I think I’ve emotionally scarred my children, especially my daughter, by trying to introduce Dungeon Crawl Classics to them, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
My wife was away on a business trip so I decided to download the rules for Dungeon Crawl Classics and give them read. I was interested in the game after hearing about it non-stop from from James Walls over at Living 4 Crits and despite the high character death that was clear from what I heard about the game, I wanted to try it with my two kids. I told my kids about the game and I warned them right off the bat that their characters will die and that’s ok as it’s just a game, one where combat isn’t the first thing you do but your ability to solve puzzles. They were on board and wanted to try it out with me.
First they rolled up three characters each, thankfully in Dungeon Crawl Classics(DCC) character generation is really simple. Roll up a few stats, random job, and equipment and your ready to send the whole lot of them on one very deadly adventure known as in DCC as a funnel. All the characters are at level 0 (in most role-playing games you start as level 1) and as the characters go through the funnel most will die in various traps or in a fight with a deadly creature.
As we started to play it was obvious my daughter was very hesitant in doing anything in the game, constantly saying to her brother “You go first” and him refusing as he was also scared of moving forward. Once my son finally made a move, his character promptly died as a 4 spears were thrown at him and one ran right through his torso ending his short live as the poorest nobel in the town. This event only cemented the point that they should have just sent their characters back to the farm and leave the adventuring to more adventurous folk. The game came to a complete stand still, and we stopped.
You could say this whole thing was a complete flop and I should have not bothered subjecting my kids at all to it, but the next day my son was asking to play it again! We haven’t yet as I think my daughter will never play another game with me again if I suggest it, so I need to find time again to do some 1 on 1 gaming with him or find another group who is dying to play this game (see what I did there?)
I did learn a lot by playing DCC with them and I do recommend you do as well, even if you end up with the same results as I did. For instance I realized that games today are safe, they don’t have death in them. When I was growing up it was an important factor in games, even in video games. It helps the player realize that their actions have consequences and they should look before they leap, both in and out of game. It makes them think and not always charge in.
In the end we like to be mostly safe, and to know that we can continue and move forward in our games. I like that too, where story is king. So we will continue to play the kinds of games that foster imagination, exploration, and creativity. But every now and then maybe we’ll do a DCC funnel to show them the other side and force them to think cautiously and not take things for granted and the world is not fair just like the lessons Sarah learned in the movie Labyrinth.