EDIT 9/2010: The new version of rpgKids is available here.
If you are anything like me, your little kids are curious about D&D. I know that when game time comes at my house, my 4 year old daughter loves hanging around the table seeing what we’re doing. She’s full of questions about the minis, maps, and books. It had gotten to the point that she’d been asking me to play with her, so I played fake D&D with the minis and tiles, but with no dice. After a few times of doing that, she wizened up and asked me about the dice. I figured it was time, so I went ahead an invented a quick rpg for us to play together.
I’m not making claims about being a designer or anything, this was a rough system I quickly put together in order to give her a minimalist rpg experience. Keep in mind, it is very, very simple. In play testing it I found that it would work better with a kid who knows how to add and subtract, although it is certainly not a necessity for them to enjoy it. My daughter also had a bit of a problem keeping track of the initiative, and whose turn it was, and I found myself having to constantly remind her. She did enjoy the dice rolling, and comparing the dice to see who rolled higher. She also got a kick out of seeing my bad guys miss when they attacked her. Our adventure had to do with her band of heroes (Emma, Cesar, and Noah; kids in her class) going after a treasure chest in a dungeon. They quickly met some opposition in the form of a few demon bad guys. She loved it.
So if you have a 4 or 5 year old who is dying to play with your minis and tiles, give it a shot, it may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
I’d love to read about your thoughts and experiences once you give it a run.