Note: This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from purchases made using them. TTRPGkids uses this to keep the site going. Read full disclosure here.
I actually started playing Hero Kids with my son because I won a copy from a giveaway run by Dad’s and Dragons (they run a family friendly D&D discussion podcast interspersed with actual play D&D games with their kids). I was really excited to try it out, even though my son is a bit below the recommended age range, and I am so happy I did try it with him! He asks to play all the time now.
- Age range
- Your character
- What did my kid think?
- Where to find and purchase a copy
Age range: 4-10
Hero Kids is rated for ages 4-10 and has a range of difficulty (easy to hard) with their adventure modules so you can adjust based on how your child is doing.
Despite the age range, I did run this with my 2.5 year old, who had a lot of fun. He understood the stories, understood the combat, and loved getting to roll dice. He needed some help with understanding dice rolls mechanics at first, but I don’t believe this should be a problem for kids within the recommended age range.
The premade adventures take place in a typical fantasy adventure realm, similar to what you would expect in Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder.
Adventures include the classic tavern with rats in the basement, wizard towers, pirate ships, yuletide specials, and a lot more. There’s 13 premade settings with a wide range of classic TTRPG adventures to choose from.
I could also see this being easily tweaked to cover additional settings if you wanted to homebrew off this system beyond a medieval fantasy system.
The core game has lots of premade human kid characters to choose from with different ability focuses (magic, defense, range, healers, etc). From the expansions, you can play as other fantasy origins, woodland creatures (this is why my son picked), monsters, etc who all have unique options.
You can also create your own character in a few minutes:
- Assign 4 dice to your dice pools
- Determine what your normal attack will be (melee, ranged, or magic)
- Choose a special action that you make up or from one of the premade heros
- Choose a bonus ability from the list
- Fill your inventory from the list
And that’s it! There aren’t a lot of stats or spells to assign and track, just a few core elements are enough to give each character enough abilities to make them unique.
Hero Kids uses a d6 dice pool mechanic for all of its roles, which means you roll six sided dice equal to the value in your skill to determine an outcome.
So, if you assigned two dice to your melee attack dice pool during character creation, whenever you attack, you roll two dice and take the highest number rolled as value you use.
Combat is was very streamlined, and my 2.5 year old even to pick up (albeit with a little help the first few encounters).
For initiative, all players take their turn as a group and all monsters take their turn as a group so there’s no individual initiative tracking needed.
Each hero’s or monster’s turn is 1 action + 4 squares of movement.
When you attack, you roll your attack dice pool against the monster’s defense dice pool, and whoever has the highest roll wins (defender wins on a tie). This means there’s no adding lots of dice, just an understanding of greater than/less than is needed.
There are also options for advanced combat that you may want to introduce to older kids or kids already used to encounters; these include adding additional attack effects, combining effects, line of sight, cover, etc. What’s good about this is it allows some scaling so you can make things more challenging as your child levels up and is ready to handle more.
There are non-combat situations in several modules that require a skill check to get more information about the story, avoid a hazardous situation, or continue with the adventure.
To do skill checks, your attack dice pools are used to represent part of your skill roll. So, magic = intelligence bonus, melee = strength bonus, ranged = dexterity bonus, etc
Your skill check dice pool is created based on your applicable attack pool and inventory/special skills plus a base skill check die.
For example, an tracking check would be:
- Your magic attack dice pool (since magic = intelligence bonus)
- 1 die if you have the tracking skill
- 1 die for doing a skill check (all skill check get at least 1 die)
You then roll all dice together, pick the highest one, and see if that beats the number set for the test difficulty.
This part was probably the most complicated one to explain to my son because the dice were coming from multiple areas. However, after he understood, it was actually a good foundation for teaching some basic math (i.e. you get to roll 4 dice because you get 2 from here, 1 from here, and 1 from here). Like I said earlier, this is something that I think kids in the recommended age range would probably handle just fine after the first try.
What did my kid think?
He had a lot of fun! So far, we’ve played most of the easy modules (since he’s a little young), and he loves the storytime parts and getting to roll dice to smash the bad guys.
We did modify some areas to fit him – he has no qualms about smashing spiders or defending against wolves, but… for example, he wanted to try and talk to the giants in the Yuletide adventure instead of fighting. We rolled with it and let him have a conversation about holiday decorations instead.
While we’re playing, he’s super engaged, running around acting it out, clapping when something exciting happens, and getting excited when the fight is won. My favorite was when a werewolf changed in front of him… I pulled out the battle map and he yelled, “I need to get my sword!!” He ran off and came back with his little wooden costume sword standing ready to fight.
This was an awesome game to share something very close to a classic fantasy TTRPG with my son. It definitely fits for kids and has room to let them learn strategy and basic systems that are used in TTRPGs for “grown ups”.
This is a good well-rounded system to start with, and has a solid set of premade adventures to let you get used to the system before making your own.
Where to find and purchase a copy:
Find Hero Forge games at: https://www.heroforgegames.com/
You can pick up a copy at: DriveThruRPG
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions, tried the game because of this post, or have played this game before!