20 October 2012

Don't like goblins. Do like jewels.

Having bought each of my boys (C, aged nearly 5 and E, aged 2 and a half) a set of gem polydice in the summer, they've each been asking to play a proper game with them. C can just about manage Song of Blades but it's way beyond E still so I was in a quandary. Polydice just shout 'dungeon-crawl' to me so today I grabbed a bunch of miniatures and some dungeon tiles and made up some very basic rules:

  • All players and monsters have a Maximum dice
  • Combat is by opposed dice rolls
  • If you lose a round of combat, you 'lose' the dice you rolled (damage/HP/fatigue)
  • Once you lose all your dice, you're out/down/dead
  • If you defeat a foe then you regain the 'smallest' of your lost dice (levelling up equivalent)
  • Movement is by squares, d4 per turn
  • No moving if you're in combat
  • Bashing down a door is attempted at one down from your max remaining dice
  • Each door has a total which must be reached (over consecutive turns if necessary) to break it down
  • Multiple combats are split if more than one on each side
  • If it's 2:1 or worse, the score for each side is the SUM of the values rolled for each side
  • Knights start at d20, goblins at d8 and the giant at 2d20 (can lose two rounds at each dice level before going down)
Now, this was more for me and my desire for internal consistency in a game; I only shared it with them as needed. I'll admit I wasn't prepared for how upset they got at 'losing' one of their dice, but otherwise it went really well. Apart from anything else, E came up with the best proto-gamer comment ever, which I used as the title for this post "Don't like goblins. Do like jewels." That's my boy - XP is always easier to get from treasure than combat!

The plot was that some wicked goblins had raided the king's treasure house and two of his knights (Sir C and Sir E) had to retrieve the stolen gems.......

"Right, you go and get that goblin, and I'll pick up the jewel" "Ok, brother"

"Take that, goblin!"
Things got a little hairy when they encountered the giant who had masterminded the theft and the goblins broke down the doors that had been locked by the knights to encircle them.... "This game tricky, Daddy" according to E.

"But Daddy, I don't want the giant to kill me."
Fortunately, some blinding dice rolls from the boys (two 20s, a 19 and an 18 from four rolls in the critical rounds) meant that the chamber was soon cleared and the treasure retrieved.

And, out of the dungeons, the knights make good their escape. Hurrah!
And then home for feasting and medals for everyone!

I worried at one point that I'd have to cheat for them to survive when the numbers started piling up against them, but their dice rolling! Jeepers creepers, I wish I could roll like that. They finished with only one dice 'lost' each but had felt that they might get beaten for large sections of the game which I reckon means I (by luck) got the challenge level absolutely spot on.

An hour of geeking with my two boys, playing a game they enjoyed and want to play again. Now that's treasure :)

Happy geeking,


  1. A couple of budding gamers there Rab! A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

  2. Cheers Gareth. The little tykes did enjoy themselves! When I was putting them to bed, C said he thought the knights should go back and explore the castle "upstairs; there might be a beast who should be seen to, or there might be some baddies who have dug a hole under a tower to make it fall down so they can hide there. I saw that in a book, I think."

    My wife rolls her eyes and mutters despairingly at their geekery :)

  3. A great read. My oldest daughter who is 4 has expressed interest in my little models. This seems like a great way to introduce her :-)

  4. Reel her in, Tenz, and enjoy!

  5. i really like the combat system. it seems very economic, very comprehensive. (i too , love my dice and would hate to part with them !)
    it is great to see billiam babble's "inked adventures" used to help make an epic quest between father and brothers possible.

  6. Thanks, WSA, my thoughts exactly. I'm planning on turning the rules into something that are shareable pretty imminently, for wider playtesting at least. Stay tuned...