Playing Dungeons and Dragons and other Role-Playing Games with Kids [ Panel at PAX West]

One of our panels at this year’s PAX West convention was about playing role-playing games, including Dungeons and Dragons, with kids.  We were joined on this panel by Ethan “Mr. E.” Schoonover, who runs a D&D after school program at Lake Washington Girls Middle School

While on the panel, we discuss several important topics when considering playing role-playing games with kids.  Namely:

  • Choosing the Game (Which game is right for your kids?  It may be D&D, or it may be many other youth-friendly games, like No Thank You Evil!)
  • Introducing the Game (Play right away, and stop often. Use a tutorial dungeon.)
  • Modifying the Game for Accessibility (Many of the rules aren’t necessary to play at the beginning. Add rules as you want to include them.)
  • Modifying the Game for Content (There are tricks for making the game more approachable and reduce issues around mature themes.)

After we spoke on the panel, we had the opportunity to answer a few questions from the audience before we ran out of time.

Thankfully, if you weren’t able to attend our panels this year, they were both recorded!  Embedded below is our panel, “Release the Minions! Introducing RPGs to Youth.”

You can keep up with Ethan Schoonover’s work by following him on Twitter at @ethanschoonover. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when we release new panels, interviews, or podcasts!


Interested in learning more about our work using Dungeons and Dragons in therapeutic social skills groups? Check out the What We Do page to learn more about how and why we use role-playing games in our groups.

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