[Mouseling Guard] I'm running a Mouse Guard campaign for my 3-year-old

It started last year when she was two and a half. I busted out my 2nd edition Mouse Guard boxed set and showed my daughter Zoe the artwork. When she saw the fun picture dice, the map and the mice, she was instantly into it.

I didn’t actually think she would (or could) play, but on a whim, I told her it’s a game and asked if she wanted to try. Of course! So I showed her the New Missions book and had her pick one of the pre-generated characters.

Kenzi the Mouseling Guard

She chose Kenzi. I copied a few basic stats onto a fresh character sheet and let her color her sheet’s cute mouse picture as I prepared some ideas for her first adventure.

For those who don’t know Mouse Guard, it’s a role playing game based on the comic book series of the same name by David Petersen. The RPG is designed by Luke Crane, largely based on his cult classic indie game Burning Wheel with some variations that served as inspiration for Torchbearer. It’s a beautiful masterpiece, incredibly fun to play, and is especially suited to telling grimdark tales about cute little murderous mice (in my campaigns at least).

It also has a very big, very dense book with lots of gloriously crunchy rules. Needless to say, I threw 95% of the rules out the window and decided to just wing it:

  • I resolve every situation with a single roll.
  • I use the artwork as a means to guide her imagination and give her lots of options.
  • When I give her options, I spell them out for her.
  • I also remove most of the violence, because she’s so young.
  • I try to keep the number of obstacles to a bare minimum of one to three dice throws between each plot point.

She loves it! And surprisingly, she actually roleplays. Like a boss. Must be genetic. ^^

I’ll start Kenzi's tale in the next Mouseling Guard installment. It’s also the story of Game Master Dad learning how to run RPGs for toddlers. It’s challenging and fun! I am convinced that with enough practice I can figure out how to design a badass RPG built just for babies to rescue all the other gamer dads out there who are just jonesin’ for a game but too busy watching the kid. :)

Have you ever run an RPG for a preschooler? What would you say are the most important things to take into consideration? Hit me up in the comments on Facebook, MeWe or Twitter!