TTRPG BOOK Review: Roll Dice, Build Character

I usually review games, BUT Roll Dice, Build Character by Mark Hasen seemed like a great fit for the TTRPGkids site – it covers the benefits of kids playing TTRPG’s and discusses some of the concerns or questions that parents may have. This is a great read for anyone on the fence, just starting out, or trying to convince other parents to let their kids join the table!

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What is Roll Dice, Build Character about? 

Roll Dice, Build Character discusses the pros and cons of introducing tabletop role playing games (TTRPG’s) to you kids.  It breaks down the benefits, from creativity and teamwork to learning broader concepts about the world and life, and it talks about some of the concerns parents may have, including time management and religious conflicts.  This book gives a solid description of the game for anyone new to running TTRPG’s with kids and provides tips from the author’s experience that can help you get off to a great start.  It also touches on some of the harder topics that have been associated with TTRPG’s (race, social structures, etc.) and how to address them or redirect players into a positive learning experience.

Ease of reading

This book is written in easy to understand language and felt like reading a conversation.  In no way was it simplistic, but it was smooth to read and flow from one topic to the next because of the candid format.  Roll Dice, Build Character is also spaced out in a way that the discussion is broken up with excerpts from a game with the author’s kids.  This helped give a fun story break every so often to reset, in addition to providing actual game material to feed some of the discussion points with examples (instead of just telling about what happens). 

Favorite parts (apart from main discussion)

History lesson!

The discussion was great and covered a lot of major points about running TTRPG’s with kids, but I also particularly enjoyed the section about the history of TTRPG’s.  It was interesting to get the historical layout, from HG Wells to Critical Role, with key points in the author’s TTRPG journey inserted.  It showed how things grew into what they are today and also gave a grounded view of the author’s experience. 

Story time!

I also enjoyed the excerpts from the game with the author’s children.  These excerpts were from an actual game and gave examples of what was being discussed.  So many times, discussion style books and articles will only talk about a subject and never give an act ual example. Having one with a solid amount of sample material was refreshing and helped to close the loop on the discussion.  I feel like this also helps those who learn better by example or by doing than by just taking in written information or a set of facts – it taps into a core learning method that not everyone pays attention to in writing.

Who would this book be great for?

I feel that Roll Dice, Build Character would be great for anyone who is conflicted about starting TTRPG’s with their children, especially if they have religious related concerns.  It would also be a good read for getting tips to start playing TTRPG’s with kids (the last section has a lot of advice for helping engage kids in the game).  

This can also be a tool for helping those experienced in running TTRPG’s with kids to convince other parents who are hesitant to allow their children to play.  Sometimes, it can be hard to persuade another parent to let their kids join your table if the parent doesn’t know anything about the game – this book would be a great resource to share with them and get them up to speed on the basics.


Roll Dice, Build Character was a thoughtful discourse about bringing children into TTRPG’s, and I enjoyed reading another parent’s perspective, especially since it tapped into introducing older kids.  I feel that this is an excellent tool for easing parents into playing TTRPG’s with their kids, and can really help with improving your gaming skills.  It was an enjoyable read, and I hope you can check it out!

Find a copy!

You can find a copy of Roll Dice, Build Character by Mark Hansen here on Amazon!

4 thoughts on “TTRPG BOOK Review: Roll Dice, Build Character

  1. This post was WAY TOO EFFECTIVE. Before I knew I was done reading it, I’d already gotten an email that my copy will arrive on Tuesday. For the sake of my family’s budget, please be careful with your power of suggestion in the future. LOL

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