“The Boy” in question is my 12-year-old stepson Jarrett. Now the boy normally prefers his gaming to come with controllers, but he does enjoy the occasional game of RoboRally, Ascension, or Go. He is eagerly looking forward to our next session of Go, as his handicap climbed to 72 stones after the last game. It is gonna be a rough one! However, yesterday the boy and I had an interesting day of gaming that I thought was worthy of comment. He had promised to learn and play the game I am designing, “The Realm.” We played. He did well. I won. Afterwards he told me that he liked “The Realm”, but it was not the sort of game that he would want to play all of the time. I told him that was fine, and that we could play many other games or even make up some of our own. When he asked me,”Like what?” I said that we could use some of the pieces from Axis and Allies and a couple of dice to make our own war game. I had just acquired a Vinyl Mega Mat and told him that with some markers we could draw a map for our war zone.
We each took 10 infantry men, 2 tanks, and one medic. It was agreed that the victory conditions were one player capturing 4 of the 5 objective buildings, or the complete destruction of all opposing forces. Infantry could move up to 5 spaces and shoot for one damage. Tanks could move up to 10 spaces, but only up to 5 if they wished to fire for 2 damage afterwards. A tank was able to take 3 damage before being destroyed while infantry would be killed with one hit if a medic did not arrive in time. When an infantry is hit a medic has 2 turns to get to him. If he gets there in time the unit lives and returns to battle. If the medic does not arrive in time infantry dies. Each player received four barbwire tokens that any infantry could place on a line intersection to render the space impassable to infantry from either side. However, tanks could drive over the barbwire to destroy it, clearing the way for infantry. When a unit fired, it had a base chance of 4 to hit on 2 six-sided dice. For every two squares an infantry man had between his target and his position the number needed to hit was increased by 1. The range of tanks was greater and only modified up by 1 for every 3 spaces to the target. Any cover provided a plus 2 modifier for the attacking unit to hit. We place our units at our edge of the map and were ready for battle!
After examining the placement of wrecked cars I decided to place my tanks along the left edge of the map as the roads were clear all the way to his side of town. The plan was to secure a foot hold in his territory as close to the objective buildings as near to his armies as I could and let my infantry catch up for the captures. The plan worked to a tee and I found myself victorious without suffering any casualties. He failed to realize that my capturing of those bases close to his area made him unable to reach mine in time to prevent certain victory. Oh well, I have a HUGE advantage in gaming experience, particularly in war games on the boy and should win.
Despite my victory, his enthusiasm could not have been higher. Since yesterday he has been constantly coming up to me with suggestions for new rules. When we play tonight there will be mines, paratroopers, black ops guys, and an enlarged battle ground with more objective buildings. He is already thinking up rules for future versions that will include: care packages(a call of duty thing), snipers, artillery, bombing runs, and close air support. I think it is great to see the boy this excited about using his creativity and imagination to come up with new rules. Sure it is just a game, but he is using math, problem solving, cause and effect, and spatial relationships and is giving his brain more of a workout than an entire week of school! Get a kid into gaming and they will beg you for what amounts to homework without even realizing it. Check-mate boy!