Monday, June 19, 2017

Best Father's Day yet--DIY Star Wars WITH DICE!

Last week I mailed my nephew's birthday present (he turned 11) which was a care package filled with Star Wars treats, including the Star Wars West End Game RPG rules, plus a few Micro Machine minis and dice.

While I was (gleefully!) packing the box, my daughter (nearly 4 years old) took notice and inquired as to what I was doing. She and I had just sat down the day before to watch her second viewing of Star Wars (ep. 4), which she LOVES. To her, the entire story is about Princess Leia and Darth Vader. She's not wrong--as much as Luke figures into the film, Leia is the one leading the Rebels (as far as she knows, anyway!). 

Her favorite scene is when Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are trapped in he garbage compactor. I get a million questions every time that plays. "ARE THEY IN THE GARBAGE? WHY DID THEY GO IN THERE? WHAT'S THAT EYE DOING? WHERE DID IT GO?"

She seems to feed off the tension of will-they-or-won't-they make it out. By far, her favorite line--which she quoted to me a day later: "WILL SOMEONE GET THIS WALKING CARPET OUT OF MY WAY?" Yes, of course, your worshipfullness!

Anyway, I should have seen it coming, but she totally surprised me yesterday (Father's Day) by asking if we could "Play that Star Wars game of yours..." meaning the one I packed up for my nephew. 

Seriously, what greater gift can you give a nerd dad than to ask to play a tabletop game of his favorite franchise? ON. FATHER'S. DAY.

So I grabbed a case of Star Wars minis and some dice. Only, she's still learning her numbers. She can read them quite well, but I wanted something that I thought she could identify at a glance, so we went with Fate Dice (+, -, 0) for her first crack at tabletop gaming. I thought we'd run it as a Make Believe session and use the dice to figure out "who wins" an encounter.

A skirmish game!

Throughout our play session, I am, of course, crafting all these (pared-down) rules in my head. Doing my best to go slow and explain things simply and in as short a manner as possible, so as to satisfy the feverish temperament of a toddler's attention span. She seemed to "get it" just fine, but I wasn't sure she was having fun. 

Eventually, we just let the rules fall to the wayside. She laughed uproariously when our minis chased each other around the floor, pretending the the characters were in a back-and-forth game of tag. Soon it was bed time and she (naturally!) was not happy we had to put them away for the night. 

She asked to play again tonight before dinner. I told her "sure" but we can dispense with the dice--believing myself to be freeing her of unnecessary rules that might hamper imagination.  


Apparently she really liked using them. Even if she didn't get all my crazy rules--to her they added to part of the mystery of the game, and (I'm guessing wildly here) maybe even part of its magic. To be honest, it doesn't matter to me that she likes Star Wars. Or anything that I like. But I'm ecstatic to see her using her imagination. We could play games in whatever world she wants and I'll be happy either way. 

Sooner or later, she'll get those rules down...whatever they end up being. But for now, I think we're both just thrilled to be zooming around the room galaxy!

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