow our armies to 500 pts.
  • Finally, I am guessing this will take a few months to get here, we will expand our armies again to 1000 pts, then 1500 pts, finally hitting 2000 pts.  By the time he is eleven years old, he should be a master of the current rule set.  This should get him all set for 8th Edition to come out!

5.  Teach, don’t win at all cost – this is a big part of bringing in new players, and keeping children interested.  If you swoop in and destroy them on turn one, guess who will never play again?  Give them things to think about on their turn.  Give them assistance on why a certain strategy is better than another.  Help them think a turn or two ahead if possible.


I am really looking forward to more father/son time bonding over the blood and guts of interstellar battle.  

Have you started brining your kids into your hobbies and gaming?  What other ideas do you have for growing the next generation of gamers?
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Author: K9 Monkey
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