It is Teach Your Kids to Game week over at DriveThruRPG.
I love these sorts of games. Sure I way beyond "learning to game" myself and so are my kids. But back about 10 years ago my son wanted to play with my funny sided dice.
Back then I used D&D 3.0 to teach gaming to my boys and it worked nice. In retrospect I might of done something a little different. Maybe something like Basic D&D (a current fave) or even a streamlined version of AD&D.
So I really love seeing games like these and there are lot to choose from.
Here are a few of my favorites.
If you have a kid that loves Harry Potter or Kiki's Delivery Service then this is the game to get. Quick, Easy and Fun could be the tag line for this game. The stats are simple really. Three traits, some powers and of course a description of your wand and familiar. I am disappointed I have not used this game more myself. It might be a "kids" game but it packs a lot of punch and frankly is one of the most clever little games I have seen in a long time. The Character sheet is a treat too.
Hero Kids - Fantasy RPG
I have a lot of love for this game. I was supposed to submit an adventure for it, the Cave of the Stinky Goblin, which is the very first adventure I ever ran for my own son. A Goblin is washing his stinky clothes and garbage in the river and smelling up the town of West Haven. This game, like many others here, use a simple d6 based mechanic. This is good since that is what most people have in their homes. My kids were attracted to my multi-sided dice, butI see no reason why you could not just replace all the d6s in HK with d8s for example.
The rules are light and fast. There are plenty of character sheets for all four classes and blanks along with cutout minis. There are a lot of monsters too.
Calling "D&D lite" does not really do the game justice, but it is rather close.
Mermaid Adventures RPG
I don't know much about this one but I have heard nothing but very high praise for it.
Monsters and Other Childish Things: Completely Monstrous Edition
This is a game that works well as a "kids" game, but there is enough here for adults to have fun with it. I have always wanted to use this as a "dark Pokemon" (and that is saying something) or even a very dark version of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
Kids & Critters RPG Trilogy
An absolute steal at this price.
For under 3 bucks you get 3 complete games for kids.
Tales from the Wood where you play creatures from The Wood. Think Watership Down.
Lashings of Ginger Beer is about playing a kid in Idyllic England, so it might actually work best for adults. Most similar to kids adventure tales.
It's a Dog's LIfe is the best of the three where you play a Prairie Dog out on the American Plains with heavy American Indian/Native American influences.
All three games are simple to learn and easy to play.
These games require a bit more abstraction to play than some other kid games, but nothing a little kid with a great imagination couldn't handle.
Faery's Tale Deluxe
I reviewed this one a while back.
Toy War takes very simple rules (and also teaches kids how to use a ruler) to bring their favorite toys to life. Each toy has a purpose and something it does well. In one session we brought in a baby harp seal (was cute), a toy Dalek (can shoot), a space ship and some D&D dragons. We came up with this idea to rescue some fish and we were off. The adventure is fast and fun. In the end we saved the fish, only to have them eaten by the baby seal. The baby seal got away with it because he was cute.
Depending on your kids this could be a game of structured make believe or even an on-going saga. Or it can be a great diversion for a rain or snowy afternoon.
Worth every penny and then some.
DC ADVENTURES Hero's Handbook
For older kids to be sure. I have reviewed this one and it's Mutant & Masterminds parents a number of times here/
Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Reviewed here and here.
Cavemaster might one of the biggest games here on my list (outside of DCA). This is a "stonepunk" game where you play cavemen. Some kids might love this idea, others might be turned off on it. For me I think it is an excellent concept and would work with a group generally smarter kids. Kids that for example would understand our pre-history origins.
What makes this good for kids is that the system itself is so easy to use. In fact one of the conceits of the game is it is molded after the first RPGs played by cave men. Well...not really...and Game Designer Jeff Dee knows this, but it is still fun.
The game is rich and detailed and really deserves a deeper look on my part.
Witch Girls Adventures: Director's Cut
Reviewed throughout my blog.
I do wish that The Second Edition would come out.
Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod
This one IS actually D&D lite. I reviewed it here, http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/04/d-4-kids-monster-slayers-heroes-of.html
Mutants & Marvels
From the OSR's own Tom Doolan this game is a mix of D&D & Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP), or rather OSR games and 4C. Streamed down into just under 45 pages it makes it a great 1st supers game for kids or an on going game for the right group of adults.
Grab one of these.