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Picking the right D&D for your child

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This is a loaded question. My son is not even one yet and I'm already thinking that he has to play D&D at leased a couple times to try it out but with so many version which one is the best. The Rules Cyclopedia/Dark Dungeon edition is very basic, its where Dwarf is a class. Despite some of the oddities this game is a thing of beauty from its simplicity. This is the 'rules lite' indie version of D&D if there is such a thing. AD&D 1e is well thought out, interesting choices (with unearthed arcana), and really feels like D&D. You have a mountain to climb and the DM certainly isn't going to help you. I would call this the 'Traveller' edition because much like the game Traveller there are sourcebooks and rules for everything. Next we have AD&D 2e this is the White-Wolf D&D game, it clams its a game thats rules lite with lots of roleplaying but honestly its strengths are in setting not in the rules. Especially if you get into optional rules, then your head starts spinning and you get lost in a pile of rulebooks. 3rd edition is the edition I met my wife playing, however if any D&D was going to be compared to GURPS this is it, so many options, rules that are basic at the core but with layers of complexity you can add on. 4th edition is often compared to WOW or board games, it is certainly the Battletech of D&D but I loved Battletech as a kid. We used to pretend to be our mechpilots and make up much works rules for roleplay than those found in D&D 4e.

So its up to me as a father and DM to decide what I want
Do I want simplicity? Cyclopedia
Do I want it to have that uphill battle? AD&D 1e
Do I want fantastic settings? AD&D 2e
Do I want a toolbox that I can create anything with? 3e
Do I want fantastic battles and a fun story? 4e

fortunately I have awhile to decide yet. If I had to pick today I would think AD&D 1e or perhaps the Cyclopedia wins.

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  1. templeorder's Avatar
    I'd pick basic DnD; its simple, rules lite, has all the concepts and is more conducive to story than to power gaming which 3+ editions aim towards...
  2. wizarddog's Avatar
    One advantage 4e has for beginners is that it is very tactile: Counters, figures, maps, power cards all allow for some physical action besides rolling dice. If you stick with Essentials, you make the game easier to play.
  3. Brunzwick's Avatar
    My kids are 7 & 8. We play Pathfinder almost weekly. The key to playing a successful campaign with kids is keeping it interesting! Think like a kid! The rules can all come later! We've had three epic campaigns thus far where they end up with magnificent castles, armies, and completely outfitted with wondrous items that you can't find in any equipment guide!

    Tell them that you are going to "cheat" the system a little because they are a too little to read the entire book of rules (believe me, they don't care!). Then send them on an epic journey fighting animated pumpkins, hay bales, and other monsters that wont cause nightmares! (Halloween edition). Later, work them up to fighting extraplanar invaders with armies of constructs (I let them pick which monsters =p they like looking at the beastiary pictures).

    Both of my little girls love having their own dice, character sheets, special mechanical pencils (I swear they are worse than some of the men I've played with about touching their dice!). They love playing so much that they asked Santa for their own Pathfinder books (which I think is AWESOME!!).

    I use our "gaming night" to also throw in some "life lessons" about friendships, love, loss, and the world! They jump up and down and scream when they roll a Natural 20! This also tells you a ton about how you have raised your kids! They are currently fighting "evil elves" that plot to destroy the Winter Festival by taking Santa Claus as their prisioner! =0 The elves have reanimated long dead reindeer that fight as flesh golems! You should have seen their faces when I said that Christmas was doomed!.... If they didn't save Santa! =D