|Recommended Age:||Recommended 13+|
As young as 5 can play with help
|Contents:||You get everything you need to get started and keep going to level 5.|
Pathfinder is a game where you create or pick a character and become that character and have a fantastic adventure right at your table! Now the recommended age is 13+ but the Beginner Box was used to teach kids as young as 4 (the Gentleman!) at Gen Con! That is actually (of course) how we discovered it and we are hooked!
My son and I have attended Gen Con for the last two years in full. By that I mean we spend all four days playing games at booths, in hallways during snacks and meal breaks and after the hall closes we played games at random tables. This year was the first year my son was able to sign up for anything. We were both excited and the first thing we signed up for was Pathfinder Kid’s Beginner Track.
I wasn’t 100% he would be able to understand or follow along but they were great at explaining and the Gentleman did just fine. The Beginner Box is the BEST way to introduce ANYONE of any age to the wonderful world of Role Playing Games (RPG). I am sure you have heard of Dungeons and Dragons or D&D by now. If you ever played it then you will LOVE Pathfinder for sure as it uses the base rules from D&D 3.5. Those not familiar with any RPG will be able to dive right in and fall in love just from this box!
I will do my best to explain the game but it would be an impossibly long post if I tried to cover everything. Besides the books that come with the Beginner Box do an amazing job explaining how to be a GM (Game Master) and how to play. You can even start right away as a GM or grab a pre-made character sheet and start your adventure. First let’s go over what is in the box and how to use it.
What’s in the Box:
- A complete set of 7 dice. A set is one of each sided Die. D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20, and a D10 percentile.
- Over 80 full-color hero and monster pawns with some stands for them.
- Four pre generated character sheets so you can start playing right away.
- A durable, reusable, double-sided Flip-Mat to use as a map. Dry erase markers work amazingly well on this too.
- A 96-page Game Master’s Guide filled with advice on how to run a campaign, play as the monsters and what to do for certain scenarios, and even how to create your own campaigns and stats for monsters.
- A 64-page Hero’s Handbook, to help you create your very own character, how to use spells and equipment, and general rules for playing the game.
- Four blank character sheets so you can create your very own hero to play as.
Now we can go over what some of that means and we will start with the dice. Bet you didn’t know that dice came in more sizes than standard six sided white ones? Ok so you may have known that but a complete set of dice is made up of one of each sided Die. There are 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20 sided dice and one 10 sided that has numbers 00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90 on it. This is the percentile dice. It is always used with the D10 and can be used to determine a number needed out of 100 or a %.
For example, if the GM says there is a 75% chance of rain on your campaign you would roll both the D10 and D10 percentile. The latter determining the 10’s place and the D10 determining the 1’s place. So if you rolled a 3 and a 50 then that would be 53% and it would mean it rained that day. You will see (or hear) the terms D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D20, and D10 percentile. All that means is D = Die and the # is the sides it has. So a 10 sided die is a D10. Now let’s cover some standard RPG terminology.
Words and Terms to Know:
- Actions – On your turn you can take up to 3 actions. Actions include moving, fighting, casting a spell, or searching for something.
- Check – Some times you have to a skill check or an ability check to determine if you can use a skill or an ability.
- Experience Points (XP) – Basically these are earned for defeating monsters and other ways doing your game and after you get so many you can gain a Level. You start at level 1.
- Game Master (GM) – The person running the game. The GM controls the monsters and tells the “story”
- Hit Points (HP) – This is the amount of life your character has and if you lose all of them to monster attacks you become unconscious.
There are a TON of other terms of course but the Hero book explains them better than I could. Now that we have gone over all the important info I can try to explain (without too much confusion) a basic run down of how the game is played. I will use our experience at Gen Con since I am just starting out as a GM and they did an amazing job! The entire staff both at the booth and those who volunteered to run the games were outstandingly patient with kids!
I was very nervous about our very first game ever because I had never played an RPG before that wasn’t a video game and my son was only 4. I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to follow or sit still enough but he was and did great! We sat down with three other kids and their parents and our GM started setting up his area and had the kids pick a set of dice from the front counter. That was the other thing…they gave the kids and complete set of 7 dice FREE!
We were introduced to what Pathfinder was with the best explanation possible:
“It’s a game of make-believe, where you pretend to be a hero.”
“You control your hero by describing what he or she is doing; if you need to find out whether you’re successful, you roll a die.”
All of the GM’s kept the explanations simple and brief but didn’t treat the kids (or us) like they were stupid. It was awesome and I found myself wondering if they were teachers. Every child there (looked like they) felt like heroes. We covered the map and the GM drew parts of the town and where people were quickly on it too. This helped everyone I think…I know it helped me.
The GM went over the different die and mentioned we would probably use the D20 more often and had the kids practice by rolling to see who would pick their character first. He had them use the pre-made characters from the box and even let them use actual figures instead of the cardboard ones. We did use the cardboard monsters though which was ok. They are really detailed and well made so I was excited when I found out they came in the Beginner Box.
My little Gentleman has watched me play as a rogue on RPG video games and I shouldn’t have been surprised when he chose that but I was. Proud too! He said he liked the daggers and didn’t mind that the rogue was a girl. Perfect! Next we went over a few key things on our character sheets. He went over what our skills and abilities were and how to do Checks. Then we covered HP, who had spells and what they did and the importance of working together.
The GM started us in a town begin hired to investigate missing persons. Our group decided to travel to the cemetery where they entered a tomb. I’m summing up here because there was a longer process to get there and many choices and asking “people” questions and such…but I don’t want to tell the story as that would take a long time. The cool part was when we got to fight skeletons! That is where the dice rolling and all that going over skills and stuff comes in to play.
We signed up for 1 game on the Thursday but afterwards we immediately signed up for 2 of the remaining 3. The 4th was full! Ugh..so we bought generic tickets and joined in a pickup game…twice during the weekend. My 4 year old son wanted to play this game even though he knew it would take an hour or so each time. That age doesn’t sit still very well but he LOVED this game. The very last game we played at Gen Con the GM let the kids fight a Black Dragon! He was a very animated GM which means he was great!
Since Gen Con we have played the Beginner Kids Tracks a couple of times and I am learning to be a GM. We play the same general campaigns as they had at Gen Con. Ruins, Tomes, Terrors and Relics. The best part about doing the same campaign is you are familiar with the intro, the characters to choose from and the story changes every single time! Pathfinder is basically an incredible choose your own adventures story that you get to physically play through (sort of).
Imagination is an amazing thing and kids have the purest form of imagination. This game encourages creativity, imagination, math skills, logic skills, problem solving skills and teamwork. I can’t think of a better game to play to challenge and expand my kids imagination and I cannot wait until the Diva can play! One more year and she should be ready to start her journey as well. In the mean time we are trying to start a Pathfinder for kids group.