Last week my brother brought his five year old, my nephew, over to say hello before game night. He stuck around for a few minutes and we sort of explained what it is we do. He rolled some dice. We promised to run a game for him this week, which we did. I came over early and I so wish we’d recorded it. I started by asking him what he was into. Star Wars and Harry Potter. I know Star Wars so we went with that. Who is his favorite character? Luke! Who is Luke’s best friend? R2D2! My brother played R2D2. Who is Luke’s enemy? This stumped him, because, as a student of the films, he knew that Darth Vader wasn’t really Luke’s enemy. Finally it came out – The Evil Empire! After some linguistic confusion, I finally understood that he was talking about The Emperor, who he called the Evil Empire, so I set up Luke Skywalker vs. The Evil Empire. I gave him choices, we rolled dice, there was a rock monster and a mosquito man village, I experimented with stance a bit to see where he was at (he preferred to speak as Luke, but broke out to talk to me for clarification on stuff he wasn’t sure about). We explained that while he didn’t understand my brother’s plaintive beeps and boops, Luke did, and he should tell us what R2D2 was trying to tell him. He exhibited true gamer bloodlust:
ME: OK, you’ve made it to the secret door to the Evil Empire’s inner chamber. What do you want to do?
HIM: Does my light saber have a way to be silent?
HIM: OK, I use my silent saber to cut through the door and surprise him!
ME: Awesome! It works! You caught him by surprise! What do you do?
HIM: I take out my blaster and shoot him in the back!
So it was fun, and the little guy was positively vibrating with excitement, which was very satisfying.