A few months ago I invited my father, who has just turned 60, and my mother to play a Tabletop Roleplaying Game with me. Neither had ever played such a game before.
Naturally, the game was Simple Superheroes (the game which I designed, developed and wrote). In some circles, there has been a big push to introduce younger people, ones kids in particular, to tabletop RPGs. There is even a family game day. Not having children myself, my mind immediately turned to teaching my folks.
As a quick aside I have played this game on several occasions with kids around 9 - 12 years old and they have always grasped its concepts quickly and had a lot of fun. In general they have always been thrilled by the ability to create a hero that they imagined, as they imagine him/her.
My father, mother and an ol' high school friend of mine whipped up characters and played a quick scenario (Issue) in about 45 minutes. The Issue, set in a contemporary developing nation, featured the three heroes protecting a truck of an NGO carrying goats, medicine and funds for microloans. I quickly came up with this scenario after they had created characters.
My father quickly got the gist of character creation and started creating a Super doctor of sorts, who had a rocket board and a deep concern for the poor. My mother came up with a large number of powers she wanted her character to have (agile, invisible, laser, sticky net) but the sense of the character came together when she settled on one of her final rank 2 talents, being a veterinarian. My friend whipped up a teleporter named 'Ninja', he also chose to be deeply concerned about the poor.
The scenario came naturally to me once these character details had been outlined. A few thugs with a slightly skilled leader ambushed the truck. And the heroes quickly set to trouncing them. A goat was injured during the fight which led to some interesting roleplaying and the scene wrapped up with the heroes delivering the goods and providing medical attention to those in need.
I was struck by how quickly both of my folks got the mechanics of the game, and also got a good sense of character and acting the part. Both of my parents reported having a very good time. My mother indicated that she would like to try short games again, she was also confided that my father particularly enjoyed getting into the character. Both played very heroic characters, and we had a lot of laughs as well.
A little context, my father has enjoyed the occasional game of RISK or Settlers of Catan, but that is essentially as complicated a game as he has played. My mother generally dislikes any game with direct conflict or more complicated than a fairly straight forward card game. While my mother indicated she would still need help understanding and using all of the mechanics, my father seemed quite clear on most of the system (from a players point of view) by the end of the 45 minute game!
Honestly, it was simply very satisfying to play with my parents and share the enjoyment that I have always had playing RPGs with them.
So have you ever played with your parents? Or even grandparents?