Great Expectations

I’ve started buying games to play with my son. Any game that promises a grand adventure or exciting story to tell immediately tempts me to purchase it. The mysteries of exploring an unknown dungeon, the thrill of victory as a disgusting monster is vanquished, and the shocked look in his eyes at an unexpected twist is something I look forward to with every game. I just have one small (literally) problem. My son is only 7 months old. There will be a significant lag-time between my purchases and when we can play any of these games together. Years. But I hope as he grows he will share some of my interests, and one day I can pull a few select boxes off of my shelves, wipe off the dust and open time capsules of adventure that I’ve been saving for the two of us.

Of course this assumes he shares any of my interest in tabletop gaming. As he grows I want to make sure I don’t force my interests on him, but just maybe having shelves full of board games, RPGs, and fantasy novels will help to sway him. And when he does show interest I’ll be ready. I’ve been planning this moment for years.

It could be a decade before I can say how my son likes some of these games. I’m sure as time passes the “maybe someday” collection will expand even more, but I currently have a top 3 that I’d like to share.


Gloomhaven  – As I write this, Gloomhaven is on the cusp of release. Riding the wave of “legacy game” hype, Gloomhaven has a lot of high expectations. Part tactical dungeon crawl and part choose-your-own-adventure, this game promises dozens of hours of adventuring where your choices leave a lasting impact on the game. In addition to the “legacy” mechanics, which are still somewhat unique, the game offers combat that uses a hand of cards, and heroes that retire when they achieve their adventuring goals. There’s a lot here. This will be a big game, and not just in content. The actual box is said to be over 7 inches tall, weighing in at over 19 pounds. As someone with an ever-shrinking amount of shelf space, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having a little buyer’s remorse simply based on how much space this will take up.


7th Continent – This promises to be another choose-your-own-adventure style game, but with more of a focus on exploration. Up to four players traverse a map made up of over 400 map cards while crafting supplies and encountering random events and challenges. What makes this especially appealing is a unique “save system” that allows you stop playing and pick up where you left off. The map is fixed, but with so much to explore this game also promises a lot of gameplay and interesting decisions.


Hero Kids – is an RPG designed for children aged 4-10 years old. So there’s a chance I could be playing this in 3 1/2 years! In Hero Kids, the players all play the part of kids in a town that is always plagued by danger. While the grown-ups go off adventuring, the kids are left to clean up their mess. As is probably obvious by its targeted demographic, Hero Kids is a simple role-playing game designed to introduce kids to tabletop gaming. Every aspect of its design appears to have kids in mind. The character sheets have illustrations of the characters on them that can be colored in and all of the characters and monsters have paper standees that can be printed and cut out. The rules also recommend ways to introduce aspects of tabletop role playing to your kids, starting with a simple skirmish, moving on to dungeon delving, exploration, and finally actually playing a role. The final aspect that makes it clear that this game knows its audience is the recommendation to use candy to represent monster hit points, giving them something to gobble up when they damage their enemies. What better way to engage your child than to have candy sitting on the table in front of them? Hero Kids looks to be something that could allow us to share countless hours of adventure and fun and something that will allow him to play without having to know a lot rules.